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Lady Ads tennis to state with upset of two-time defending champ KD-B

It was “breath-holdin” good for the Farragut High School girls tennis team Thursday. That’s how FHS head coach Betsy Sparks described the final critical points in the Class AAA State Tournament-clinching set of doubles tandem of Lauren Farlett and Chelsea Delay, as FHS knocked out the two-time defending state champ Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett in sectional play May 18.

As No. 1 doubles Farlett and Delay held off Ali Beavers and Taylor Hensley of KD-B for an 8-6 doubles win and 4-3 match victory.

Referring to a critical late point FHS received on a net court ball, “that was a key point, I think it was match point, so there was a lot of breath-holding going on,” said Sparks, whose 13-3 Lady Ads played Franklin Tuesday morning, May 23 (after press deadline), then hoped to meet the Houston-Walker Valley winner for the state title Tuesday evening.

“I don’t know that Farragut has ever had a whole team go to state in tennis, so this is pretty big.”

In her fourth season as tennis coach, Sparks added, “This is my best team. This is the most talented team. And the girls are in a lot better shape. We’ve done a lot more conditioning this year.

“What happened the past two years, when we go to play sectionals, the weather’s starting to heat up and the girls couldn’t handle the heat as well. ... We’ve made conditioning thirty to forty percent of practice.”

Farlett and Delay also provided two other FHS points, as each won her singles match.

Farlett, who also won the Region 2-AAA singles title and is competing individually at state, won at No. 1 singles, beating Beavers 6-1, 6-4. Delay, at No. 5, whipped Hensley, 6-2, 6-2.

“Chelsea really came through,” Sparks said. “She had lost to that girl the first time we played them [a 4-3 regular season team loss to KD-B].”

Lady Ad Sarah Godfrey won at No. 3 singles, beating Melissa Sneed 6-4, 6-1.


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