North's Nelson, Johnson County sisters headed to state

Tanner Cook • May 13, 2019 at 9:33 PM

GREENEVILLE — A Monday morning rain shower temporarily halted the TSSAA small schools individual regional tennis championships at the Greeneville Tennis Center, but four bids were filled for trips to Murfreesboro next week.

The Johnson County girls doubles team of Taylor and Olivia Cox will make the return trip after beating Claiborne’s Rebecca Williams and Madison Edwards 6-1 and 6-1. The Lady Longhorns duo was bounced in the first round at state last spring, but they are going back with their eyes on the prize.

“We’re excited and we worked so hard to get back. Once we got here, we knew we couldn’t lose,” said Taylor Cox.

They actually had to rally in the semifinals match against a South Greene team that was a problem. After winning the first set, the Cox sisters fell behind 0-3 but rallied to win the second set 6-4.

“We got nervous in the semis, but we play better when we’re nervous,” Olivia Cox said. “Our dad also told us to get our heads out of our butts and play.”

Also in the doubles, Sullivan North’s Trey Williams and Dalton Hatmaker lost a hard-fought match 6-0 and 6-3 to South Greene’s Landon Brown and Turner Reaves.

On the singles side, Sullivan North’s Adam Nelson will also be making his second consecutive trip to Murfreesboro after beating Johnson County’s Mason Stanley 7-5 and 6-0.

“It feels really good to be a senior and follow through with back-to-back state appearances,” Nelson said. “(Coach Herzog) has really helped me with my back hand and put a lot of top spin on the ball. He’s helped me become a more offensive player.”

South Greene’s Jaelyn Casteel won the girls individual title over Cumberland Gap’s Emma Brooks 6-0 and 6-2.

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