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Grantsville tennis coach apologizes for actions that overshadowed play

Last Saturday, Grantsville's Meghan Nelson accomplished a rare feat by earning her fourth-straight individual tennis title at the 1A/2A tournament.

It certainly was an outstanding achievement for Nelson, who just last year had another noteworthy accomplishment. She and her brother, Jonah, both won titles at the No. 1 singles spots for their championship teams."She's a real hero," said Grantsville coach Don Nelson, beaming about his talented senior after the match.

And Meghan's just one in a long line of players who have led Grantsville to the state championship. The Cowboys have won an incredible 33 team titles since the '60s, making them one of the premier programs in any sport in the state.

Unfortunately, all of that was overshadowed last Saturday. Instead, poor sportsmanship and controversy from the stands took center stage.

Nelson called the Deseret News this week to say he's sorry for his part in that. He also apologized for offensive remarks he made about the Rowland Hall-St. Mark's squad after the Cowgirls won their fifth title in a row.

"I certainly hope you could write an apology for any behavior that I rendered at that tournament that was unbecoming a coach representing Grantsville High School," Nelson said.

"Yes, there's going to be outbursts at every sporting activity. I've always said it brings out the best and worst. Maybe there was a momentary worst in me, and I apologize for that."

Nelson, who has coached for 25 years, was disappointed because he felt newspaper articles reporting on the event focused more on the behavior of himself and parents rather than accomplishments of his girls.

"I would also hope that maybe you could write about some of the great things the girls did on the court. Really, that's what it was about," he said. "To focus on me and (RHSM coach Rich) Francey and the fans I thought was a discredit to the girls, and that's not what high school sports is about."

WE ARE (SCORING) FAMILY: When former Jordan High soccer star Brook Epperson booted in Macalester College's game-winning goal against Carleton last week, it marked the 100th goal by an Epperson sister at the school.

The Div. III college, based in St. Paul, Minn., has had at least one Epperson - and three overall - on its roster since 1992. Brook (1993 DesNews MVP) is a senior, Tawni (a two-time first-team all-stater) is a junior and Nikki (a two-time first-team all-stater) graduated from Macalester last year.

Nikki - who is second on Macalester's career goals and points lists - and Brook were named Div. III All-Americans.

The Scots, ranked No. 3 this year, have gone 77-23-6 with the sisters from Sandy on their team.

SMART SOFTBALL: Snow Canyon's softball team finished the 1996-97 school year with the second-highest cumulative GPA of any squad in the nation. Incredibly, the Warriors turned in a 3.926 average between 17 girls. Their "lowest" GPA was 3.83. Bingham's team GPA was also impressive - 3.837, for fifth-best in the nation.

Because of their success in the classroom, the two softball teams were recently honored as All-Academic teams by the National Fastpitch Coaches Assocation.

"We (worked on grades) especially hard last year," said Snow Canyon softball coach Wane Kittrell.

Two of Kittrell's players - Brooke Smith and Lyndi Frei - notched 4.0s. He jokingly told Smith - a student leader who also plays basketball and soccer - that she might have to quit softball. He didn't want to get in the way of her becoming valedictorian.

TOURNAMENT CHANGES: The 4A girls tennis tournament has been rescheduled for this Saturday (first and second rounds) and Monday, Oct. 20 (semifinals/finals) at BYU. The change was necessary because of scheduling conflicts with homecoming activities that weekend at the Y.

The girls soccer tournament schedules have also been tinkered with. Semifinals and finals for 3A, 4A and 5A will be at Lindquist Field in Ogden. The 4A and 5A semis will take place Thursday, Oct. 23, beginning with the 4A match at 2 p.m. The 3A semis will be played on Friday, Oct. 24, at 2 p.m. The three finals will run consecutively on Saturday, Oct. 25, starting with the 3A championship at 1 p.m.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Prep rankings

Football

Class 5A Record Prev.

1. Brighton 6-0 1

2. Skyline 6-1 2

3. Alta 6-1 3

4. Orem 5-2 4

5. Hunter 6-1 5

Class 4A Record Prev.

1. Highland 7-0 1

2. Timpview 4-2 3

3. Olympus 6-1 4

4. Weber 6-1 5

5. B-Ville 5-2 2

Class 3A Record Prev.

1. Lehi 7-0 1

2. Uintah 6-0 2

3. Morgan 7-0 3

4. Cedar 6-1 4

5. S. Cnyon 4-2 5

Class 2A Record Prev.

1. Juab 7-0 1

2. Millard 7-0 2

3. San Juan 6-1 3

4. Manti 7-0 4

5. G-Ville 5-2 5