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Wildcats’ winning streak reaches five ahead of Big 8 meet, districts

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Logan-Rogersville boys tennis survived the rain and a few late singles wins by Mt. Vernon players, besting the Mountaineers at home Monday, 5-4.

Sophomore Jeremiah Todd secured the win with his singles victory to close the action on the evening.

While the absence of a singles player due to illness shifted some partnerships in doubles, the Wildcats still took care of business. Among the singles winners were No. 1 Jacob Zimmerman and Kyle Slatton.

Of his 8-1 victory, Zimmerman said, “I made a few stupid shots, probably could have won that point, but overall it was good.”

Beginning with a 6-3 victory at Aurora on April 22, the Wildcats have reeled off five wins in a row now. Victories in between that one and Mt. Vernon included one at Reeds Spring (7-2) and another two at home against Liberty Mountain View (7-2) and Nevada (7-2).

Lukas Hopkins is the rare senior on the team –– he quipped about getting his start playing with his dad, who would consistently get the better of him –– and elsewhere, it’s youth and inexperience magnified by the spring lost to COVID-19 in 2020.

“I think the difference between our teams and maybe some of the others, if they have juniors or seniors on their team, those kids played when they were freshman and sophomores,” said L-R head coach Sara Worsham, who has been around the sport for a long time at the school but recently returned to coach the boys program after nearly a decade. “Our kids, the one senior we had didn’t play before last year anyway, and the rest of our sophomores didn’t get their freshman season. We’re literally brand new, every single player.”

“The girls didn’t lose a season. They got to keep moving. My girls’ team is a tight-knit group with serious goals, knew what they were expecting and were prepared. These guys didn’t have a chance...they’ll know next year because they’ve experienced it. They’re starting to pick up on it. They’re good kids and really understand the team concept and winning a match as a team, not being an individual player.”

Zimmerman talked about playing since a young age with his cousin and fellow sophomore Lucas Wilhoit. Of the competition between the two, he said, “It’s pretty intense. I’m No. 1 and I’m happy about that, but it’s hard to stay above him. Some days he beats me and others I beat him.”

Worsham wouldn't make any predictions on whether the Wildcats could secure a first district title since 2014 –– the Big 8 Tournament looms first Wednesday –– but believes that some L-R players will advance.

“Willow Springs has a good team; we haven’t played Mountain Grove,” said Worsham, the latter representing the team’s first opponent on May 10. “I would expect, if we’re playing tennis like we know how to play, us to have individuals or doubles teams make it out of the tournament.”

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