Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

October 12, 2022
Serving it up Cowboys-style

During the second week of the 2022 3A Girls Tennis Championships held on Sept. 24, three members of Grantsville’s girls tennis team had the chance to bring home titles in two brackets.

For seniors Addy Butler and Madison Bolinder, a finals matchup against a Morgan High doubles team provided the pair a chance to win state for the second year in a row.

“It had a similar vibe [this year], but we were not at 100%,” Butler said. “But it was different knowing that it was our senior season [and] knowing that we weren’t going to be able to play next year.”

Butler added that the pair’s game plan was to fight through their respective injuries and give it their all.

“We put it all on the court and I think we did a really good job,” she said. “Knowing it was our last tournament we just knew we had to do our very best.”

And while Butler and Bolinder fell just short and lost the match to Morgan in the finals match, neither player let the loss put a damper on their time playing tennis for Grantsville High.

“I would definitely consider [the season] a success,” Butler said. “Winning is important, but it’s about the friendships and the memories.”

Bolinder echoed her partner’s sentiments, adding that her effort given playing the sport of tennis carried over to her life outside of school and sports.

“I just really gave everything my all, not only on the tennis court, but in the classroom and in life,” she said.

Bolinder plans to apply those life lessons to her future endeavors after graduating from high school and attending college. And while she has not committed to a school, she does intend to continue her studies in the state of Utah.

Having played on the same team with Butler for all four years at Grantsville High, Bolinder appreciates the bond the two created.

“Addy was a great partner and, [ever] since we took state my junior year, we’ve grown together,” Bolinder said. “We worked hard together and fulfilled our dreams.”

Likewise, Butler cherished her time with Bolinder and the rest of her team and has aspirations after she graduates. And having learned the value of dedication and perseverance while playing tennis, she looks to continue that competitive spirit.

“Tennis is one of those sports where you ‘never say die’ — there’s always a chance you can come back and still win,” she said. “There are so many things that when you get down, you can always come back.”

After graduating in the spring, Butler said she will be pursuing a softball career in college and is planning to reach out to coaches at Southern Utah University and out-of-state schools. She won’t be putting down her tennis racket though, as she has a desire to play on a more recreational level.

Afton Orgill takes state title in her first tournament singles match

Sophomore Afton Orgill’s opportunity at a state title came during the 2nd singles tournament, where she advanced to the finals and faced another Morgan High opponent.

As a freshman during last year’s state tournament, as a partner with Lauren Holt, Orgill made it to the finals against Morgan but fell after two close sets. Having a shot at redemption in a new category facing the same school, she put it all on the line all season long.

“It means a lot, our team worked really hard for this and they helped me to be able to [succeed],” she said.

Helping her team go 12-3 during the season, Orgill lost only two matches in her category all year. Regular season record aside, the prospect of taking a state title was the culmination of the effort Orgill and her team put into excelling on the tennis court.

“We were excited to get to play [in the tournament], ” she said. “The teammates have been great.”

Orgill was especially motivated by the older players, who took her under their wing and helped prepare her for the tournament. The preparation paid off, as she defeated her opponent in two sets by the scores of 6-2 and 6-3, respectively.

“They helped me feel at home and feel welcomed within the team,” she said. “I’m really grateful for them and they also helped me have a really good season this year.”

Looking ahead to her sophomore year, Orgill hopes to help her team continue their winning ways and overcome the eventual loss of several seniors.

“My goal is to work super hard in the offseason so we can come back next season and put up a good fight,” she said. “Even though we are losing a ton of good players, it will be important that we can stay at the same level.”

It starts at the top

All three girls owe a great deal of their success to one person; head coach Stephen Thurgood.

Having finished his final year as coach to the Grantsville girls tennis team, Thurgood’s influence is evident on the court and in the work ethic of each of his players. Not only do the three say he has been influential in their success as players, but he is also someone who connected with them on a personal and emotional level.

“Coach Thurgood is one of my favorite coaches, because he always had something positive to tell you in between matches,” Butler said. “He made you feel like you were a person and not just a player.”

Bolinder valued the constant encouragement and drive that the coaches — especially Thurgood — would instill upon the team.

“They make you feel loved in and out of the court,” she said. “They push you to do your best no matter what [and] even if you lose they still love you.”

As the younger player, who didn’t have as much time spent under Thurgood’s guidance, Orgill still felt his influence in spades.

“I’m really grateful to him and I’m grateful he stayed to help us out,” she said. “He’s helped us all so much.”

Speaking of his players as a proud parent would, Thurgood acknowledged the team’s dedication and growth.

The girls worked hard, they came to practice and took it seriously, Thurgood said. “They love to be together — they had each other’s backs.”

“When you’ve got kids like that the coach has nothing to do with it, and that’s what was good about [this team], ” he said. “They are great kids.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>