By Beth Cox
Four groups of the Longhorn netters easily surpassed the first-round action Monday at Milligan College and finished with district finals on Tuesday.
Mason Stanley would be in a battle with Sullivan North’s Adam Nelson. Stanley was hitting well and had good placement, but it just wasn’t enough to defeat Nelson.
Noah Cox and Dalton Sluder got off to a rough start with North’s Tray Williams and Dalton Hatmaker. Nerves appeared to be a contributing factor in the first set, but communication between players provided a much better second set, but Cox and Sluder would succumb to a strong net game provided by Tray Williams.
“Tray’s athleticism and height made it difficult to get anything past him,” Cox said.
Assistant Coach, Tim Tugman spoke highly of Sluder and Cox, “Noah and Dalton have worked very hard this year, not only on the physical aspects of tennis but on the mental aspects and I am proud of what they have accomplished.”
Taylor and Olivia Cox faced a couple of familiar faces during the district finals; their teammates, Margaret Morrow and Hannah Bauer. It would be a valiant effort by Morrow and Bauer, but they were no match for the dynamic duo. The sisters’ experience, strategy and possibly twin connection made them fierce competitors. The tennis partners were excited to win the title of district champs. Olivia said, “last year we didn’t play very well in the finals and lost against Chuckey Doak, so to win the district this year was pretty nice.” Taylor expressed her appreciation for her opponents/teammates, “We love Margaret and Hannah; we had fun playing against them, and I’m happy they still get to go to regionals with us.”
Stanley, Cox, Sluder, Bauer, and Morrow placed second in the district tournament and will play in regionals along with the Cox twins Monday at Greeneville Tennis Complex.
Taylor Cox received the honor of Player of the Year. Taylor’s dad and Assistant Coach Craig Cox was ecstatic about his daughter receiving the award,” Taylor has worked hard all year, and I am glad she was recognized for her effort.” Coach Zach Pittman added, “I wish Taylor could play both singles and doubles because I think she could easily win both.”
Pittman feels good about his team moving forward into regionals, He states, “I feel the Cox twins have a great shot of not only going to state but winning it all and Mason fought hard and will rebound to win regionals.” Coach Zach Pittman also received the award for Coach of the Year.