By Keeli Parkey
The end of the 2018 regular season is quickly approaching for the Unicoi County High School tennis teams.
The UCHS teams will wrap up the regular season with four matches during the week of April 30 when they will face Sullivan North, Johnson County, Elizabethton and Sullivan South.
The Blue Devils and Lady Devils recently went on the road and faced Sullivan East, Science Hill, Dobyns-Bennett and Tennessee High.
Both teams were competitive against Sullivan East, but lost in the team competition. The Blue Devils lost 6-3 with Ben Hensley (8-3) and Aaron Manzanares (8-6) winning their singles matches and the doubles team of Chase Erwin/Hensley winning their doubles match (9-7).
“The boys fell short against Sullivan East, but had a few close matches,” head coach Karla Keesecker said. “Matthew Sutphin played a great match losing just shy at 9-7.
The Lady Devils lost to East, 7-2. Katherine Altemose (8-4) won her singles match and then teamed up with Taylor Thomas to win a doubles match (8-0).
“I was proud of the way the girls competed even though they lost the overall match,” Keesecker said.
The matches against Science Hill, Dobyns-Bennett and Tennessee High resulted in losses for both UCHS teams.
“Even though they lost, they played very well and did their absolute best,” Keesecker said. “I was extremely proud of the way they handled such tough teams. They played each point to the best of their ability and handled the challenge with grace.”
The Blue Devils were especially competitive at Dobyns-Bennett, according to Keesecker. Noah Starnes lost a close match there (8-5), Chase Erwin lost (8-4) and Matthew Sutphin lost (8-6).
As the season winds down, Keesecker said she is pleased with how her players have performed this season.
“I really can’t say enough how proud I am of the team so far this year,” she added. “They have been faced with some tough challenges this year – no home matches, plus the change in conference. But, they have given each and every match their absolute best. They have had great attitudes this year and competed well.
The Blue Devils and Lady Devils will compete in the district tournament on May 7-8 at Science Hill.