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High school girls tennis: Desert Hills, Crimson Cliffs, Green Canyon among top contenders at 4A state tourney

Defending champion Desert Hills only returns two contributors from last year’s title team

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Ridgeline’s Madi Brenchley competes in the No. 3 singles championship match against Park City’s Brooklyn Thompson during the 4A state tennis tournament at the Liberty Park Tennis Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018.

Qiling Wang, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Traditionally when it comes to high school tennis, competitive region tournaments lead to more competitive state tournaments.

If that trend holds up this Friday and Saturday at the 4A state tournament at Liberty Park, the chase for the team title could be up for grabs until the final match of the weekend.

“I really think that all the positions are really open this year, and it’s a good year for anyone to take it,” said Green Canyon coach Holly Haslem, whose team claimed the Region 11 title in a battle that was tight all season.

“I really think that all the positions are really open this year and it’s a good year for anyone to take it.” — Green Canyon coach Holly Haslem

Of the three region champs, nobody finished first in more than three positions at this year’s region tournaments.

Green Canyon finished first at third singles and both doubles teams, while Region 10 champion Stansbury had two first-place finishes and three runner-up finishes.

Down in Region 9, defending 3A state champion Desert Hills won the region tournament with three wins, but it was Crimson Cliffs that won the overall region title with a better record throughout region play.

If the teams played 10 times head to head, they might each win five. This week though, Desert Hills and Crimson Cliffs ended up on the opposite side of the bracket in all five positions, which means any showdown at state will be magnified even more.

“They’re feeling good after the weekend, and they know what they have to do to be able to play even better in state. I think they’re hungry and ready for more,” said first-year Desert Hills coach Afton Balderree.

Desert Hills only returns two of its seven contributors from last year’s state championship.

Mackenzie Telford, a senior, won the second singles title a year ago without dropping a set, while senior teammate Tia Turley won the third singles title.

Both have moved up positions this year, which has greatly increased the level of competition. Telford battled Crimson Cliffs’ Taylor Parsley throughout Region 9 play, with Parsley narrowly claiming the top seed in the region tournament.

The other top contenders for the first singles title are Bear River’s Erika Olsen, Green Canyon’s Alli Phillips and Ridgeline’s Madi Brenchley.

With four-time first singles champion Naya Tillit having graduated, there’s guaranteed to be a new first singles champion for the first time since 2015.

Olsen didn’t lose to any of the other two at region, but her three matches with Phillips all went three sets.

One of the keys, as it always is, will be the two doubles brackets. All four of the individuals from last year’s winning teams graduated, bringing uncertainty that adds to the complexity of this year’s tourney.

Green Canyon was the only team whose doubles teams swept the region titles, and duplicating that performance at state may be the key to winning the title.

“I think we’re going to rely heavily on them because they’re so strong and they’ve been solid teams all year long,” said Haslem.

Here’s a look at the state tournament qualifiers for each region:

Region 9

First singles

1. Taylor Parsley, Crimson Cliffs

2. Mackenzie Telford, Desert Hills

3. Kylie Kezos, Dixie

4. Ava Blake, Pine View

5. Lily Bronson, Snow Canyon

6. Safina Bachly, Canyon View

Second singles

1. Tia Turley, Desert Hills

2. Averee Beck, Crimson Cliffs

3. Sally Fraser, Dixie

4. Kayli Hirschi, Pine View

5. Haven Healy, Snow Canyon

6. Riley Imlay, Hurricane

Third singles

1. Malkia Maxwell, Desert Hills

2. Camryn Stanger, Crimson Cliffs

3. Andrea Ginder, Snow Canyon

4. Sara Harr, Dixie

5. Brionne Dinsmore, Pine View

6. Kiera Hunt, Canyon View

First doubles

1. Gabby Hafen/London Wunderli, Crimson Cliffs

2. Kasia Wittwer/Brianna Hardman, Desert Hills

3. Elizabeth Stuehser/Olivia Stuart, Snow Canyon

4. Isis Freiberg/Chantell Pearson, Hurricane

5. Olivia Stevens/Tava Lutui, Dixie

6. Kylie Blaser/Emma Farish, Pine View

Second doubles

1. Taylee Anderson/Brooklyn Price, Desert Hills

2. Ashtyn Cummings/Whitney Matheson, Crimson Cliffs

3. Izabelle Fawson/Katelyn Jennings, Dixie

4. Chelsea Jocelyn/Megan Lee, Hurricane

5. Mckenna Chandler/Rachel Bolton, Snow Canyon

6. Brynlee Cozzens/Jessica Grant, Cedar City

Region 10

First singles

1. Caroline Jessen, Ogden

2. Elizabeth Fidler, Stansbury

3. Elizabeth Fidler, Cedar Valley

4. Ana Rico, Juan Diego

5. Meghan Rasmussen, Uintah

Second singles

1. Madi Poorman, Ogden

2. Rylee Sorenson, Stansbury

3. Valeria Rico, Juan Diego

4. Melanie Peacock, Uintah

5. Hannah Sheppard, Tooele

Third singles

1. Anna Jones, Stansbury

2. Jill Millard, Ogden

3. Abbie Nelson, Juan Diego

4. Madeline Sheppard, Tooele

5. Tally Tanner, Cedar Valley

First doubles

1. Ella Wright/Kacee Bennion, Uintah

2. Natalie Ogden/Isabel Martin, Stansbury

3. Raeganne Hester/Paige Smith, Ben Lomond

4. Sarah Webb/Mckenzie Checketts, Cedar Valley

5. Caitly Jensen/Camilla Pankratz, Tooele

Second doubles

1. Alison Witkowski/Maylee Didericksen, Stansbury

2. Sadie Abrams/McKinnely Mull, Uintah

3. Roxy Mauerman/Dorrie Twede, Cedar Valley

4. Emily Werner/Cierra Turner, Juan Diego

5. Marynn Hamilton/Brinley Dunn, Tooele

Region 11

First singles

1. Erika Olsen, Bear River

2. Alli Phillips, Green Canyon

3. Madi Brenchley, Ridgeline

4. Rachel Powell, Mountain Crest

5. Rachel Lattin, Sky View

Second singles

1. Meera Gardner, Ridgeline

2. Halle Kendrick, Green Canyon

3. Kennedy Jenkings, Logan

4. Kelby Jensen, Bear River

5. Rachel Chipman, Sky View

Third singles

1. Ava Checketts, Green Canyon

2. Myriam Anderson, Ridgeline

3. Sidney Nielson, Mountain Crest

4. Madison Bywater, Bear River

5. Libby Parker, Logan

First doubles

1. Olivia Phillips/Alice Wilkinson, Green Canyon

2. Kate Hardy/Brook Clark, Mountain Crest

3. Emma Hansen/Ellie Carlston, Ridgeline

4. Carissa Epling/Shannon Epling, Bear River

5. Amie Liu/Jennie Leo, Logan

Second doubles

1. Maren McKenna/Kate Anderson, Green Canyon

2. Lauren Ellis/Kaitlyn Horsburgh, Ridgeline

3. Raegan Taylor/Abbie Murray, Mountain Crest

4. Sam Johnson/McKen Morrison, Sky View

5. Staeli Ellis/Norah Perry, Logan