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Koch, Jacksons take home tennis titles

Rainy weather couldn’t hold back the Three Rivers Conference tennis players.
Unicoi County Junior standout Reed Jackson continued his reign over the conference by taking home his third district title on Friday at Elizabethton’s tennis courts during a rainy morning tennis match.
“It was raining and the courts were kind of slick,” Jackson said after his match. “I had a slow start but I finally got it going.”
Jackson was met by Johnson County’s No. 1 seed, Carlton Tugman, who beat out Unicoi’s Conly Shults during the finals, but the Blue Devil would win the match by the scores of 6-1, 6-2.
“I was relaxed,” Reed Jackson explained, “I had a lot of confidence.”
Both Jackson and Tugman qualified for the regional tournament.
Coach Smith recognized the type of player Carlton is after the match.
“Carlton played good and made Reed work for it,” Smith said.
The player of the year for the boys side of the Three Rivers conference knows what needs to be done to continue the success going into regional action.
“This year has been great. I’ll just need to continue to be patient and protect the ball,” Reed Jackson said.
Reed wasn’t the only Jackson taking home tennis honors.
Younger sister, Mallory, along with Lady Devil Seline Koch, took home the girls district title by defeating Elizabethton’s team of Rita Basconi/Haley Thacker by the scores of 6-3, 6-0.
“It was a good match,” Koch said. “We were consistent and hit good shots.”
The duo of Jackson/Koch has been a tough team to be reckoned with throughout the regular as the girls posted an undefeated record going into district action.
Jackson and Koch both said they always stayed relaxed during matches.
“We play really well together,” Mallory said.
“The kids went about their business,” Smith said. “They could play a little bit better and they will have to, the farther we go.”
In a match-up that’s been seen three times during the season, the duo of Andy Bowers/Zach Peters narrowly edged out Logan Lyle/Trevor Shelton for a berth in the boys double regional tournament.
Coach Smith knows the teams will be meeting again Monday during the conference tiebreaker match between Elizabethton and Unicoi, and his boys will be ready.
“I thought they played real well,” Smith said, “Elizabethton did too, it will be a good match to see when they meet at Milligan.”
The other group of doubles saw Amada Carey/Nicole Downard falling to Basconi/Thacker in the semifinals.
Unicoi’s boys team will be in action against Elizabethton on Monday at Milligan College, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline, to decide who will take home the top honors of the conference.
Regional Tournament action will begin Monday, May 16 at the courts in Elizabethton, with the winners advancing to Murfreesboro on Monday, May 23.