By Keeli Parkey
The 2018 season is in the books for the Unicoi County High School tennis program.
The regular season ended for the Blue Devils and Lady Devils during the first week of May with matches against Sullivan North, Johnson County, Elizabethton and Sullivan South.
The Lady Devils defeated Sullivan North in team competition, 5-4. Winning their singles matches were Brandolyn Thomas (9-8), Katyln Higgins (8-4), Katherine Altemose (8-3). Thomas joined forces with Winter Day-Honeycutt to win a doubles match (8-4). Higgins and Carson Moore also teamed up to win their doubles match (8-1).
“The girls did a great job during this match, playing tough and coming up with the win,” head coach Karla Keesecker said. “The boys lost to Sullivan North, but Ben Hensley and Chase Erwin played close matches just coming up short.”
Against Johnson County, UCHS won three singles matches. Taylor Thomas won (6-2) for the Lady Devils while Ben Hensley (6-3) and Matthew Sutphin (7-5) won their matches.
“Both teams lost to Elizabethon, but both Aaron Manzanares and Winter Day-Honeycutt played great close singles matches, both losing 6-8,” Keesecker said. “The team finished the season playing Sullivan South and took away two wins. Singles winners were Ben Hensley (8-4) and Natalia Hernandez (9-7).”
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Blue Devil and Lady Devil players ended the season in the District 1-AA tournament held May 7-8 at Science Hill High School in Johnson City.
“Boys singles players were Matthew Sutphin and Aaron Manzanres,” Keesecker said. “Matthew played a fantastic first round match, but lost 4-6, 7-5. Aaron had a tough loss to Elizabethton’s Luke Carrser, but fought hard.”
Representing the Lady Devils in singles competition at the district were Altemose and Taylor Thomas.
“Katherine lost a tough one to Sullivan Central’s Natalie Scott,” Keesecker said. “Taylor Thomas played a great match, fought hard and had a great comeback against Elizabethton’s Reagan Armstrong. Taylor faced some really tough challenges during this match. I was very proud of the way she handled herself and how she battled during the match.”
Representing the Blue Devils in doubles competition at the district were the teams of Trey Hatcher/Noah Starnes and Hensley/Erwin.
“Hatcher/Starnes lost a tough match to Tennessee High,” Keesecker said. “Hensley/Erwin won their first round match, defeating Volunteer. 6-3; 6-2. They had a very tough second round losing to the number one seeds from Tennessee High.”
The doubles teams of Brandolyn Thomas/Day-Honeycutt and Moore/Higgins competed for UCHS in the district tournament.
“Thomas/Day-Honeycutt had a tough first round match playing Dobyns-Bennett,” Keesecker said. “They played hard and did their best. Moore/Higgins played a long three-setter against Volunteer, coming out on top 6-2 in the last set. They lost their second round match against the number one seeds from Dobyns-Bennett, but tried hard and did their best.”
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The UCHS tennis program celebrated the 2018 season with an awards banquet on May 9. Receiving honors from the team were:
• Ben Hensley and Brandolyn Thomas – Blue Devil Award;
• Chase Erwin and Katherine Altemose – Best Singles Player;
• Ben Hensley/Chase Erwin and Carson Moore/Katlyn Higgins – Best Doubles Team;
• Taylor Thomas and Matthew Sutphin – Most Improved Player;
• Winter Day-Honeycutt, Carson Moore, Trey Hatcher and Noah Starnes – District 1 All-Conference.