Park City girls tennis is set to thrive in the future with so many returners coming back |

Park City girls tennis is set to thrive in the future with so many returners coming back

Park City freshman Olivia Tarmina serves the ball in the her 6-0, 6-1 first round victory over Skyline senior Ava Hansen of the 5A state tennis tournament of the No. 2 singles event. Tarmina went undefeated, including being named the Region 10 No.2 singles champion, the entire season until her loss in the semifinals of the state tournament to junior Macy Richards of Woods Cross.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

It’s been nearly two weeks since the Park City girls tennis team saw its season end at the Class 5A state tournament, and coach Heather Nicholas can’t help but be excited about the future of her program.

With her No. 1 and No. 2 singles players returning, as well as the No. 1 doubles team and a member of the No. 2 doubles team, the future remains bright for the Miners.

“It’s still crazy to think that next year we might not have a single senior on the varsity team,” Nicholas said. “But that doesn’t mean that we won’t be without experience. Four of the five returners all played at the state tournament this past year, so I think that’s a pretty good jumping off spot for us heading into next season.”

This past season, freshmen Elle Martin and Olivia Tarmina held down the No. 1 and No. 2 singles spots the entire season.

Martin, playing against older competition for most of the year, finished runner-up with a competitive match with Wasatch senior Alysha Damron in the Region 8 championship. Martin, who would advance to the state tournament, won her first round 6-1, 6-3 over Anzley Stohle of Olympus before falling to senior Sicely Ferreira of Woods Cross to end her season.

“I think she was a little bit intimidated in that match,” Nicholas said. “I think she’s as equally strong as a player in my opinion. … But I don’t think she believed in herself as much as she should’ve in that match, and that comes with age and maturity.”

Tarmina was an unexpected bright spot for the Miners.

Nicholas knew she had a good one in Tarmina, who she has coached privately, but even she didn’t expect the soft-spoken freshman to shine as bright as she did.

Tarmina only lost one match all season, and that was to junior Macy Richards of Woods Cross in the semifinals of the 5A state tournament for No. 2 singles. Before that, she took home the Region 8 championship, easily dispatching her foes with a steady and controlled game.

“I wouldn’t say Olivia was as strong as she’s been all year long in the one she lost, but that just happens sometimes,” Nicholas said. “But to her age and do what she did all season long, never panicking and just always playing her game, speaks volumes of her maturity. She knows who she is as a tennis player and trusts in her game enough to rely and bank on that.”

The No. 1 doubles team, made up of sophomore Lauren Allen and Daniela Santos, was hot and cold. Dominating in their matches at certain points, and then looking like they’ve never played before, the combination of Santos and Allen made it the state tournament before bowing out in the first round.

“I really want them to improve in their consistency because if they do, they can win a state title or two over their final two years,” Nicholas said. “The need to be dialing down the errors because that is the thing that killed them in the end. They’re so strong and so sound fundamentally, but they just have these lapses where they try to hit the ball as hard as they can and it doesn’t turn out well for them.”

Despite the Miners placing sixth at this year’s 5A state tournament, Nicholas believes she has four potential future state champions on her roster.

But in order to win that state championship, Nicholas fully understands that the amount of growth needed to win is going to have to come between the ears more than anywhere else.

“The girls have to accept that they’re talented and that they should be winning,” Nicholas said. “It was as if sometimes they felt that because they were younger or less experienced, they shouldn’t have won so they let that get into their head. If that sort of mindset can leave and be replaced with one of confidence, watch out.”

Coming along with that maturity and change in mindset will be the ability to win the big points, the ones that have the potential to change the outcomes of the match. Nicholas said that’s where the Miners struggled this year, often losing those big points or rallies that swing the momentum in matches and lead to a winner.

With no seniors expected to be on next year’s team as of now, Nicholas is banking on the experienced gained from this season push the girls harder during the offseason. And if they’re lucky enough, maybe lead a state championship along the way.

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