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Corbin shooting for state title in tennis


 

When last season ended the Corbin Redhounds tennis team had finished as state runners-up in the team competition under the new KHSAA set-up. Corbin defeated 14th region representative Estill County, 3-0 in the first-round then rolled past Russell of the 16th Region before taking a 3-1 decision from Richmond Model to advance to the state championship against Louisville St. Xavier. The Tigers shut out the Redhounds, 3-0 to win the first state team title.

However, the two top singles’ players in the region graduated, Brody Freeman and Taylor Jones and long-time coach Curt Hart retired from the program.

Former player Nickie Dixon, daughter of Coach Hart, has taken over the reigns and is looking forward to the 2012 season.

“We will have a young team. My oldest is a junior, but they’re strong,” Dixon said. “I will be strong one through six. This is a very competitive team and they are eager and that is always good. I am looking for big things from this team.”

“Everybody is returning except the top two from last year,” Dixon said. “Seth Heinss and Avery Warf won the regional doubles last year. I am really expecting junior Josh Jewell to step up because he is the eldest on the team with experience. We have a senior on the team, but he is a new player. Josh has the most experience out of everybody.”

“I am expecting Josh and Seth to be the leaders on the team,” Dixon said.

“Anthony Warf and the Reedy’s, William and Harrison will be back,” she said. “Some players on the team that have not played in the regional should step up and help us a lot. I am looking for big things out of Shoven Dixit. He has really played hard over the summer and I am expecting him to be a big part of this team.”

After a two-year stint at Whitley County, Dixon said she was glad to be back home. “This is where I played. I have huge shoes to fill obviously, with my father coaching before me. This is where I wanted to be. I’m very excited to get the season started,” she said.

“This should be a great team and a very good group of kids to coach,” Dixon said.

Dixon said they have put together another challenging schedule for the Redhounds and will start with Lexington Christian March 12th, one of the top teams in the 11th region. “That is always a tough place to play,” Dixon said.

“We start the season earlier this year, but I think we will have a lot more matches packed into a short amount of time because of the weather,” Dixon said. At times they are going to be tired. They will play three matches a week on most occasions so we have to make sure we are in shape.”

“We have been outside since early February hitting the ball,” she said. “With this weather it has been great. They have really been working hard.”

“We will play Richmond Model, who they beat in the second-round of the state last year. They are going to be real tough. We will also play Henry Clay during the middle of the season and will travel to Louisville and play Eastern and Ballard. We have a lot of weekend travel ahead of us,” Dixon said.

In the region, Dixon feels like North Laurel will give the Redhounds a run. “They have the majority of their players returning and they are usually strong in doubles,” she said. “Whitley County has a strong player in Danny Butcher and I am looking for him to play singles and be one of the top players,” Dixon said.

“They can repeat as region champions and go a long way in the state tournament, they just have to believe in themselves,” Dixon said. “Confidence is going to be the one thing that we will work on starting from day one.”

“They are young, but they have to believe that they can do it,” Dixon said. “They are eager and work very hard.
Chandler and Conner Maguet have joined the team and are expected to fight for a starting spot on the team. “They have already picked it up and are right there and look like they have been playing for years,” she said.

“It is going to be hard picking who to play where because my whole team, 1-10, can play. They are all tough. I can match them up any way and they will play you tough,” she added.

Dixon wanted to thank assistant coach Mike Cook for all the help he has brought to her team. “He helped coach when I was playing so he brings a lot of experience to the team,” Dixon said. “He is going to help our team a lot and the boys are comfortable with him. It helps a lot to have that type experience.”

 

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