Persistence and superb placement of shots paid off for two young Grantsville High School tennis players Saturday at Liberty Park.
Sophomore Becca Toone and freshman Bailee Sandberg won the 3A state championship at second doubles in a tight match over Juan Diego’s Caitlin Keenan and Mikela Baird 6-4, 7-6 (9-7).
The Grantsville tandem even fought through set-point for Juan Diego in the tiebreaker to avoid having to play a third set in the final match.
“I really wasn’t all that nervous. I was just pumped and excited and ready to go once we reached the finals,” Toone said. “We’ve been playing all year together as doubles partners, and we’re close friends off the court.”
The second doubles team racked up the maximum of six team points for the Cowboys. Third singles player Maddie Linares chalked up two team points by reaching the semifinals. Second singles Courtney James nabbed a point with a victory in the first round.
Grantsville’s team total of nine points was good enough for a fourth-place finish in the standings.
Park City finished first with 20 points, followed by Pine View 14 and Desert Hills 12 to round out the top three. Snow Canyon finished fifth with six points, while Juan Diego and Payson tied for sixth-seventh with five points apiece.
“I thought it was amazing for a freshman and sophomore to win a state championship,” said Grantsville coach Stephen Thurgood. “They were able to make the competition play to their style of tennis. They don’t hit the ball real hard, but they hit it right where they want to hit it and away from the player at the net.”
The second doubles duo started slowly in the their first match, but held on to win the opening set of the tourney 7-5 against a pair from Snow Canyon. After the sluggish start, they hit stride in the second set to the first match 7-5, 6-0.
The second round was a bit more difficult against the second-place team from Region 9 Dixie. Grantsville won its second match 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.
On Saturday the team was ready to roll from the start. They blasted a pair of seniors from Hurricane in the semifinal match 6-1, 6-0 to give them confidence heading into the final match.
Linares won 6-0, 6-2 in her first match against Union, and then 6-3, 6-4 in her second match against Payson. She lost 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinal match to Jessica Santos of Park City who ended up winning the state championship.
Courtney James won her opening match at second singles 6-1, 6-1 over Shayde Williams of Hurricane. She lost in the second round to Snow Canyon’s Bergen Nelson 6-4, 6-1. Nelson finished second at second singles and lost in three-set battle for the championship to Park City.
Grantsville’s top singles player Jennifer Christensen lost in the opening round to Maddie Barton of Desert Hills 6-2, 7-5. Lacy Hancock of Pine View did not lose a game in the tournament en route to winning the first singles title.
Grantsville’s first doubles team of Morgan Matthews and Whitney Castagno lost in the first round 7-5, 6-2 to Pine View’s Keri Jeppson and Shaylynn Riddle 7-5, 6-2.
Stansbury picked up two team points at the state tourney with a win at first doubles and a win at second doubles.
At first doubles, Kallie Stewart and Molly Johnson defeated Snow Canyon in the first round 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 and lost to Park City in the second round 6-2, 6-3.
At second doubles, Rachel Rogers and Shelbie Warr defeated Richfield 7-6, 6-5 in the first round. They lost to Keenan and Baird in the second round 6-1, 6-0.
Stansbury’s first singles player Abby Nordgren lost in the opening round to Dixie 6-1, 6-0. Second singles Sydney Squires lost to Payson in the first round 0-6, 6-4, 6-4. Third singles Clara Heder lost to state champion Santos of Park City in the first round 6-1, 6-2.
Two doubles teams competed at state from Tooele. First doubles duo Makenna Bergen and Simone Thompson lost in the first round to the state championship duo from Desert Hills 6-0, 6-2. Second doubles Kelsie Jackson and Abrey VanDerwerkin lost in the first round to Payson 4-6, 7-6, 6-4.