Rowland Hall has always prided itself on academics, but the Salt Lake private school has also built an athletic tradition on the tennis court.

That achievement was put on display again Saturday afternoon at Liberty Park as the Winged Lions put contestants in all five championship matches and earned another 3A state championship trophy.

“We won it last year, but we had a lot of returning players,” said coach Rich Francey, who has had his photo taken while accepting many of the team’s trophies.

In nearly perfect weather conditions, Rowland Hall won two individual singles crowns and one doubles title to finish with 65 points. Waterford took second place with 45, followed by Ogden (33), Juab (22) and Richfield (21).

Last week, Rowland Hall held off Ogden to win its region crown and Francey figured Waterford would again put up the biggest challenge at state.

Rowland Hall, Waterford and Ogden finished 1-2-3 last year and the Ravens claimed state in 2022, edging Rowland Hall by a single point.

Waterford’s Rowan Hodell competes in 3A state championships at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 18, 2024. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Eric Lu was the Winged Lions’ biggest hope to earn points this year and the No. 1 seed in No. 1 singles didn’t disappoint. He won in straight sets in all six tournament matches and captured his third straight individual crown with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Kyler Williams of Juab.

Surprisingly, Lu said he had never heard of Williams until state and had never faced him in previous years or in any other tournaments.

“He’s a good player. He put up quite a fight,” Lu said. “I came in pretty confident and try to wear down my opponent. I focus on returns and it’s not unusual to have 30-40 shots before I try to surprise them and sneak one past.”

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Final 3A state tournament scores, brackets

Lu and Andrew Murphy were Rowland Hall’s singles champions and the team of Eric Brown-Henry Damico won in No. 2 doubles, even though Damico was dealing with a pinched nerve in his back and could barely swing his racket in the title match.

Freshman Mack Moore of Waterford earned a trophy for his title win in No. 2 singles and Preston Jenkins-Liam Reddy took home the crown in No. 1 doubles.

Ogden also earned some respect with its efforts. The Tigers reached the title matches in two divisions, but John Winn and the team of Spencer Reeves-Samuel Ondrus fell in straight sets in their finales.

“Ogden really stepped it up,” Francey said.