Once again, watching the Orem Tigers roar into action at the 4A state girls tennis championships should be Utah County's best hope of seeing some title combat.
After sweeping the singles events at the Region 7 tournament, the Tigers are hoping to meet a similar fate when it comes to the state championships this weekend at Liberty Park.
The Tigers are led by top singles sophomores Callie and Kelsie Craig. While Callie shattered the first singles competition, including knocking off highly-touted Tessa Washburn of Provo in the finals, Kelsie was busy taking out Timpview's Grace Collins in the second singles competition. Collins took home second in the No. 2 singles division last year at state.
While the Tigers lost three seniors last year, the Craig twins have moved on up from their state championship finishes at second and third singles last year and should be favorites among the final field at Liberty Park. But those two girls aren't the only powerhouses Orem boasts as Andie Young is stepping right up as the Tigers' new third singles competitor and not missing a beat for her school.
The Tigers grabbed a share of the state title last year as they tied with Bountiful for the glory. But they're hoping to keep it all on Tiger Boulevard this season.
While their three singles competitors swept all comers all season in their region, the doubles teams couldn't quite add to their first place trophy collection this year. But Courtney Kezerian and Candice Gurr did place second in region for Orem in the first doubles competition and should be able to put up a fight at state. And Laura and Jessie Dyer matched that with second-place medals of their own in the second doubles division.
But the doubles teams to be talked about coming out of Region 7 don't come from Tigerland. One comes from the school just to the west as the Mountain View Bruins dropped from 5A to 4A, placed their first doubles team in the state tournament with a No. 1 seed and finished the season in fifth place in their own region.
Elena Pierce and Berklee Baum are a strong pair and should be able to challenge some people at state. Timpview's Michelle Jaynes and Maggie Brown are the league's No. 1 second doubles pair and can also put up a fight.
Washburn will be a strong competitor for the Bulldogs, and Collins should again put up a good fight for the T-Birds.
But Region 7 isn't the only league heading into action at state this year as Region 4 will also join in the fray, though without a real chance at taking home a team trophy.
Yes, the Lone Peak Knights are strong and field competitors in the top two in four of the five divisions. The Spanish Fork Dons are also taking in a pair of No. 1 seeds into singles action. Timpanogos has been solid and boasts a returning state champ.
But none of the three is seen as a real threat to the Alta Hawks and their 1-2-3 punch of Ashley Tanner, Aubrey Paul and Mandie Divino at the three singles positions.
But though teams see Alta wrapping up the singles action with perhaps just a couple of real threats standing in their way, the doubles titles and second place trophies are a little more within reach.
When it comes to doubles in Utah County, the Lone Peak Knights are on the top of the mountain. First doubles pair Whitney White and Bailee Hanneman waltzed through region and are looking to make some real noise at state. Second doubles duo Kristen Call and Mindy Wong had some big trouble getting by Pleasant Grove's Madison Jorgensen and Torrey Best but should still put up a good fight at state.
When it comes to the singles courts, it will come down to three competitors at the first singles position, starting with region champ Rachel Reid of Spanish Fork. She took out both Lone Peak's Lindsey Bohne and Timpanogos' Rachel Clarke, who won the state crown last year in third singles before jumping up two positions.
Reid is peaking at the right time and could run into favorable conditions at Liberty Park if anything unexpected happens as is usually the case in first singles action with the top players in the state battling it out.
Spanish Fork's second singles player Kelley Argyle has also improved her play over the past year and is looking to be a solid threat in the state competition as is second-place finisher Timpanogos' Heather Jackman.
And when it comes to third singles action, Lone Peak's human backboard Cameryn Call will keep her competition on the court all day long with her rallying ability, and Timpanogos' Ashli Duke is another strong fighter.
But though some individual stars could come through for the Utah County schools in 5A action, 4A is the tournament to watch if you're looking for a valley team to take home the team trophy yet again this year.