Raiders slip by 'Horns

By Matt Hill

   MOUNTAIN CITY--Johnson County's Adam Cornett is tickled too death that he can go a long way in clinching the top seed for next week's District 1-AA Tennis Tournament with a win over Elizabethton's David Reece this afternoon in Mountain City.
   But Monday ended up being bittersweet for him.
   Cornett won a singles match and teamed up with Justin Genaille for a doubles victory, but it wasn't enough for a team win as Sullivan North defeated Johnson County 5-4 in boys action at the JCHS Tennis Courts.
   The Lady Raiders also defeated Johnson County on Monday afternoon.
   Cornett won his singles match 8-2 over Matt Jones, but was disappointed that the team couldn't pull out a match where Johnson County already had a two-match lead due to Golden Raider defaults.
   "It feels good to win, but I would really like to see our team win more," Cornett said. "We're getting a lot better as time goes on. I hope we do really good in the tournament this year."
   Cornett was in prime form on Monday in a match that was really a warm-up for today's showdown with Reece.
   The winner will most likely earn the top-seed in the District 1-AA Tournament, and should be the favorite for conference MVP.
   "Tomorrow, I guess we'll be playing for the conference title," Cornett said. "We're both good players, and it's going to be a grudge match."
   Said Johnson County tennis coach Ryan Arnold: "I think he is really psyched up for it. David's a great player. I don't know if Adam can beat him or not. I feel like he can beat him up here, and that it will be a good match. He's got a little extra motivation that I haven't given him yet that I'm going to give him tomorrow to motivate him a little better."
   Even though the Longhorn boys lost on Monday, another close match tells Arnold that the team is getting better and better.
   "They're really starting to improve right now," Arnold said. "We are close. Maybe if the kids stick together we'll be pretty good next year. Losing Adam is going to hurt, but as far as team-wise, I think we're going to be better next year than we were this year."
   The Lady Longhorns didn't win a singles match, but Katie Sluder gave Sullivan North's Amber Gillenwater all she wanted before losing 8-5.
   Arnold is very happy with Sluder's progress.
   "Katie has really been doing pretty good this year," Arnold said. "She's getting better. She wants to play. She tries real hard, and she's a great kid. She tries hard at whatever she does. She works hard out here and tries to get better. I really appreciate her for that."
   The Longhorns have taken some lumps this year overall, but Arnold thinks that going into next week's District Tournament, his team is starting to peak.
   "Everybody is improving," Arnold said. "We may be a factor in the tournament."