PCHS boys’ tennis team finds silver lining
Jessica Watts had just one senior this year on the Park City boys’ tennis team that took second at the 3A state tournament over the weekend in Provo.
That senior, Jackson Engen, appropriately rode into the sunset with a state championship. He defeated John Barnett of Judge Memorial in No. 3 singles to complete his perfect season, 6-0, 6-1.
"Jackson went out on an awesome note," said Watts, the Miners’ head coach. "I’m just really proud of him. He had an undefeated season, 26 6-0 sets. He was literally taking out opponents. That says something for who he is."
Watts now has taken Park City to third- and second-place finishes at the state tournament in consecutive years. The Miners finished second this year behind state champion Desert Hills High School from St. George.
"Desert Hills just kind of blew everyone out," she said. "They had everyone through to the finals except their No. 3 singles guy."
Park City’s No. 1 singles man, sophomore Kevin Colopy, fell in a hard-fought match to the eventual state champ, senior Jordan Lyden of Desert Hills, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Watts said she thought the Colopy-Lyden semifinal matchup should have been the finals, and she was proud of how her youngster toughed it out against the top player in 3A.
"It was an extremely amazing match," she said. "It could have gone either way. That’s kind of how state played out (for us).
"I’m just really lucky I’m only losing one (player), and that one won."
No. 2 singles man Stefan Dancy was eliminated in the quarterfinals against eventual state champion John Nelson of Desert Hills, 6-0, 6-0.
Watts said her doubles teams were bounced a bit earlier than she expected, but said every doubles match she saw was impressive from every single team.
The No. 1 doubles duo of Matt Groy and Marco Testa were ousted in the second round against the tandem of Christian Wiscombe and Zane Ferris of Morgan.
Park City’s No. 2 doubles team was also eliminated in the second round as Caleb Wray and Kasra Motaghed exited at the hands of Shayden Hinton and Karter Beardall of Hurricane.
"With doubles, we just had some unlucky moments," she said. "They were in both of the matches they lost. They competed and the matches could have gone either way. As long as they give 110 percent, I can’t fault them."
She added that the mental side of tennis is often ignored and admitted that was her team’s weakness this year.
"I still think they were ready," she said.
Watts said when she returns next year as head coach, she’ll have a total of 15 seniors out of 25 athletes in varsity and junior varsity.
"We’re improving," she said. "Hopefully we can keep that trend going. We have the depth; we’re lucky we have a lot of talented players who can compete easily.
"That’s what it’s going to take."
Among the things Watts is looking forward to next spring, one is a home crowd.
In her time as head coach at PCHS, she still hasn’t coached a home match in Park City due to the Park City Racquet Club remodeling.
"It is harder when we’re traveling every day," she said. "This year was harder than last year. It does take a toll. It definitely takes a toll."
She said she is hoping the Racquet Club reopens on schedule in November.
"I am really excited to say we can have some home matches," she said. "The kids deserve a home fan base."
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