On Tuesday, the 2017 13th Region tennis tournaments concluded with four championship matches at Whitley County High School.
In boys doubles, the team of Brady Keith and Peyton Hamlin from Corbin defeated their opponents from Middlesboro in a very competitive matchup – 7-5, 5-7, 10-3. After the match, Keith said, “This feels great. I was confident coming in, but I also knew that it was going to be a tough match.”
Hamlin added, “I’m pretty relieved, honestly. We just played our hearts out, though, and I’m glad that we were able to win. Now I hope that we can continue our success up in Lexington.”
It was Corbin versus Corbin in the finals of the girls doubles bracket, with the team of Ellie Jane Carloftis and Caroline Reedy taking on Cora Bo Stevens and Emily Morton. In the end, Carloftis/Reedy won 6-3, 6-0, meaning they get to enter into this year’s state tourney as region champs.
“I was really nervous,” said Carloftis after the match. “Because they are a really good team. I’m so excited to be able to go back to state as a region winner, though. Caroline and I are a great team. Honestly, she pulled me through that match. I was not playing my best, but she really helped me out. I was very proud of her for stepping up to the plate like she did.”
“I feel like we’re a strong team,” Carloftis continued. “I’m just really excited, and I’m ready to win state. I’ve been wanting this since I was in the seventh grade.”
Reedy said, “It’s exciting. I love my partner, I love my team and I’m ready for state.”
Reedy has competed on the state stage before, but she has not had the opportunity to do so in recent years due to the fact that she has been plagued by injury. When asked how it feels to get back to this level after all the setbacks she has experienced, she said, “It was disappointing, but it also drove me during the offseason to work my butt off to get to where I am now. It has definitely been an exciting journey, and now it’s paying off.”
When asked how she thinks her and Carloftis will fare at state, Reedy said, “If we play like we did today, I expect us to go far. We have great communication skills, we work well together and if we play like I know we can, I know we can make it far.”
Stevens and Morton both agreed that it was tough having to play against their teammates and friends in the region finals, but they both also said that they are excited about the upcoming trip to state. They are confident in their abilities, and they too have high hopes for what they could accomplish in Lexington.
In girls singles, 2016 region champion Samantha Spady of Corbin successfully defended her crown against her opponent from Knox Central, winning 6-1, 6-0. After the match, she said, “It’s amazing. This was my goal all season, and now I’ve accomplished it. Our team has accomplished so much together this season. I’m very proud of us for what we’ve done.”
Spady went on to say that she is feeling more confident coming into this year’s state championship tournament, because now she has more experience, and she’s a little more mature than she was one year ago.
Finally, in the last match of the evening to come to an end, Whitley County’s Chris Tan was victorious over Clay County’s Brit Bowling 2-6, 6-3, 10-5 to win his first-ever regional championship title. “Brit is the ultimate competitor,” Tan said afterward. “He is the best that I’ve ever faced in this region. We’ve been playing each other probably since the sixth grade. I’ve always loved playing against him, and I give him a lot of respect.”
“Today was definitely a battle,” Tan continued. “He came out playing pretty well, and I was a little bit nervous because we were playing in a championship. I lost the first set, and had to regroup and fight. Not everything was working today, so I just had to fight to win this one. I’m glad I could pull through.”
This region championship is the culmination of years of hard work for Tan. When asked how it feels, he said, “It definitely feels good. That’s the goal. It’s what I work for every day. It’s why I’m on the court practicing for hours every day. It’s why I lift in the weight room and condition to myself in the best shape possible. It’s so I can win matches like this and come out as champion. I wasn’t able to do it last year, but I worked hard, kept my composure and I was able to do it now.”
Tan said this championship win has given him a boost of confidence heading into the KHSAA state championship tournament, where he said he will be looking to make his mark, and “represent the 13th Region well.”
To get the full story on how each of these competitors ended up in Tuesday’s region championship matches, pick up a copy of the May 10 edition of the News Journal, and stay tuned for more information regarding the upcoming tennis state championships, taking place in Lexington May 18-20.