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JCHS tennis claims several wins over Sullivan North

The Johnson County boys and girls Varsity Tennis teams took on the Sullivan North Raiders at Borden Park in Kingsport last week. Playing six singles matches and three doubles, the boys dominated the courts taking in 8 wins to 1. The girls, who are primarily freshmen and are still in the learning process, made several strides of their own gaining their first win of the season thanks to Dawn Lewis and holding their own in several other matches.
Coach Steve Nave seemed especially excited with their progress, especially so early in the season. “I’m pretty pleased. The boys are playing very well and the girls are getting better. Holly Adams played a really good match and Krista Warren and Tori Israel played a really good match as well. Of course, Dawn Lewis is the first girl we have had win a match this year so I’m pretty proud of her. I’m pleased, very pleased with their progress, and the boys did what was expected of them.”
Coming into the sport in their first year of high school, most of the players have never picked up a racket. Having to begin with the very basics such as keeping their score, Nave has a challenge in getting the team ready for their first matches. Yet, despite the lack of experience, the younger players are doing very well so far this year. Even coming up against seasoned players with a long list of matches under their belts, the girls still managed to hold their own, with players like Tori Israel gaining four points against her Sullivan North, senior opponent.
“The girls just have to have match time,” said Nave. “That’s what its going to take to make them better. It’s hard for freshmen to be playing seniors, but it will make them better. I expect in a couple of years they will be a contender for conference. Holly has worked very hard all summer to get better and it’s really showing.”
The boy’s team, which has a lot of junior talent, did especially well, both in their singles matches and their doubles. Senior Carlton Tugman was in particularly good form, crushing his competition 8-0. Junior Timmy Bellamy was right behind Tugman pulling out an 8-1 single’s win and an 8-3 victory in doubles alongside Joey Porter. Likewise Tugman and Freshman Andy Rosado came out on top in their doubles match, winning 8-1.
Ryan Whitener, Travis and Mitchell Stockinger, and Justin Baker all did very well in their singles matches also, helping the Longhorns take home a strong victory for the boy’s team. According to Nave, “Carlton played probably as good as I’ve ever seen him play today, and Ryan Whitener did as well. It was a good sign.”
With a lot of time for practice and many big matches still left in the season, the Longhorns are sure to gain some valuable experience, especially for the younger players. With the boys already well on their way and the girls improving every match, Johnson County seems to be on track to becoming one of the most notable teams in the area.