Hillcrest tennis players faced conflicts in post-season play with advanced academic courses’ testingJul 01, 2022 09:06AM ● By Julie Slama
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Hillcrest High’s No. 1 singles tennis player sophomore Aarav Parikh and No. 2 doubles team senior Nate Wright and junior Roy King advanced to play in the second round of the state tournament and their first-year head coach Tui Satuala was optimistic for the rest of their tournament play.
Until conflict arose—yet again.
The Huskies’ doubles team had to forfeit.
“Roy had an IB (international baccalaureate) test that could not be rescheduled,” Satuala said.
Similarly, Parikh, who was undefeated in region during regular season, couldn’t play at the region tournament to try for a chance for that title because he had an Advanced Placement exam. He could have chosen to take it at a deferred time, but that was scheduled during the first round of the state tournament, the coach said.
“We had a good group of kids; they had a great season,” Satuala said. “I was really impressed with the kids; many of them are in the IB program and are taking AP classes and have really challenging academic schedules and they still excelled on the court.”
While Parikh lost in the second round at state, his coach describes him as “a great player.”
“He’s mature mentally in a match. He had a lot of close matches this year where the opponents were older with more experience and athleticism, but he fought hard and figured out a way to beat them,” Satuala said.
He’s also proud of his No. 2 doubles team that took first place at region.
“I’m impressed with both of them. It was their first year playing varsity. Nate is a hard worker; he does things the right way, always being on time to practices and it just paid off on the way he played. He was our most consistent player this season,” Satuala said. “Roy was a good balance to that. Roy just started playing tennis last year. He’s also a hard worker and gives 100%. He has a lot of athleticism; I love his hustle.”
Hillcrest’s No. 2 singles player, sophomore Briggs Hunt finished fifth at region.
“He’s very entertaining to watch,” Satuala said. “He’s very animated and in full color. He often may speak his mind, nothing harmful, more like ‘Why did I do that?’ or if the opponent had a really good shot, he’d compliment them. I like watching him play because the longer he plays in the match, the better he does. He has a super competitive spirit and will do everything he can to win.”
Junior Brian Yu also finished fifth in region.
“Brian struggled at the beginning of the season, but toward the end, something clicked, and he started to play a lot better,” his coach said. “At region, he was matched up against a Stansbury (High) player, who eventually won the tournament. At state, he got paired up with the same guy. I’m just really proud of Brian and how he was able to turn his season around; it really helped us out a lot.”
The first doubles team of junior Rishi Naik and senior Logan Williams came in fifth at region.
“They’re awesome players. Rishi has a lot of power. He’s one of our top servers; he has some power behind it,” Satuala said. “Logan brought a lot of experience and great leadership as he was one of our few players who played varsity last year.”
Satuala said senior Ben Homer is to be commended.
“He played first singles at region, filling in for Aarav, and did a great job,” he said about his seventh-place finish. “I wish we had a few more years with him. He’s a hard worker who put in a lot of effort and wanted to improve.”
The coach also took notice of junior Daniel Yi, who finished second in JV region as No. 1 singles in his first year playing high school tennis. Overall, the JV team finished third in JV region.
Two seniors, Rashab Nayak and Wright, were named to academic all-state team.
“I’m super proud of them. I’m proud of all the kids and how they played. Throughout the season, we beat every team, and team-wise, finished second behind Uintah in the region during regular season,” Satuala said.
With four seniors graduated, he’s hoping the tennis courts will be completed on the Hillcrest campus this summer after the recent rebuilding of the school so tennis players won’t have to continue to split practices amongst locations and himself, assistant coach Creighton Chun and volunteer assistant coach Chris Chun this coming year.