Cornett emerges with singles title for Johnson Co.

By Matt Hill

   It was a hard-earned District 1-AA boys singles title for Adam Cornett.
   After getting by No. 3 seed Curtis Brumit from Elizabethton 6-4, 7-6 (8-6 in tiebreak), the Johnson County standout knocked off Elizabethton's David Reece 6-3, 6-0 to take the championship at the Elizabethton High School Tennis Courts.
   The day started at the Bristol Racquet Club due to inclement weather, and it was a stormy beginning for Cornett. Brumit gave Cornett a much tougher match than expected, but once Cornett got through that, he practically cruised to the title against the second-seeded Reece.
   "The Brumit kid is very consistent," Cornett said after winning his first District 1-AA Championship. "He's not got a lot of power, and that messed me up a little bit. Coming out here and playing David, he's more my level. I just came out and played my best."
   Cornett's struggles went away in the title match after he broke Reece to go up 5-3. Cornett didn't lose another game after that.
   Cornett was visibly frustrated against Brumit, but really turned his composure around against Reece once things started going his way.
   "After the first set I knew I had a little room to breathe, so I started hitting some of my harder shots like I should," Cornett said.
   Said Reece: "That had to be the turning point. I wasn't sharp the rest of the match. But you have to put it in perspective. There wasn't a war, nobody died."
   For Cornett, this District Title has been a long time coming.
   Two years ago, Cornett lost in the District final to Unicoi County's Ivan Mikac. In 2002, Cornett fell in the semifinals to Sullivan Central's Vlada Tokin, both of whom were foreign exchange students.
   After playing second fiddle for so long, Cornett can finally call himself a champion.
   But by the same token, Cornett also considers his opponent a champion.
   "It would have been great for either me or David both to win," Cornett said. "We're both seniors, we've both played hard the past two years. Yeah it's great to finally win after coming so close."
   "We get along really well. He's a great guy. There is nobody that I would rather lose to if I was to lose."
   Cornett not only won this tournament for himself, but also for the students and teachers at Johnson County High School. In an area that gets very little recognition for athletic accomplishments, Cornett has helped put Longhorn tennis on the map.
   "I'm really happy to do this," Cornett said. "It's big for our school, because you don't hear much about it. I'm sure my principal (Betty Brown) will be tickled too death."
   While Cornett was celebrating a championship, it was a difficult day for Reece. The Cyclone had the easier of the two semifinal matches during a 6-0, 6-0 win of Sullivan North's Matt Jones, but then had to wait almost five hours in-between matches.
   Reece felt anxious about the match, and feels that played a part in his struggles.
   "I got a little anxious sitting around all day," he said. "Some days you get real negative on yourself. I've just got to go out and work and get ready for next week."
   Next week is the Region I-AA Tournament, and Reece wouldn't mind to see his friend again.
   "That's a possibility," Reece said. "If it happens it happens. I've just got to go with who I get."
   The player that probably made the biggest impression on the day was Brumit. After playing No. 2 seeds all year long, Brumit finally had his chance to play with the big boys.
   He didn't disappoint.
   Brumit rallied well against Cornett, and did everything he could to give himself a chance to win. During one game, Brumit produced three-straight aces.
   Brumit looked like a totally different player than the one that went up against Unicoi County's Andre Schertges on Monday. Brumit knew he had to play better, and did something about it.
   "I knew I needed help, so I went and got a lesson earlier today," Brumit said, "so I would be warmed up and everything and all loose. When I went to play him, I was feeling pretty good and I was playing really well. He was playing great too, and he came out with the win."
   The girls doubles final was an All-Cyclone affair, with Amanda Pike and Liz Dove coming out with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Abby Bremer and Allison Parlier.
   It was the second-straight District championship for Pike and Dove, but Pike said this one was a little bit nerve-racking playing teammates and friends.
   "At the very beginning, I was very nervous," Pike said. "I have this thing that when I play people I know I get very nervous. It was kind of nerve-racking playing our teammates. Overall, it really wasn't that difficult. We had very good rallies. They played very well."
   Dove was very complimentary of her teammates on the other side of the net that had to win a three-set thriller just to make the finals.
   "Abby and Allison played their butts off against Unicoi," Dove said. "I was really happy to play them in the final, and I know Amanda was, too.
   Dove says she would like to see Bremer and Parlier again in the Regional Final next week.
   "That would be nice," Dove said. "It's kind of sad that only one team goes on from the regionals, but the team wins."
   In other action, Unicoi County's Amber Campbell won the girls singles title with a 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 win over Volunteer's Morgan Smith, while Unicoi County's Drew Parsons and Florian Schuchert took the boys doubles championship in three sets over Sullivan Central's Brad Huber and Brandon Bledsoe.