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Longhorn netters ‘double’ up to reach semis

By Tim Chambers

KINGSPORT— The Lady Longhorn netters surprised the entire tennis field by sending two teams to the semi-finals which was to be played on Tuesday. The team of Ashtyn Henson and Gracie May will compete in one semi-final match while sisters, Taylor and Olivia Cox, will try and reach the final in the other doubles match.
Henson and May defeated Davis and Ricker of North Greene 8-5 to win in first round play. The Cox sisters blanked Ireson and Yates of Sullivan South 8-0.
Henson and May played well in the second set, knocking off St. Clair and Barrett of South 7-5, 6-1. But the Cox sisters found themselves in a dogfight before pulling out a win.
They upset top seed Nelson and Murray of Sullivan East 3-6, 6-1 and 6-4 to earn their semifinal berth.
Henson and May will take on Calpo and Rangel of Elizabethton in the first semifinal match. The Cox sisters will battle Casteel and Cutshaw of South Greene in the second match.
The doubles semifinals are set to begin at 11 am.
May is excited about what lies ahead for her and Henson.
We’ve already beaten them once this year,” said May. “We’ve got to come out focused, ready to play. We want the doubles championship to be all Johnson County. We’ve been working hard to make that happen.
Freshman Dalton Sluder won his first round match before falling in the second round. The Cox sisters are also freshmen.
Head coach Eric Crabtree is pleased. “It’s obvious that we’ve played well –  especially Gracie, Ashtyn,  Olivia and Taylor,” said Crabtree. “But we played well in some of our losses too. Dalton had a big first round win and our other kids played good but had some tough luck late. This has been a good showing for Johnson County. It has a chance to get even better.”