SALT LAKE CITY — The Region 9 teams from the St. George area didn’t want to bring their talented tennis players 300 miles just to battle each other again.
At the 4A girls state tournament at Liberty Park, the Green Canyon Wolves stepped in to make sure that didn’t happen.
The Wolves won two late-afternoon matches Friday afternoon to stay in contention. When Ava Checketts rallied to defeat Snow Canyon’s Andrea Ginder in three sets and the doubles team of Maren McKenna and Kate Anderson needed extra time to win their second-round match, Green Canyon was in the thick of the title chase.
After the first day, though, defending champion Desert Hills still leads overall with 10 points, followed by Region 9 foe Crimson Cliffs (9), then Green Canyon (8), Ridgeline (7) and Mountain Crest and Ogden tied with four points apiece. The tournament finishes Saturday, and the coaches expect the outcome won’t be decided until the final match.
“We came in (this season) with just two returnees, so it’s a mostly new team,” said Desert Hills coach Afton Balderree, who is also in her first season with the Thunder after coaching at Hurricane. “(Saturday’s matches) will be lots of stress for the parents, but lots of fun for the girls.”
Desert Hills rode the strong play of defending champs Tia Turley and Mackenzie Telford, but several others rose to the occasion to help the Thunder take the narrow lead.
Schools from Southern Utah and Cache Valley brought plenty of fans, all wearing face masks and trying to cheer through them on a warm, sunny afternoon.
“It’s really exciting,” said Green Canyon coach Holly Haslem. “We’ve never had girls work so hard. They are at their best when they are down.”
That was apparent with Checketts, who handily won her first match but had trouble against Ginder until finding the necessary energy to win 6-3, 7-5.
Checketts’ victory was important because she was the lone Green Canyon singles player to reach the semifinals. The Wolves will need to rely on her and both of their doubles squads to try to stay near the top with Desert Hills, which advanced all of its athletes to the semis.
Crimson Cliffs also got impressive play from Taylor Parsley, Averee Beck and Camryn Stanger in singles and the team of Gabby Hafen and London Wunderli in doubles to put itself in good shape for second-day action.
Myriam Anderson of Ridgeline, Erika Olson of Bear River, Kylie Kezos of Dixie and Ogden’s Madi Poorman also stayed alive. Anderson and the Riverhawks have an outside chance of a state crown if everything goes their way since they also advanced both of their doubles teams. The others will be looking primarily for individual glory.
The 4A girls will combine with the 6A teams in Saturday’s semis and finals. Weather conditions are expected to again be nearly ideal.
4A state tournament
At Liberty Park
1. Desert Hills, 10; 2. Crimson Cliffs, 9; 3. Green Canyon, 8; 4. Ridgeline, 7; 5. Mountain Crest, Ogden, 4; 7. Bear River, Dixie, Logan, Pine View, 3; 11. Uintah, 2; 12. Hurricane, Sky View, Snow Canyon, Stansbury, 1.
Taylor Parsley (Crimson Cliffs) def. Safina Blachly (Canyon View) 6-1, 6-0
Rachel Powell (Mountain Crest) def. Elizabeth Fidler (Stansbury) 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Ava Blake (Pine View) def. Sadie Reall (Cedar Valley) 6-1, 6-2
Erika Olsen (Bear River) def. Meghan Rasmussen (Uintah) 6-0, 6-0
Caroline Jessen (Ogden) def. Lily Bronson (Snow Canyon) 6-2, 6-1
Kylie Kezos (Dixie) def. Madi Brenchley (Ridgeline) 6-1, 7-6
Mackenzie Telford (Desert Hills) def. Rachel Lattin (Sky View) 6-0, 6-0
