Tennis team takes third at region, qualifies all players for state
by Mary Rice
contributing writer
Sep 27, 2012 | 1038 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Lady Devil tennis team and coaches pose for a photo at Grand County High School. During last week’s region tournament, Grand placed third overall in the region and qualified all players for the state championship tournament next week. Courtesy photo
The Lady Devil tennis team and coaches pose for a photo at Grand County High School. During last week’s region tournament, Grand placed third overall in the region and qualified all players for the state championship tournament next week. Courtesy photo
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The Grand County High School Lady Devils tennis team hosted the region tournament Sept. 21, qualifying all of Grand’s players for the state competition and placing third overall in the region.

In the No. 1 singles division, senior Brianna Ballard swept all three of her opponents in two sets each. Ballard cleanly trounced her competition from Emery High School, 6-0, 6-0, and followed it up with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over South Sevier. Ballard capped off the day with a 6-1, 6-2 win over San Juan. Ballard’s three wins earned her the region title in No. 1 singles, and qualified her for the state competition.

In No. 2 singles, senior Torrie Lopez took home third place, going 2-1 in her matches. Lopez swept her first opponent, from Millard, 6-0, 6-0. But she lost to San Juan in three sets, 3-6, 6-4, and 5-7. Against South Sevier, Lopez came back to win the match, 7-5, 6-2.

Freshman Kayla Weston went 1-1 in No. 3 singles, losing her first match to Richfield 6-2, 2-6, 5-7, before beating her South Sevier opponent, 6-0, 6-2. That win against the Lady Rams secured Weston’s third place in the region.

In doubles, both teams went 2-1. Junior Jacey Johnson and freshman Brityn Ballard played at No. 1 doubles and won their initial match against South Sevier 7-6, 6-1. The pair also defeated Emery 6-3 and 7-6, but lost their third match to Richfield, 4-6, 6-4, 0-6, to take second place overall in the region.

In the No. 2 doubles division, junior Madison Stocks and sophomore Robin Wilscheidt shut out Gunnison, 6-0, 6-0. They struggled in their second match against Richfield, however, losing 4-6, 2-6, before coming back against Emery to win 4-6, 7-6, 6-0. That win put Stocks and Wilscheidt in third place in the region.

Head coach Brian Ballard said he was very pleased with the team’s results.

“We were actually within just a few points of first. The top three teams were all so close to one another, it was really almost like a three-way tie for region,” coach Ballard said. “I think it’s especially impressive because we’re playing with a pretty young team for the most part.”

Earlier in the season, Ballard had said that the team’s goal was to qualify all of their players for the state competition. Ballard was very happy with the results, saying his team had surpassed their goal. “Everyone down to fourth place qualifies to go to state, but all of the players in our team were third place or higher, so we are all going up to Salt Lake this weekend to compete.”

The Lady Devil team’s depth should help them stand a fighting chance at state, where they will face the formidable private schools that usually take home the state titles, according to Ballard.

He said he is hoping for a strong showing from the Lady Devils.

“The thing about tennis is that you really can’t make predictions. It really all depends on how the girls feel on a given day,” he said. “Still, we’ve beat just about every team we’ve come up against this season, and I have high hopes that we’re going to do very well, bring back some firsts, seconds, and thirds individually. I really have confidence in our girls. I think our team is up to it.”

The girls will put that statement to the test this weekend, when they travel to Liberty Park in Salt Lake City to play other 2A tennis teams from across the state for the state title on Saturday, September 29.

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