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Purple Tigers take first-ever regular-season district title

Staff Reports • Apr 11, 2018 at 4:48 PM

WOODBURY — Watertown’s boys clinched their first-ever district championship Tuesday with a 5-2 win at Cannon County.

The Purple Tigers, who began playing tennis when the new campus opened in 2014-15, will play host to Livingston Academy on Thursday and close District 8-Small play Friday at home against Van Buren County. The district tournament will serve off April 30 at Tennessee Tech.

Brian Putnam doubled up Luke Jakes 8-4, Daylin Hunt beat Brandon Miles 89-1 and Preston Tomlinson topped Marcus Gannon 8-3.

In doubles, Putnam and Tomlinson beat Jakes and Miles 8-3 while Hunt and Michael Watson needed an 8-6 tiebreaker to edge Brady Cunningham and Lane Willis 9-8.

Cannon County winners were Cunningham over Watson 8-3 and Willis over Dyllan Abrams 9-8 (7-5 in the tiebreaker).

Wilson Central sweeps Station Camp

HENDERSONVILLE – The Wilson Central tennis team looked to continue its recent success on Tuesday as the Wildcats hit the road for a District 9-Large Division matchup against Station Camp.

The recent good fortunes for Wilson Central continued as the boys squad reeled in a 5-2 win and the girls’ shutout the Lady Bison by a 7-0 margin.

Wilson Central (5-1 in District 9-Large Division, 6-3 overall) had little trouble in handling the Lady Bison as the Lady Wildcats picked up its fifth win in the last six contests.

The Wildcats fought off a determined Station Camp squad to earn its third-straight win, and fourth over the past six matches.

Wilson Central (4-2, 4-5) dropped a decision at number two doubles to start the day, but battled back to slip past the Bison.

“It’s great to be on a team that is so excited to play, and have so much fun doing it,” Wilson Central junior Michael Mercante said.

“We’ve all worked hard, and the team has really gelled together through the work and through being good teammates.”

Station Camp jumped on top first at number two doubles where Wilson Central freshmen Caleb Brown and Tobey Simpson dropped an 8-0 decision to Alex Gad and Nick Parente to go down 1-0.

Wilson Central quickly even the scored at one with senior Andrew Denning and Mercante having a tough battle at number one doubles before finally closing out Mason Hall and Lance Watson 8-5.

Braden Hammer put Wilson Central on top 2-1 as the senior rolled at number three singles with a 6-1, 6-0 outcome over Gad.

Brown added another point as he downed Zach Edwards 6-1, 6-0 at number five singles.

Denning clinched the match at number two singles with his 6-3, 6-2 win over Hall.

From there, Wilson Central had trouble with the Bison as freshman AJ Hughes lost a close first set to Parente before falling 6-4, 6-2 at number four singles.

At number one singles the best match of the day occurred where Mercante faced off against Watson.

Watson held a 3-1 lead early in the first set, but Mercante battled back and after trailing 4-5, won the final three games of the set to take the early advantage with a 7-5 first-set win.

Watson was undeterred in the second set, rattling off the first three games for a 3-0 lead.

Mercante battled to even the score at 5-all, but lost the last two games which sent the match into a 10-point tiebreaker for the third set.

Mercante jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but Watson quickly rebounded as he held a 6-4 lead midway through the breaker.

Mercante, however, proved strong by winning six of the last eight points to close out the tiebreaker and get the win.

“I think my experience helped me through a lot during the tiebreaker,” Mercante said.

“I’ve played so many tiebreakers for a final set that I’m used to the pressure, and I think that was the big difference between him and me was knowing how to manage the tiebreaker.”

The Lady Wildcats got off and running early as junior Sydney Miller and freshman Ashlynn Staggs swept past Meredith Ashley and Madison Howe 8-0 at number two doubles.

Juniors Jacey Staggs and Savannah Westbrook followed suit with an 8-1 victory over Kiley Duncan and Brianna Tomlinson.

“I think it’s a combination of both experience and the confidence that we’re building as a team,” Jacey Staggs said of her team’s recent success.

“It’s the best feeling in the world to go out on court and feel like you are totally confident.

Miller was the first off the court in singles as she carried a 6-0, 6-0 win over Howe at number three singles.

Shortly thereafter, Ashlynn Staggs clinched the win for Wilson Central as she defeated Peyton Strickland 6-0, 6-2.

“The past couple of wins we’ve pulled off has been a big confidence boost and it has us confident towards the rest of the season,” Jacey Staggs said.

“We feel a lot more prepared on and off the court when we get ready for a match and that helps us.”

Jacey Staggs finished off her match at number one singles with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Tomlinson.

Westbrook closed out Ashley at number two doubles by a 6-1, 6-0 margin, and junior Abby Moser gave her team its final point with an 8-0 win over Duncan at number four singles.

“We’re definitely playing better than what we were, but we always have room for improvement,” Wilson Central coach Ryan Jent said of both boys’ and girls’ teams.

“That’s the promising thing about us is that we’ve improved a lot since the start of the season, but I think we still have much more upward potential.”

Kaylee Wilson, Makayla Posey, Hannah Spoon, Makena Lantz, Kiersten Moss, Kayleigh McGee and Cara Proctor all picked up exhibition wins for the Lady Wildcats.

Wilson Central will travel to Hendersonville on Thursday to take on Greenbrier before playing host to Beech on Friday. Matches are set for 4:00 p.m.

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