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By JAMES LINE
Special to The Banner
Trimble County High School’s boys and girls tennis teams lost four matches in the past two weeks, against teams from Shelby County High School, Frankfort High School, North Oldham County High School, and Western Hills High School.
According to boys coach Leslie Cutshaw, however, “the final match scores don’t entirely reflect the performance of the players throughout the games.”
Until the Shelby match, the boys doubles team with the most wins had been juniors Dylan Stethen and Reese True. True had in previous years played doubles with fellow junior Damon Copeland, so the match-up with True was a fresh experience. Copeland and True regrouped in their match against Shelby County, losing narrowly in a tie-breaker against two tough opponents.
The loss, said True, was a “big wake-up call. When we were together before, we always won.” In Monday’s match against North Oldham, the duo stumbled as True and Copeland lost their match by a much wider margin. They regained the momentum on Thursday in their match against Western Hills in Frankfort, winning 6-2, 6-0. Said Copeland, “Reese continued to play great, and I played a lot better this match than I did the last one.”
Dylan Stethen, long used to playing singles, was “relieved” when he returned to playing solo in the Shelby match. Despite a strong effort on Stethen’s part, the energy didn’t last and he narrowly lost both the Shelby and North Oldham matches. Stethen returned to the winners’ circle in his match against Western Hills, where he won his firs set 6-2, and his second set with a 7-6 tiebreaker.
Meanwhile, juniors Damon Husband and Nick Kleinhenz played doubles against Shelby; their combined strengths weren’t enough, however, to take down the opposing team. At North Oldham, Kleinhenz and Husband split up and played singles, again losing both matches. Husband’s score was 3-6, 3-6; Kleinhenz’s score was 0-6, 2-6.
Finally, this season’s two new players, junior Brandon Bird and seventh grader David Masterson have made their own commitments to the Raider tennis team. While not achieving any victories on the scoresheet, Cutshaw said that “the matches have provided valuable experience to both players so far.”
On the girl’s side of the courts, similar challenges are being faced. Playing for varsity are the doubles teams of Alex Lawhorn and Micah Hess (both sophomores), Whitney Wingham (sophomore) and Ciarra Harmon (junior), and singles players Elisabeth Moore (junior) and Sabrina Vest (senior).
Lawhorn and Hess lost a nail-biting match against Western Hills, 4-6, 6-6 (tiebreaker: 7-4), 2-5, playing a difficult opposing team. Harmon and Wingham meanwhile scored 0-6, 3-6. Moore lost her match as well, 2-6, 6-6 (tiebreaker: 5-7). Vest, meanwhile, scored 3-6, 1-6.
Achieving mixed success among its athletes, the girls’ team is continuing to work harder than ever before. Junior Kalee Cook is another varsity singles player; while scoring several wins this season, she lost to Western Hills by 2-6, 6-2, 3-6.
“This year is my first without Kasi [Kasi Fogle, a 2011 TCHS graduate] and she’s always been a big influence on how I play. It’s been really hard to cope with the transition.” According to Cook, the girls are “like a family, and we work well together. There are a few simple mistakes that we consistently make, and we’ll be focusing on those the next couple of practices. Hopefully, we can then see a winning streak.”
Both Cutshaw and longtime girls coach Vanita Fogle have high hopes for the Raiders this year. “Bursts of talent” are seen in every match, and while the final scores may not always reflect the effort, the Raider tennis players are dedicated to making this season a memorable one.