Pike pounds competition, earns return trip to state

By Rebecca Pierson
STAR Staff

   Elizabethton's Amanda Pike took the top slot in Monday's individual Region 1-A/AA Tournament in Pigeon Forge, earning her a bid to go to state.
   Curtis Brumit took home a second-place finish, while Johnson County's James Cox was defeated in the semifinals.
   Pike opened up with a defeat over Olivia Staleup of Gatlinburg-Pittman, 6-1, 6-2. She then defeated Linda Villarreal of Pigeon Forge, 6-1, 6-2, after Villarreal won the semi-round over Stacy Wingate of Sullivan Central, 6-2, 6-2.
   "[Villarreal] played a good game," Pike said. "It was a really good match. She was consistent and everything, but I thought that I did really well today. It was a really good finals match, I thought.
   "This was my main goal at the beginning of the season was to go to state," she said. "It is just a privilege to go. I know the competition will be a lot tougher. I am glad to be going."
   Brumit lost in the finals to Kunal Jardosh of Gatlinburg-Pittman after splitting sets, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6. He won over Justin Shults of
   Gatlinburg-Pittman earlier in 6-0, 6-3 match.
   "I made it to the sectional tournament," Brumit said. "[Jardosh] is a senior, so I will have two more years. But he is really good.
   "I knew from the start it was going to be a long match. I was just hoping to get up on him, and I did, but I just couldn't hang on to it. Hopefully, I can come out next year in the state tournament."
   Jardosh had defeated Cox previously, 6-0, 6-1.
   "I was having an off day and just glad to be here," Cox said. "Next year, they had better come out to play. I am going to do some camps this summer and work my way around.
   "I just couldn't hit anything today," he said. "All I wanted to do [pre-season] was to make it here. Now that I am teaching the rest of the team how to play, it has helped me get more into it."
   In doubles competition, Unicoi County sent four doubles into the regionals, and walked away with the top place for both the girls' and boys.'
   Jessi Smith and Sara Hopson of South Greene defeated Unicoi's Paula Edwards and Jessica Crews, 6-2, 6-0. Jessica Pauli and Tracy Cartier of Unicoi won over Tiffany McCarta and Mika Leatherwood of Gatlinburg-Pittman, 6-1, 6-0.
   Pauli and Cartier then defeated Smith and Hopson, 6-4, 6-3 in the finals.
   Jacob Cave and Dustin Melbardis of Pigeon Forge lost to Patrick Ohlendorf and Drew Parsons of Unicoi, 6-3, 6-0.
   John Cave and Rory Bristol of Pigeon Forge also lost to a Unicoi team. Jan Koesters and Brandon Triplett defeated them 6-4, 6-2, but was them beat out of the top spot by their teammates, 6-2, 6-1.