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State champ joins exodus to E&H

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By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

Good things seem to happen when Matt Nelson steps on a tennis court. Though success is yet to be earned at the collegiate level, one good thing is already a given –– he won’t have trouble finding a ride home on weekends. Nelson, a senior and the Maroon Tide’s No. 1 singles player, became the fourth Galax athlete in the span of two weeks to pick Emory and Henry College as his home for the next four years, committing to play for the Wasps in a ceremony last week at Galax High School. Joining Jamie Cockerham (volleyball), Cameron Frazier (basketball) and Tyler Houk (football) at Emory, Nelson will join a Wasps squad that should only get better in the next few years. With four matches and the Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament to go, Emory and Henry is 6-8 entering Monday’s non-conference meeting with UVa-Wise, that with just two seniors on the roster. The addition of Nelson can only help matters for 12-year veteran coach Jim Barker. On course to graduate with honors academically this spring, he will do so with plenty of honors athletically. Nelson will most likely finish his career with eight Mountain Empire District championships, having won the MED singles and doubles titles each of the last three years. He was the Region C runner-up in singles as a sophomore and a junior, was part of a Region C doubles championship in both 2006 and 2008 and won the region and state in doubles last spring with G Zachary. Nelson has also won numerous USTA tournaments, including gold medals at the Commonwealth Games of Virginia each of the past four years, after winning silver in 2004. He was also an all-Timesland second-team pick each of the last three years.