The Richfield High School girls’ tennis team scored the 2A Southern region trophy at a tournament hosted on their home courts Friday.
The Lady Wildcats had three region champions, and advanced all of their varsity players into the 2A state tournament, which is scheduled to take place Saturday at the Liberty Park tennis courts in Salt Lake City.
As a team, Richfield scored 16 points to take home the region title. San Juan took second place with 14 points, followed by Grand in third with 13 points. South Sevier and Emery tied for fourth place, each picking up three team points.
“I knew we were going to have to play well going into the tournament, especially with San Juan,” said Scott Saunders, who took over as coach of Richfield’s tennis program this year. “It was my first year to do this, so it was exciting to see these girls progress and to come away with that championship — our girls really stepped up and had their best day when it counted.”
Taking first place individual finishes for Richfield were Janell Starr in second singles, Whitley Morgan at third singles and the first doubles duo of Kambry Jensen and Emmie Thompson. Breena Magleby and Courtney Cowles took second place in the second doubles bracket, while Madison Utley squeaked into the state tournament with a fourth place win in first singles action.
Now the Lady ’Cats will have to take on tough schools such as Rowland Hall and Waterford, who are steeped in state championship tradition when it comes to tennis.
“It’s always tough to play those private schools, so this was good for our girls to score good seats going in,” Saunders said. “I’m optimistic, but I know it’s going to be difficult. I think we’ve got a shot at surprising some schools though.”
South Sevier’s Lluvia Quintana finished in third place in first singles, and McKenzie Christensen was able to finish in fourth place at second doubles to advance for the Lady Rams.
Richfield’s Starr earned her region title by defeating Parowan in straight 6-0 sets, then beating South Sevier’s Christensen 6-0, 6-2 in the semifinals and finishing with a 6-4, 6-3 win over San Juan in the championship match. Christensen was upset by Grand in the third place match, but was redeemed and earned a trip to state by beating consolation champion Emery in an 8-6 pro set.
Morgan advanced on to the championship match in the third singles bracket by defeating Parowan and Grand in tough three-set matches, but was able to score the title over San Juan in a 6-3, 6-2 showdown.
Jensen and Thompson also met and beat a Parowan team in the first round, and came out on top of a three-set battle with San Juan to face Grand in the finals, where they came out on top. At second doubles, Cowles and Magleby started out by also beating Parowan, and then beat Grand to face San Juan in the finals, where they were defeated 6-2, 7-5.
Utley earned a first round win over Millard 6-1, 6-0 to advance to play San Juan’s Lexus Latham in the semifinals, where she was defeated. She then faced South Sevier’s Quintana, who beat Parowan in the opening round and lost to Grand’s Brianna Ballard in the semifinals.
Quintana was able to defeat Utley in a close 7-5, 1-6, 6-2 match to finish in third place. Utley then had to defeat Parowan’s first singles, who took the consolation bracket to score the final spot in the state tournament. She came out victorious in an 8-6 pro set conclusion.
For the Lady Rams, third singles Kelbi Curtis just missed qualifying for state after she was defeated by Parowan in the fourth place match. The first doubles team of Amanda Rowberry and Melissa Aston were also edged out in the fourth place match, losing to San Juan.
At second doubles, Karlee Southwick and McKinna Coombs suffered a similar fate, coming back from an opening round loss to take the consolation bracket and advance to the fourth place match. There they were upset in their comeback bid for a tourney berth by Emery in an 8-4 pro set.