SALT LAKE CITY – Despite the efforts of Southern Utah’s girls, it was Judge Memorial Catholic High School that emerged victorious at the 3A State tennis tournament Friday and Saturday.
A private preparatory academy representing Region 10, Judge Memorial also took the title last year. Judge is viewed by some as an insurmountable opponent due to the fact that the school can enroll top players from anywhere, a freedom public schools do not have.
“Their girls are committed to tennis from top to bottom and expect to win,” Dixie coach Eric Christensen said. “Southern Utah teams need those same attributes to compete (with them.)”
Snow Canyon’s second singles player, Bergen Nelson, and third singles competitor, Emily Till, both reached the finals before falling to players from Judge Memorial. However, they did earn enough team points for the Warriors to tie Pine View for third place overall.
Dixie’s Cydnee Wilkinson finished her last year of high school play with a disappointing second-round loss. Dixie tied Desert Hills for eighth place, while Cedar and Hurricane slipped to 11th.
Though Region 9 teams did not reach the doubles finals, both were tense three-set matches with tiebreakers. Four different schools took the champion and runner-up spots.
No star shined brighter over the weekend than Pine View’s Lacey Hancock, who took the first singles title once again. She coasted through her matches, winning three 6-0, 6-0, and is now halfway to her goal of being only the second girl in Utah history to win State at first singles all four years of high school.
“There was more pressure this year. I’m glad I was able to show that I’m not a ‘one-hit wonder,’” she said. “All the late night and early morning practices and all the worries and tears finally paid off.”
Although most Southern Utah players went home empty-handed, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t leave their mark on the competition.
“We represented Region 9 amazingly this year,” Hancock said. “People will know now who we are and how good our tennis is here.”
Hancock also believes that knocking Judge Memorial off the throne is possible, but knows that it won’t happen easily.
“They are really confident. To beat them, we need to practice hard year-round, not just during the tennis season,” she said.
In summation of the season, Christensen said, “The desire is there; now they just need to spend time on the court working and working and working. Having four teams finish in the top eight (at State) proves that we are arguably the top tennis region in 3A.”
Champion: Lacey Hancock – Pine View
Runner-up: Whitney Weisberg – Judge Memorial
Champion: Emily Murnin – Judge Memorial
Runner-up: Bergen Nelson – Snow Canyon
Champion: Katie Iwasaki – Judge Memorial
Runner-up: Emily Till – Snow Canyon
Champion: Grace Claudius/Casandra Granhoej – Juan Diego
Runner-up: Marissa Christensen/Paige Beckstrom – Spanish Fork
Champion: McKenna Tychsen/Natalie Frost – Park City
Runner-up: Julie Steinmann/Heather Evans – Wasatch
Champion: Judge Memorial
Runner-up: Park City
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