Last spring the Corbin High School tennis program continued its legacy of winning with both the boys and girls securing regional team titles, followed by them nearly sweeping the regional singles and doubles championships as well.
In all, the Redhounds will be bringing back six of the eight competitors that they sent to the KHSAA state championships in 2016. Those players are freshman Samantha Spady, juniors Cora Bo Stevens, Emily Morton and Ellie Jane Carloftis, sophomore Brady Keith, junior Seth Maguet and senior Zane Maguet.
Head Coach Nickie Dixon will of course have high expectations for all of these players in the 2017 season, but there are many others that she will be counting on as well. “We’re a big team this year,” she said. “ We have 15 girls and 13 boys, so trying to manage about 30 kids on six courts can get kind of interesting, but they’re all working hard. I’m excited for the season.”
On the boys’ side, the departure of Nikhil Krishna from last year’s squad will definitely leave a void to be filled, but Dixon is confident in the overall ability of those players that will be returning to the court for her this spring. “Losing Nikhil is of course going to hurt the team,” she explained. “But we have a strong group of boys coming back that have been together pretty much since the sixth grade.”
“They’ve all grown up playing together,” Dixon continued. “And I’m returning three of the four players that went to state in doubles last year. I’m expecting big things from them. I also have two players that made it to the quarterfinals of the region in singles, so I think they will all be able to step up to the challenge. Andrew Bingham (sophomore) was actually the one who clinched the region for us last year. Drew Beecham and Peyton Hamlin (sophomores) will also be back, and will probably be looked at to play singles for us.”
As for the girls team, Dixon anticipates being very strong once again this year, even without Jaclyn Jewell, who graduated in 2016 and is now a major contributor to the University of the Cumberlands women’s tennis program.
“They work hard,” Dixon said of her Lady Hounds. “They have been working almost all winter long, so I am expecting big things from them as well. Ellie Jane has really stepped up, and has become a leader on the team. I am hoping that Samantha will be able to repeat as the singles regional champion, and Caroline Reedy is healthy again. We didn’t have her as much as we wanted last year because of some injuries, but she’s ready to play now, and hungry to compete for a title.”
With the 2017 season now just days away, Dixon said, “I’m always excited to get going. When you coach players that have such a hunger for the game it makes my job so much easier. They always want to be on the court, and I’m excited to see what they are going to accomplish together.”