Dynamic duos for EHS

By Wes Holtsclaw

   The Elizabethton High School Tennis Complex saw some battles Monday afternoon in the District 1-AA Tennis Championships. But when the Cyclone rolled through, the devastation gave Elizabethton the boys and girls doubles tennis crowns, as Amanda Pike and Liz Dove with teammates Weston Peters and David Reece advance to the regional tournament.
   "They did a great job," said Cyclone coach Danny O'Quinn. "We won both of those doubles, got third place in the girls singles, and fourth place in the boys singles. I'm proud of the team's overall performance. I know it's going to be tough next week, especially when you get to Knoxville and Gatlinburg. We're in for a fight."
   Though Batman and Robin are known as the 'Dynamic Duo,' the two pairs from Elizabethton can also make a legit statement after their impressive showings.
   Pike and Dove downed Volunteer's Stacy Hurd and Jennifer Jones with a 6-0 and 6-0 match in the semi-finals, to set up a meeting with Unicoi's Stephanie Nuss and Lucy Hunigan, who defeated Elizabethton's Hayley Shields and Stephanie Schumaier 6-3 and 6-2.
   Pike and Dove battled to a tight 7-6 first set, but took the match with a 6-2 rally to take the district title.
   "I guess it was good experience in my first year," said Pike. "It really wasn't that much competition up until the last match. We got nervous but came back and beat them. We did very well."
   Said Dove after the big victory: "I think we played well as a team. In the first set, we got really nervous. It took awhile to get loose, but in the second we played to our highest potential and I'm really proud of my teammate and myself."
   In the boys doubles, Peters and Reece had a battle with Unicoi County's Derek Hess and Drew Parsons, tying the first set at 6-6, forcing a tiebreaker, which the Cyclone clan took 7-1 for the first set win, and dominating the second set 6-1 for the match and district crown.
   "We figured we'd have to come out and make good shots," said Peters. "I'm glad we're going to the regionals as district champs."
   "We had a good tournament," said Reece. "We'd like to credit Coach O'Quinn. We played well, it felt good to win. We just stuck to our fundamentals for it."
   The Elizabethton duo beat Chris Ofiero and Eric Howard from Volunteer 6-4 and 6-4 to advance, while Hess and Parsons toppled Volunteer's Tyler Young and David Bryant 6-2 and 6-3 with a 7-3 tiebreaker to make it to the finals.
   In the girls singles, Unicoi County's Amber Campbell continued her dominance of the Watauga Conference, with a 6-3, 6-1 win, coming back from a 4-6 opening set against Volunteer's Morgan Smith, to take her third straight district crown.
   Campbell topped Elizabethton's Allison Parlier in an earlier semifinal match 6-3 and 6-3, while Smith beat Johnson County's Keri Cornett 6-2 and 6-1. It was an impressive showing from Campbell.
   "I'm really happy with the outcome," said the conference ladies MVP. "She (Smith) was playing well today. We played twice earlier in the year, and I won both times, but this match was by far the best between us. I'm looking forward to the regionals, we'll see what happens there. I made it to state the last two years, I hope I can go back."
   Parlier took third place in the consolation match with a 6-2 and 6-1 victory over Cornett.
   In the boy's singles round, it was the pair from Sullivan Central which made their mark on the tournament, but only one of them could outlast the other for the district crown.
   Andy Tate knocked off Elizabethton's Devin Johnson 6-1 and 6-0, while Vladan Tokin downed Johnson County's Adam Cornett 6-4 and 6-0 to set up the monster matchup.
   Although Andy Tate broke two rackets early in the first set, he ousted the stiff competition, taking the match at 6-3, 6-3. It was a good showing for Central's Tate, who also doubled as the conference MVP.
   "Well, I was hoping I would play Vladan in the finals," said Tate. "I thought he would beat me, since we've played good in practice together. I broke two rackets early, but I focused and played my game."
   Cornett won the boys consolation with a 6-1 and 6-3 victory over Johnson, taking third place in the bracket.
   The winners travel to Gatlinburg for the regional tournament next week. Good luck to all of the local athletes.