By Rich Francey, Head Coach
The 2021 Rowland Hall girls tennis team got off to a good start on August 4, with three weeks of practice in terrific weather, and concluded on October 9 with terrible weather at the 3A State Championships. Observing safe COVID protocols of masking and social distancing, the team got through the season with no illnesses and just a few minor injuries.
The early part of the season was filled with many non-region matches against 3A, 4A, 5A, and 6A schools, including Brighton, East, West, Highland, Grantsville, and Murray. It was good for the team to compete against some of the larger schools, as it gave our players confidence early on that would help as the season progressed.
After the school year started, we began region play and, coupled with a sprinkling of non-region matches, the team had a very busy September; we rolled to a 6-1 region record, with the only loss coming at the hands of Maeser Prep. In region play, the team won 28 matches and dropped only nine. Total set count won was 56, compared to losing only 23, proving terrific depth within the team. The team headed to the region tournament with some good momentum and eager to compete.
The region tournament was held at Liberty Park over two days in late September, and after a terrific first day, three of our five positions advanced to the finals. Due to the depth and talent of our team, we captured our second consecutive team region title, with solid play from Alivia Boe, Tennyson Seethaler, Erika Prasthofer, Agustina Salazar, and Kate Altman. Our #2 Doubles team of Madeline Frazier and Elena Owens took the first-place individual title at that position.
After 10 days, due to Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) scheduling with other classifications, we headed to the State 3A Tournament, where we were met with weather challenges. All the matches for the state tournament were held indoors, which proved to be a disadvantage for our team. We had many long matches that took their toll over the two days, but all in all it was a good tournament for our team: both our doubles teams played through to the semifinals, and Tennyson Seethaler took second place overall at the second singles spot. The rest of the players were there to cheer for the entire varsity team and showed a lot of Winged Lion team spirit throughout the tournament.
As only seven players can make the final roster for the varsity team, we had to play many challenge matches to determine those positions, as well as use the results of some region play. If a player played a varsity match, they earned a team varsity letter. Those additional players were Chloe Flanagan, Ainsley Moore, and Maggie Estabrooks.
Assistant Coach Susan Daynes headed up our junior varsity (JV) team this year and did another magnificent job. We had 16 players on the JV team, and while they were considered JV, they were a big part of the entire team as we have a one-team approach and every player is as important as any other. Due to the size of the team, we also added a part-time assistant coach, Cory Levetan, who was a tremendous help. The JV players this year consisted of Isabelle Bown, Grace Frazier, Katerina Gianoulis, Francis Hodson, Madilyn Mulford, Marina Peng, Isabella Rust, Nadia Scharfstein, Kelly Siegal, Paige Timmeny, Aurelie Wallis, and Angel Wang. The entire JV team played many matches against other schools, which was essential to their growth and the strength of our program. The JV season ended with our annual JV tournament, with Francis Hodson winning the tournament as well as a new Yonex racquet.
The season concluded with a wonderful team awards banquet held at the Boe family home, a great venue and a nice event that also gave us a chance to recognize the 2020 State Championship team, as five players from that team were present at the banquet. Individual awardees honored at that gathering included Tennyson Seethaler (MVP); Alivia Boe and Madeline Frazier (Coaches’ Awards); Elena Owens (Most Improved Player); and Maggie Estabrooks (JV MVP).
Two of our players, Madeline Frazier and Tennyson Seethaler, earned Academic All-Region and UHSAA Academic All-State honors, and we congratulate them on this recognition.
It was a pleasure to coach this team. We have a lot of talent coming back for next year, so there is a lot of excitement for the future.