Desert Hills girls dominate at Stephen Wade Invitational tennis tournament

Desert Hills junior Callie Kohler steps in and returns a backhand crosscourt during the Stephen Wade Invitational, St. George, Utah, August 2018 | Photo courtesy of Kristy Hess, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — When Desert Hills High School girls head tennis coach Dave Smith had to rest his top player, Morgan Behymer, and last year’s state champion doubles player, Lyndsi Graf, with minor injuries last weekend, opposing coaches at the Stephen Wade Invitational must have felt they had a shot at taking out one of the top teams in Utah.

Desert Hills players and coaches pose after winning Stephen Wade Invitational, St. George, Utah, August 2018 | Photo courtesy of David Smith, St. George News

Guess again.

Desert Hills moved up sophomore Mackenzie Telford to the number one singles spot, moved freshman Averee Beck from doubles to number two singles, and moved Juniors Callie Kohler and Anjolie Cummins from the top junior varsity spot to the number two doubles position.

The depth of the Lady Thunder tennis squad was ever so apparent Saturday when they captured four of the top five gold medals at the Stephen Wade Invitational held this past weekend at Tonaquint Tennis Center in St. George. Desert Hills placed players in every gold-medal match and ran away with the team championship, all without a single senior player.

“I’m extremely proud of every member of this team today,” Smith said of his Thunder squad. “Considering we were without two of our top players, it meant everyone had to move up not one but two spots this weekend.”

In fact, the smallest member of Desert Hills’ entire 45-player squad, Mackenzie Telford (all 85 pounds of her) only gave up just six total games in five matches at the top spot, competing against the best players of the tournament.

The Thunder won all three of their opening team matches 5-0 on Friday, defeating Sky View, Payson and Maple Mountain without dropping a set. Going into Saturday’s individual matches, Desert Hills dominated nearly every position.

Final rounds

Telford ruled at the number one single’s spot, defeating Green Canyon’s top player 8-1 and consolidated the win by defeating Salem Hill’s No. 1 player 8-3 in the final.

Faith Hess of Desert Hills serves during Stephen Wade Invitational, St. George, Utah, August 2018 | Photo courtesy of Kristy Hess, St. George News

At second singles, Beck plowed through Salem Hill’s No. 2 player 8-2 and then beat Green Canyon’s player 8-3 in her final.

In the closest singles final, Tia Turley extended her season-long win streak to 10 straight victories with a 9-7 win over Layton’s No. 3 player. Turley then reached the final with a solid 8-3 victory over local rival Dixie’s No. 3 player.

The Thunder’s top doubles team, juniors Faith Hess and Cassie Kohler, dominated Green Canyon in the semifinals 8-2 and topped that win with a resounding win over Salem Hills 8-1 in the gold medal match.

Juniors Callie Kohler and Anjolie Cummins won all three of their matches on Friday but came up short against Woods Cross in their semifinal, 6-8, and then lost a heartbreaker to Dixie’s No. 2 doubles team, 7-9.

The Thunder ran away with the team trophy, earning 8 points (lowest point total wins) to Salem Hills 17 points. Layton High was a close third with 18 points.

Other teams competing in the tournament were Snow Canyon, Dixie, Layton, Green Canyon, Maple Mountain, Spanish Fork, Salem Hills, Sky View, Payson, Woods Cross, and Cedar.

The next Stephen Wade Invitational – the second of two such tournaments in St. George – will be Sept. 7-8.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.



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1 Comment

  • uprightandmovingforward September 6, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Go DH!!!

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