Region 10 tennis teams hope for wins at UHSAA 4A state championship

Crimson Cliffs players and coaches with championship trophy, Utah state 4A high school tennis championships, Salt Lake City, Utah, Oct. 10, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Kristin Bullock, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — All seven Region 10 high school tennis teams will be represented Friday and Saturday at the Utah High School Activities Association 4A State Championship at the Liberty Park Tennis Courts in Salt Lake City.

Dixie tennis player Kylie Kezos is the top seeded first singles player at the 4A state championship this year, St. George, Utah, Sept. 25, 2021 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

Crimson Cliffs is the defending state champion after defeating Desert Hills last year for the title. After the Region 10 tournament last weekend, Crimson Cliffs coach Colin Brown said there is definitely a favorite this year at state.

“It’s Green Canyon. Green Canyon is the dominant player this year. They’re the ones we’re concerned about,” Brown said. “They’re very, very good. And they have a lot of depth.”

Brown said it will be a challenge for all the teams at state with a new format for the tournament. Quarterfinals and semifinals are played Friday with the finals for each group played on Saturday. 

“There’s only three matches instead of the typical four,” Brown said. “The point system is going to make it challenging for anyone, unless you just completely dominate everyone, because there’s fewer matches and you play the semis the first day.”

Desert Hills coach Afton Balderree, after the Thunder won the regional tournament, said she’s looking forward to state.

“Every match. It’s going to be so good,” Balderree said. “It’s a little bit different because we’re starting out straight at the quarterfinals. But these girls are ready.”

In first singles Friday, top seeded Kylie Kezos from Dixie will face Ridgeline’s Ellie Carlston. Averee Beck from Crimson Cliffs will play Erika Olsen from Bear River. Green Canyon’s Bailey Huebner will battle Pine View’s Ava Blake, and Malika Maxwell from Desert Hills will contend with Logan’s Angela Zhan.

Crimson Cliffs’ Cami Stanger is the top seeded second singles player at the 4A state championship, St. George, Utah, Sept. 25, 2021 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

Second singles quarterfinal matchups will start with top seeded Cami Stanger from Crimson Cliffs against Katiejo Litchford from Bear River.

Stanger talked about the Mustangs and defending their state title.

“I think we’re going to do really good,” she said. “We’ve been really successful this season, so hopefully we can just pound it out there and get it done.”

The rest of the quarterfinal matchups in second singles are: Kennedy Jenkins (Logan) vs. Isis Freiberg (Hurricane); Halle Kendrick (Green Canyon) vs. Anna Steele (Snow Canyon) and Kasia Wittwer (Desert Hills) vs. Emma Hansen (Ridgeline).

Third singles quarterfinal contests will find top seeded Brianna Hartman from Desert Hills against Romy Neiderhauser of Ridgeline.

Brianna Hartman from Desert Hills is the top seeded third singles player at the 4A state championship, St. George, Utah, Sept. 25, 2021 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

“I think going into state we’re going to be really confident,” Hartman said. “I know it’s going to be down to us, so we’ll see how it goes.”

The other third singles quarterfinal matches are: Kaitlyn Horsburgh (Ridgeline) versus McKenna Chandler (Snow Canyon); Emma Murri (Green Canyon) versus Meg Fraser (Dixie) and Mandy Beckstrand (Crimson Cliffs) versus Libber Parker (Logan).

First doubles quarterfinal matches feature top seeded Gabby Hafen and London Wunderli against Ridgelines duo of Alicia Smith and Luz Perez. Allie Payne and Kennadee Wallace from Sky View face Taya Torres and Josie Humes from Cedar.

Camille Van Gills and Claire Renouf from Snow Canyon play Green Canyon’s team of Alice Wilkinson and Olivia Phillips. The fourth match is Brooklyn Price and Megan Lewis from Desert Hills against Kate Hardy and Emma Child from Mountain Crest.

And finally, second doubles will feature top seeded Desert Hills tandem Taylee Anderson and Tessa Fielding against Staeli Ellis and Lizzy Spach from Logan in the first quarterfinal match.

“I think we’re all going to do really well. We’ve all prepared for this for a long time,” Fielding said.

The rest of the second doubles on Friday: Katelyn Simon, Kiersten Daines (Ridgeline) versus Katelyn Jennings, Isabella Fawson (Dixie); Maren McKenna, Ava Checketts (Green Canyon) versus Gracie Slater, Gracie Salley (Pine View) and Whitney Matheson, Bailey Speakman (Crimson Cliffs) versus Rachel Epling, Madison Mickelson (Bear River).

All of the brackets and winners of the matches at state can be followed at this website.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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