Skyline tennis ends successful spring seasonMay 30, 2022 04:36PM ● By Justin Adams
By Daniel Olsen | [email protected]
For the Skyline boys tennis team coach, it’s been quite a year.
“I’ve been a tennis player for the majority of my life,” coach Lesa Coleman-Taggart said. “I played for Olympus and became certified in 2000. I’ve taught at most clubs in the Salt Lake Valley. I coached at Olympus but Skyline called because their coach had left. I’ve loved the sport my whole life.”
That love of the game has helped Taggart instruct and motivate her team and it shows.
Taggart said that several key contributors on the varsity team have helped the Eagles garner an impressive record.
“Ethan Green is our first singles player and is nationally ranked,” Taggart said. “Our other key players on varsity are Dean Weaver, Tai Jansen, Gunnar Wooler, Michael Cherchio, Drew Wardrop, Sam Stuart and Kyle Rasmussen.”
Losing has been a rare occurrence for the Skyline Eagles this season.
“We lost one match to Brighton,” Taggart said. “They are the toughest rival on the men’s side. There are a couple talented guys on the Park City team, too. Ty Jensen is the only one that is new to our varsity. Six guys are seniors so next year we will be rebuilding a little bit. We have a young and upcoming group of freshmen who are really phenomenal.”
The competition in high school men’s tennis has increased exponentially over the years. Brighton also won the region championship, but the Skyline Eagles now have their sights set on state.
“We always hope that we pull off the win,” Taggart said. “Brighton is tough. The abilities of these young men are phenomenal. If I look back on my days of playing, they would be in the middle of collegiate play. The bar has been raised.”
Indeed it has. Not only has the bar been raised in Utah, but the 5A classification has the toughest competition as far as tennis is concerned.
“The UHSAA still has the RPI system,” Taggart said. “It rates each player individually and as doubles partners. The formula is a little strange because it brings in a certain amount of points for a loss. As a 5A region, we are struggling to know how that will pan out. I don’t know how that will put us in the seeding bracket. On the first day of state there are 32 seeds. There is a bigger draw now. It will go over the course of two weekends.”
The first rounds took place May 10-11 and concluded May 19-21. It is a little different from how it was seeded in the past. Usually just seven seeds have been drawn following the region championship, but this year it’s 32. The RPI system is all done electronically. Before, they took win loss percentages into account and drew the seeds that way.
Skyline is not only strong on the tennis court, but they are putting work in during class as well.
“This team is really strong academically,” Taggart said. “A good number of these boys take college-level classes offered in this area. The credits go to their bachelor’s degree. In some cases, they can walk away from high school with a college diploma. I’m preparing several freshmen for these classes. The majority of players have a GPA above a 3.5, but they are weighted to around 3.9 with those classes. The academic standing including strength as a student athlete is amazing. It takes a lot of mental and physical strength. All of their tests are during most of these tournaments.”