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Senior Spotlight: Outstanding Longhorn Taylor Parsons

By Tim Chambers
Sports Editor

From winning the Tennessee Miss Outstanding Teen Pageant to being a vital cog on the girls’ basketball team that won a school-record 23 games, Taylor Parsons said that trying to do everything required on her schedule was sometimes overwhelming during her senior year, but with God’s help, she made and graduated with honors at Johnson County High School. 

Her lone regret was not getting to play tennis her senior season because she was expected to play in the state tournament at Murfreesboro. Parsons never lost a tennis match in singles during her junior year, so there was plenty of reason for her to show confidence and optimism. 

She also has nightmares of the basketball team losing in the regional tournament at South Greene in a game she said they should have won. 

“We outplayed them and should have won the game,” said Parsons. “I get sick every time that I think of it and what could have been. We can all look back one day and feel good that we were part of history. It still doesn’t ease the pain.”

The history she spoke of was winning a school-record 23 games the hurt she spoke of was nearly pulling off a first-round shocker in the regional tournament on the road. Parsons has been known to excel in the big events such as her pageant win back last year. She showed the entire state that a young lady from Johnson County, Tennessee had what it takes to win the Miss Tennessee Outstanding Teen Pageant.  She also showed on the court that she had what it takes to be one of the best girl’s inside players in Northeast Tennessee and that a beauty queen could mix it up on the court with the best of them.

“I loved basketball,” said Parsons. “I played for the best coaches that you could ever have. Coach Garry Smith had such a big impact on me. He was like my grandfather.”

Parsons laughed about how she was able to become such a good tennis player. 

“I put a lot of work in after I started learning the game as a sophomore,” said Parsons. “I struggled a little bit but practiced a lot, stayed on the tennis court, and did pretty okay at it.”

Parsons said her most memorable moment as a Lady longhorn was the pregame talks they had before basketball games. 

“I can close my eyes and see and remember what was going on,” said Parsons. “The music playing and everyone getting hyped up. We didn’t think there was a game we didn’t have a chance to win. We had some memorable wins, including Elizabethton twice and beating East to reach the regional. I definitely will remember all of it.”

Parsons plans on attending ETSU. She said that vice principal Kayla Clawson was the one who had a huge impact on her, along with Coaches Leon Tolley and Garry Smith. 

“As much as I hated Coach Smith at times, I loved him,” added Parsons. Sometimes he gave it to me in the locker room, and at times I gave it back, but we had a deep respect for another. I loved him like a family member. I still text him from time to time to check and see how he is.”

Clawson also left a lasting impression. 

“She was new at the school this year, but she sort of took me in and stuck by it me. No matter how hard her day was, she always took the time out to congratulate the other players and me on our wins.”

She also thanked her mom Ann for being her rock and a true supporter. She hopes to be remembered as a hard worker and somebody who never stopped smiling.