Eagles edge Brighton for boys tennis title
Jun 18, 2019 02:33PM
● By Josh McFadden
The Skyline boys tennis team celebrates its 5A state title, which it won over Brighton 20-19. (Photo courtesy of Lani Wilcox)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
Despite missing its top player, the Skyline boys tennis team captured the Class 5A state tennis championship. The Eagles prevailed in nail-biting fashion over Brighton 20-19.
Skyline’s Connor Robb-Wilcox, arguably the best player in the state, was unavailable for the state tournament, held May 7, 9 at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City. Robb-Wilcox was displaying his talents at a national tournament, but his Skyline teammates picked up the slack.
The victory even surprised head coach Lani Wilcox. With the absence of her son, she had to battle the competition with only four filled positions instead of five.
“It was not on my radar that we would be able to win,” she said. “I didn’t believe it until (tournament officials) said it. It was a pleasant surprise on that end.”
With Robb-Wilcox vacating the No. 1 singles position, freshmen Michael Chericho and Ethan Green ran through their brackets in No. 2 singles and No. 3 singles, respectively, to win first place. Chericho won his first match 6-0, 6-2 and his second 6-2, 6-0 before winning in the semifinals 6-4, 7-6. In the finals, he defeated his opponent from Brighton 6-1, 6-3. Meanwhile, Green won 6-0, 6-0 and 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 to advance to the semifinals. There, he ousted his foe in three sets, 2-6, 6-1, 6-1. He defeated a Corner Canyon opponent in the championship by the score of 6-4, 6-1.
The first doubles team of Gunner Woller and Sam Stewart, both freshmen as well, also captured a championship crown. They won in the first round and quarterfinals by identical 6-0, 6-3 scores. The semifinals were tougher, but they outlasted a tough pair from Brighton 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 in what Wilcox said was “an amazing match.” They took care of a Corner Canyon team in the finals by the count of 6-1, 6-2.
In second doubles, sophomore Will Kendall and junior Carter Brindley reached the semifinals but fell to Brighton 6-2, 3-6, 7-5. This was the only position in which Skyline competed that it didn’t capture the championship. Still, the tandem earned valuable points, which turned out to be just enough to carry the team to a title.
“I was really proud of the team,” Wilcox said. “I was pleased with all of the players. They all played hard.”
Wilcox was particularly happy with how the other players shook off the disappointment of not having their No. 1 singles player there. She said the setback helped the players believe in their own abilities.
“The players were bummed Connor wasn’t there, but they realized they were capable of doing it. They came through.”
Don’t expect Skyline to drop off at all next year. In fact, the team could be even better. Wilcox didn’t lose any seniors from the varsity squad. Plus, two more talented freshmen are joining the fold.
“We’re loaded,” she said.