Clarke, Nguyen captivate



ASHLAND Parker Clarke and Chandler Nguyen brought a postseason feel to the Pre-Region high school tennis tournament on Thursday.

Warmer temperatures helped, too.

“I thought that both guys played really hard,” said Ashland longtime coach Eddie Sizemore. “They’re going to see each other again. I was happy Parker won. We’ll take it, look at it and move on. We’re just trying to get ready for May.”

Clarke, a sophomore, survived Nguyen in a match decided by a third-set tiebreaker, 7-6 (9-7), 2-6, 10-2.

Clarke took the boys singles title at the Ashland Tennis Center.

Ashland doubles partners Layne Meek and Will Frye toppled Russell’s Wes Patterson and Michael Eastham, 6-1, 6-3.

“They played well together this past weekend in Louisville as well,” Sizemore said. “They’re a No. 1 doubles team. We’re trying to get ready to make a deep run at the state tournament.”

Meek is a junior, Frye a senior.

Greenup County’s Madison Hill defeated Ashland’s Emma Hill, 6-2, 6-0, for the girls singles crown.

Maci Ferguson and Mia Ferguson teamed up to beat Claudia Kendrick and Ashley Nguyen, 6-1, 6-1, in an all-Russell doubles final.

Maci, a junior, spent the last six seasons playing alongside Kierstin Hensley, who is now at West Virginia State. Hensley and Maci Ferguson racked up two state doubles championships (2014, 2016).

Eighth-grader Mia has been patiently waiting her turn to join Big Sister.

“Mia actually rolled her ankle in a tournament on Saturday at (Portsmouth) Notre Dame,” said Larra Ferguson, Russell’s coach and Maci and Mia’s mother. “She was questionable. We treated it, iced it, and she was just really looking forward to playing with Maci. It worked out well that we went ahead and played her.”

The Fergusons comprised one of six sets of siblings in the tournament, including Makenzie and Maria Hayes (East Carter), Baesha and Taelyn Johnson (Lewis County), Makenlee and Delaney Sparks (Rose Hill), Josh and Caleb Kiser (Rose Hill) and Brett and Andrew Woods (Rose Hill).

“It was definitely the year for the siblings doubles team,” said Ferguson, the coach.

The tournament lasted three days. Three rounds of matches took place over about six hours on Tuesday.

For the first time in his 16 seasons, Sizemore’s bunch didn’t have to encounter a Tracy Edwards-led team. The coach of nearly three decades concluded his days of guiding the Red Devils following last season. Evan White is the current coach.

“I miss Tracy Edwards,” Sizemore said. “I never thought I would say that! He and I went head to head for 16 years.”

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