Taylor Cox, left and her twin sister Olivia played in two consecutive state tennis tournaments as sophomores and juniors. The girls had a good chance at reaching the state finals this year before Tennessee was forced to cancel the rest of the school year for all remaining high school athletics due to the COVID-19 pandemic. File photo by Beth Cox.
By Tim Chambers
It will be hard to duplicate the accomplishments that Taylor Cox and her twin sister Olivia have put together over three years at Johnson County High School. Playing as a doubles team in tennis, the dynamic duo played in two consecutive state tournaments as sophomores and juniors and probably would have made it a third one with a good chance of winning a state championship had they gotten to play their senior season.
Not only did the Cox girls miss out on the state, but this was the year that everyone thought the Lady Longhorns tennis team would make the state for the first time. It is sadly just one of many things that the COVID-19 virus has robbed this senior class from doing. In this scribe’s opinion, it was the best group of female athletes to ever go through Johnson County High School with Aleshia Milan being the best female athlete.
“I would like to think that our class was,” said Taylor about their athletic ability. “I played with a lot of really good players in basketball, and I was blessed to have the best teammates that you could ever have. I loved playing tennis with my sister, and we had the best girls’ basketball coaches that you could ever have. I love my teammates, and I was so proud of them when they beat Sullivan East. It just spoke volumes about the type of teammates that I had. I was planning on trying to come back and play the next game had they beat South Greene. It was hard watching and not being able to be out on the floor to help.”
Cox will take her basketball talents to Alice Lloyd University next season to soar with the Eagles. Her Coach Leon Tolley thinks they are getting a steal.
“She’s only played four years of basketball, so they are getting a diamond in the rough,” said Tolley. “Her best basketball is ahead of her. She always wants to take the big shot, and she’s a winner. I feel like she will do very well up there.”
Alice Lloyd currently doesn’t have a tennis team, but with the twins and her brother possibly going up there, they are hopeful that it might become a reality. Olivia is excited about the opportunity.
“We already have our names on the list if that were to happen,” said Olivia. “We will definitely be playing if they do. I’m excited about being up there with my sister. I am her biggest fan, and I believe she is mine. We are both close.”
Both girls thanked their coaches and parents for helping mold them into the athletes that they have become. The girls said Johnson County High School and Mountain City will always be special to them.
“I love how the community came together to support us,” said Taylor. “That will always hold a special place in my heart.”
The girls will leave with no bitterness about not playing their senior year only a lot of what-ifs. What if Taylor had not gotten sick in the District tournament and had gotten to play in the regional game? What if they would have got to play a full tennis schedule? The answer is Johnson County might have reached the state tournament in basketball and could have earned their first-ever state championship in tennis. Thanks to the COVID-19 virus, we will never know.