The Grantsville girls tennis team disregarded the Salt Lake City newspapers’ predictions about who would win Region 13 and outscored Judge Memorial by 2 points and Waterford by 5, taking first place Friday.
The newspapers had predicted other squads would reign as region champs. Grantsville wasn’t “in the picture,” GHS coach Stephen Thurgood said.
Thurgood said he figured, “I’d rather not be on the front page. If you’re not on the front page, it goes much better.”
Of the region win after playing both Thursday and Friday, he added, “Yeah, we won, but it wasn’t easy.”
For the Cowboys, Marissa Linares and Maci Jackson placed first at No. 2 and 3 singles and Paige Peterson and Lexi Colson placed first in No. 1 doubles, with sisters Brooklyn and Brynlee Butler taking second in No. 2 doubles.
Additionally, Kayla Johnson took fifth place at No. 1 singles. She came back from a loss in her first match against Judge Memorial and won her next two.
“If you really look at it, if Kayla’s not there and everybody moves up one, we don’t win any points. So, she didn’t win any points, but in a way she did,” Thurgood said,
Regarding Linares’ final region match, Thurgood said, “She beat the Waterford girl for the second time. This time it was 6-4, 6-3. Marissa was ahead the whole time, she never got behind. It just went back and forth and back and forth, right to the very end.”
Of her final match against Waterford’s Tanisha Martheswaran, Linares said, “She’s really fun to play with. So, we had some really long points.”
Linares said she could tell Martheswaran was playing to her backhand, trying to attack what she might have thought was Linares’ weakness.
“I felt pretty confident going into it, because I hadn’t lost in region so far. I’m sure she and her coach had been strategizing about how to play,” Linares said. “ … there were some deuces that were a little close, but it was good.”
Linares said she suspects she will meet Martheswaran again at state this week.
In Jackson’s final round against Amy Robinson from Judge Memorial, she found herself down 5-1 in the first set. She came back to beat Robinson 7-5 in that set and then capped it off with a 6-1 trouncing. Her previous matchup with Robinson in region play was just like that championship match.
In the prior match, she also came back from a 5-1 set to win 7-5, but with the second set, it was a bit closer at 6-3.
At region she said, “I got down in the finals 2-5 and I just kept telling myself ‘It’s not over ‘til it’s over.’ And to ‘just keep playing my game and hit the ball.’”
When asked how much pressure she was feeling in the region tournament, Linares said, “I felt more pressure than normal, but, I knew it wasn’t a huge deal if I didn’t win.”
Referring to her comeback twice against Robinson, Jackson said, “All I could think was ‘Wow!’ because I did that twice — I got down. The first time it was 1-5, instead of 2-5, and both times I came back and won 7-5. So, I was just amazed at myself at how I could do that twice in a row with the same girl.”
Of state, she said, “I think I have a good chance. But, I can’t go in thinking that I’m going to win or thinking that I’m going to lose. I just have to go in and play my game.”
First doubles had a bye for their first match, and then lost their next match to Morgan 6-1, 6-0. Then, after losing the first set 1-6 to Judge Memorial’s Anna Drossos and Olivia Anderson, they came back to win the next two 6-3, 7-5.
All three of the top-placing GHS girls “had to win in order for us to take first place,” Linares said. “Had we lost one of those to Judge, Judge would have had 14 points; we would have had 14 points. We would have ended up in a tie. So, all three of them were important.”
At No. 2 doubles, the Butler sisters triumphed in their first match against Summit Academy, 6-3, 6-0. Then, they won Morgan in three sets. After a first set loss of 4-6, they followed up with 6-1, 6-3 wins and then they lost 3-6, 0-6 to Judge’s Ellie McCoy and Veronica Start.
There are a few kinks Thurgood would like to smooth out with the Butler sisters as they go into state playoffs. He would like to see them establish more consistency, he said.
Grantsville will go on to the state tournament on Thursday and Saturday at Salt Lake City’s Liberty Park.
Region 11 tournament
Stansbury and Tooele will both be well-represented at this weekend’s Class 4A state tournament at Liberty Park, with a large number of players earning the right to compete with solid performances at last week’s Region 11 tournament in Ogden.
Stansbury’s Victoria Fidler will enter the first singles bracket as the No. 2 seed from Region 11, and will face Dixie junior Angela Crooks, who finished third in Region 9, in the first round. She will be joined by Tooele junior Pia Lorbeer, who finished third in Region 11 and will face Region 9 runner-up Brielle Callahan of Pine View.
Stansbury senior Chanda Bigelow earned the No. 4 seed from Region 11 in third singles, and will face Region 12 champion Lucy Lyons of Ridgeline in the first round.
Stansbury’s Maddie Johansen and Hannah Anderson earned second place in first doubles, and drew Snow Canyon’s Charlotte Apple and Addie Southam in the first round. On the other side of the bracket, Tooele’s McKenna Baker and Kammy Hamilton finished fourth in Region 11 and will face Region 9 champs Erica Evans and Abbie Carmack of Desert Hills.
In second doubles, Stansbury’s Mia Thurber and Kenzi Knudsen earned the No. 2 seed and will face Spanish Fork’s Erica Allen and Tessa Clayson in the first round.
The Class 4A tournament begins Friday and concludes Saturday.