Park City girls tennis sizes up state contender in St. George
The Park City High School girls tennis team played in the Stephen Wade Invitational in St. George on Friday and Saturday, where the Miners faced a pool of 12 teams, including tournament hosts and likely state contender Desert Hills.
The Miners finished second overall behind the Thunder. But if anything, coach Heather Nicholas said she was even more confident in her team after seeing them play in the tournament.
Nicholas’ confidence stems in part from senior Livi Rockwood’s first-place finish.
Rockwood, the Miners’ No. 1 singles player, lost to Springville’s No. 1 singles player in a tournament last month. Rockwood faced the same player twice in the St. George tournament, winning both encounters, including the No. 1 singles championship match.
The non-region tournament gave players the option of competing in a pro set – a single set to eight games – or in two regular sets. Rockwood bested her opponent in their first meeting in a pro set, then defeated her in two regular sets in the finals.
“That was a really good win for her,” Nicholas said of Rockwood. “And to do it twice really backed it up.”
Livi’s twin sister, Gabby, won all of her matches in the No. 2 singles position, including a finals match against a Desert Hills competitor who she beat 8-0.
Junior Brooklyn Thompson, who recently moved up to the No. 3 singles position from the No. 1 doubles position, took second after losing to a Desert Hills player in the finals 8-4.
Nicholas said Thompson has been performing well in that position and said Thompson’s finals match on Saturday could have gone either way. Thompson also defeated Liz Fidlerof of Stansbury at a tournament in Park City last week 6-0.
However, her move seems to have destabilized the No. 1 doubles position, which now consists of Thompson’s old partner, Emme Phillips, and Mia Rappella. The team had a rough performance in St. George, taking ninth overall after losing twice on the first day of the tournament, then winning its matches on Saturday after relegation to the bronze bracket.
The Miners’ No. 2 doubles won all three of their Friday matches, lost to Desert Hills and Orem on Saturday, and took fourth overall.
Nicholas said the performance shows that the Miners can take on Desert Hills and win, though she said the first doubles team will have to step up going into the Region 11 tournament next week. Whether the team is seeded that way in the state tournament is a different story, because seeding is taken only from region play.
The other big question mark for the Miners is Ridgeline, a likely contender for this year’s state finals who beat Park City at the beginning of the season and finished third at the Class 4A state championship last year, behind Desert Hills and Park City.
The Miners haven’t played Ridgeline since the opening week of the season, and don’t know how they will stack up against the Millville team after adjustments to the lineup and the return of Daniela Santos to the second doubles position, who was sick during the first meeting.
“But I think what is going to be the key for state is the ability for my girls to stay in the moment,” Nicholas said. “We’ve been talking a lot about the uncontrollables and the controllables in tennis, and its really easy for them at state to get wrapped up in the perimeter noise instead of staying within themselves and playing tennis one point at a time.”
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The Miners ended up on the wrong side of a close game on senior night but are still fighting for playoff seeding.