WXHS girls tennis is best in stateOct 14, 2021 10:04AM ● By Tom Haraldsen
Emmy Richards, left, and Sage Bergeson, both freshmen, won individual state titles at the 5A State Tennis Championships that concluded on Saturday.
For the first time in its history, the Woods Cross High girls tennis team won the 5A state title, sharing the honor with co-champion Highland after the two-day tournament at Liberty Park Oct. 7 and 9. The Wildcats, who won their fifth consecutive Region 5 championship, were led by freshman cousins Sage Bergeson and Emmy Richards who won titles at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively.
“I’m thrilled, of course!” said head coach Molly Richards. “The first state tennis championship in Woods Cross history is a big deal and I couldn’t be more happy for them. The very first week of the season, I sat down with the girls and asked them to extend their goals this season to include not only a region championship but also a state title,” Coach Richards said. “I knew they had the talent to do it, but there was a lot of hard work – and a few unforeseen challenges, as always – to overcome to get there.”
Bergeson, playing at No. 1 singles, defeated Stansbury’s Anna Jones 6-0, 6-0 in the first round before beating Olympus’ Elisabeth Carter 6-4, 6-4 to reach the semifinal round where she defeated Timpview’s Sofie Thompson 6-0, 6-1. In the finals, the freshman defeated senior Dylan Lolofie, of Highland, 6-4, 6-4.
Emmy Richards, at No. 2 singles, defeated Spanish Fork’s Gaby Trejo 6-0, 6-0 and then Highland’s Gabrielle Dooling 6-2, 6-3 to reach the semis against Park City’s Olivia Tamina who she beat 6-2, 6-1. The freshman defeated Olympus’ Svannah Rosenhan, also a freshman, in the finals 7-6 (1), 6-4.
“It’s hard to speak about individual performances because each contribution mattered this weekend,” coach Richards said. “Of course, Sage and Emmy winning the singles titles was a huge boost. They both played two very, very talented opponents in the second round and again in the finals and they both played phenomenal tennis. They are young, but they certainly have the physical talent and mental toughness to battle bigger, stronger opponents and they demonstrated what they are capable of this weekend. So excited to have them in our singles lineup for the next three years.”
Rachel Preston lost to eventual semifinalist Emilee Nicholls of Salem Hills at No. 3 singles 7-5, 6-4 in the first round.
Elena Smart/Peyton Kossin defeated Brighton’s Nicole Devashrayee/Kalli Olsen 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 in the first round at No. 1 doubles before beating Springville’s Maizie Thompson/Cheyenne Skinner 6-1, 6-2 to reach the semifinal round against Alta’s Grace Anthony/Brooklyn Dowdell who they defeated 6-3, 7-6 (3). In the finals against Timpview’s Emma Wilkinson/Kylie Woods, the senior duo, lost in a tough three-setter 6-4 4-6, 7-6 (6).
“Not enough can be said of Elena and Peyton, who was coming off an injury that sidelined her for nearly the entire season,” coach Richards said. “They rose to the occasion as a newly formed doubles team to advance to the finals against Timpveiw where they lost a heartbreaker in a third set tiebreaker. It doesn’t get any closer than that. But, the points they earned by advancing to that final match were critical to clinching the state title.”
At No. 2 doubles, Bella Adams/Abby Stratford defeated Maple Mountain’s Laura Hammer 7-5, 6-4 in the first round before losing to the eventual semi-finalist team of Springville’s Calianna Skinner/Elizabeth Francom 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) in a “tough loss” in the quarterfinals.
“They should have and could have won that match, but their first round win was huge for us,” coach Richards said. “They had a great season and are talented girls who are a delight to coach.”
“I am so proud of the girls for the way they all worked and improved as individuals, but also how they fully embraced the concept of team and were always willing to put individual preferences and aspirations behind the common goals of the team,” coach Richards said. “Their ability and willingness to play when and where I needed them and adjust to some last minute adjustments to our doubles lineups made the difference for us at the state tournament. It is just a phenomenal group of girls with amazingly supportive parents. You can’t ask for much more than that as a coach.”
The Wildcats will lose five seniors from their team, but coach Richards is confident that her program’s depth and talent will keep Woods Cross competitive for several years to come.
Viewmont’s Brooke Maxwell lost to Lehi’s Caroline Moon in the first round 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-1 at No. 1 singles. Emmie Bowen lost to Timpview’s Anna Stewart in the first round 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 at No. 2 singles. Anna Fillmore, at No. 3 singles, lost to eventual semi-finalist Alta’s Racquel Passey 6-4, 6-0 in the first round.
“Brooke showed a lot of grit and mental toughness in staying with her opponent,” said head coach Scott Judy. “Emmie had the match of the season for our team. She held her own against a girl from a top team in Region 8. Anna got to dip her toe in the state experience and see what it’ll take to get back and move forward.”
In doubles play, Bella Uffens/Laney Keller lost to eventual semifinalist Park City’s Mayne Hansen/Aly Inglish 6-1, 6-1 in the first round at No. 2 doubles.
“Bella and Laney shook off some early nerves and improved their play throughout the match,” Judy said. “I’m really proud of my team. Although the results at state aren’t what we hoped for, we built a foundation for the next few years. I love this team; these girls made coaching fun for me again. I’m proud of what they have accomplished in the classroom. They’re great players on the court, but they’re better students and people.”
Sarah Olsen/Annie Black lost to eventual finalist Timpview’s Olive Esplin/Aubrey Page 6-1, 6-0 in the first round at No. 2 doubles.