By Matt Hill
Mondays Region I-A/AA Tennis Tournament in Greeneville was the end of a great career at JCHS while the other is just beginning to scratch the surface of how good he can be.
Senior Wade Tugman and brother Carlton reached the final of the event for the first time on Monday and are the first Longhorns in many years to accomplish that feat.
Wade and Carlton won 6-3, 6-4 over Greenevilles Andrew Hollowell and Matt McGill before losing a District finals rematch 6-4. 6-1 to Unicois Reed Jackson and Toby Rohrback.
The championship match was similar to their first meeting in Elizabethton, but this time the Longhorns were happier about the way they played.
In the first set, Jackson and Rohrback jumped out to a 3-0 lead only to see the Tugmans rally back to tie the set at 4-4.
It came down to a few clutch points and Unicoi was able to win those.
In the second set, the Tugmans continued to play well but the Blue Devils were just too strong.
Still, Wade was happy with reaching this far.
It feels good to accomplish this, Wade said. Maybe this will inspire other people to play and get others into tennis. Its good to get that one win and reach finals. It would have felt awful to lose in the first round again.
If the Tugmans had won the first set, Wade feels it could have been a different match.
A first set win would have probably caused them to lose a lot of confidence and might have affected them. A couple of points here and there and it might have been different, Tugman said.
For Carlton, he was also pleased.
We played a lot better today, he said. In the second set they were just better than us. We played pretty well. We rallied back from down 3-0 in the first set to tie it at 4-4.
With Wade graduating next week, this is the last time in a high school match that the two brothers will play with each other.
It was a lot of fun, Carlton said. Hes helped me become a better player.
Carlton now becomes the face of the Longhorn tennis team for the next two years and with a loaded summer schedule of tournaments all over the region, hes ready to take control.
Most likely Ill go singles next year, he said.
Wade leaves the program with three straight region appearances, two district finals and a region final.