Alli Phillips (Green Canyon) def. Ana Rico (Juan Diego) 6-0, 6-0
Parsley def. Powell 6-1, 6-0
Olsen def. Blake 6-1, 6-1
Kezos def. Jessen 6-2, 7-5
Telford def. Phillips 6-0, 6-2
Meera Gardner (Ridgeline) def. Savannah Jones (Cedar City) 6-0, 6-0
Averee Beck (Crimson Cliffs) def. Melanie Peacock (Uintah) 6-0, 6-0
Sally Fraser (Dixie) def. Kelby Jensen (Bear River) 6-3, 6-2
Madi Poorman (Ogden) def. Rachel Chipman (Sky View) 6-0, 6-2
Tia Turley (Desert Hills) def. Hannah Shepherd (Tooele) 6-0, 6-0
Kennedy Jenkins (Logan0 def. Valeria Rico (Juan Diego) 6-0, 6-2
Halle Kendrick (Green Canyon) def. Haven Healy (Snow Canyon) 6-0, 6-4
Kayli Hirschi (Pine View) def. Rylee Sorenson (Stansbury) 6-2, 6-2
Beck def. Gardner 6-0, 6-0
Poorman def. Fraser 6-1, 6-0
Turley def. Jenkins 6-1, 6-1
Hirschi def. Kendrick 6-1, 6-1
Malika Maxwell (Desert Hills) def. Libby Parker (Logan) 6-1, 6-2
Sidney Nielsen (Mountain Crest) def. Madeline Shepard (Tooele) by default
Myriam Anderson (Ridgeline) def. Sara Harr (Dixie) 6-1, 6-1
Anna Jones (Stansbury) def. Kiera Hunt (Canyon View) 6-1, 6-2
Ava Checketts (Green Canyon) def. Tally Tanner (Cedar Valley) 6-0, 6-2
Andrea Ginder (Snow Canyon) def. Abbie Nelson (Juan Diego) 6-1, 6-2
Jill Millard (Ogden) def. Brionne Dinsmore (Pine View) 6-1, 6-0
Camryn Stanger (Crimson Cliffs) def. Madison Bywater (Bear River) 6-0, 6-0
Maxwell def. Anderson 5-7, 6-1, 6-2
Anderson def. Jones 5-7, 6-1, 6-2
Checketts def. Ginder 6-3, 7-5
Stanger def. Millard 6-1, 6-2
Gabby Hafen/London Wunderli (Crimson Cliffs) def. Kylie Blaser/Emma Farish (Pine View) 6-1, 6-0
Carisa Epling/Shannon Epling (Bear River) def. Natalie Ogden/Isabel Martin (Stansbury) 6-3, 6-0
Isis Freiberg/Chantell Pearson (Hurricane) def. Raeganne Hester/Paige Smith (Ben Lomond) 7-6 (6) 6-4
Olivia Phillips/Alice Wilkinson (Green Canyon) def. Cately Jensen/Camilla Pankratz (Tooele) 6-0, 6-1
Ella Wright/Kacee Bennion (Uintah) def. Olivia Stevens/Tava Lutui (Dixie) 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-4
Emma Hansen/Ellie Carlston (Ridgeline) def. Elizabeth Stuehser/Olivia Stuart (Snow Canyon) 6-0, 6-1
Kasia Wittwer/Brianna Hartman (Desert Hills) def. Amie Liu/Jennie Leo (Logan) 6-2, 6-2
Kate Hardy/Brook Clark (Mountain Crest) def. Sarah Webb/McKenzie Checketts (Cedar Valley) 6-3, 6-4
Hafen/Wunderli def. Epling/Epling 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
Phillips/Wilkinson def. Freiberg/Pearson 6-2, 6-0
Hasen/Carlston def. Wright/Bennion 6-0, 6-2
Wittwer/Hartman def. Hardy/Clark 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.
Maren McKenna/Kate Anderson (Green Canyon) def. Brynlee Cozzens/Jessica Grant (Cedar City) 6-1, 6-1
Ashtyn Cummins/Whitney Matheson (Crimson Cliffs) def. Emily Werner/Cierra Turner (Juan Diego) 6-1, 6-2
Samantha Johnson/McKenna Morrison (Sky View) def. Izabelle Fawson/Katelyn Jennings (Dixie) 6-4, 6-2
Staeli Ellis/Norah Perry (Logan) def. Alison Witkowski/Mayle Didericksen (Stansbury) 6-2, 7-6 (6)
Taylee Anderson/Brooklyn Price (Desert Hills) def. Marynn Hamilton/Brinley Dunn (Tooele) 6-1, 6-0
Raegan Taylor/Abbie Murray (Mountain Crest) def. Roxy Mauerman/Dorrie Twede (Cedar Valley) 6-4, 7-5
Lauren Ellis/Kaitlyn Horsburgh (Ridgeline) def. McKenna Chandler/Rachel Bolton (Snow Canyon) 6-0, 6-2
Sadie Abrams/McKinnely Mull (Uintah) def. Chelsea Jocelyn/Megan Lee (Hurricane) 6-3, 6-1
McKenna/Anderson def. Cummins/Matheson 6-2, 7-5
Ellis/Perry def. Johnson/Morrison 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
Anderson/Price def. Taylor/Murray 6-4, 6-3
Ellis/Horsburgh def. Abrams/Mull 6-4, 6-3