Hillcrest tennis players strong in singles play, expected to lead to region successSep 04, 2022 09:58AM ● By Julie Slama
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Two wins against non-region teams Murray High and Jordan High before school began and head tennis coach Creighton Chun feels good about the season.
“I put together a really hard pre-region schedule this year,” Chun said as he wanted to challenge his players, especially No. 1 singles player sophomore Fabiana Gonzalez. “Our schedule wasn’t challenging for her last year, and she’s greatly improved so I wanted to make sure she had some good competition.”
Gonzalez, who won a level 5 junior tournament for ages 16 and under this summer, went undefeated in the regular season last year.
“She’s ranked the third best sophomore in the state,” he said.
Both her toughest match and the hardest one for the team, Chun predicts, will be against Olympus High Aug. 16, the day after school begins. If it works out, it will be the team’s first home match since 2018 as their courts were ripped up during the reconstruction of the school.
Chun said he expects the lines on the courts to be painted several days before that match and that will complete the new courts. None of this year’s squad has ever played at home, instead consistently playing away matches and usually practicing in parks or making other arrangements to use tennis courts.
Skyline High on Aug. 19 and Highland High on Aug. 26 are scheduled to be home non-region matches.
Joining Gonzalez is her friend and No. 2 singles player, sophomore Camila Andrade, who is new to Hillcrest.
“She’s a strong player and like Fabiana, came from Venezuela,” Chun said.
He expects strong play from his single players, including No. 3 player senior Sowmya Paritala, who was the top player her freshman and sophomore seasons.
“Sowmya went to international science fair; she’s bright and academically strong. She’s a good player; she's the epitome of a student-athlete,” he said. “I am confident, especially with our one, two and three singles, that we will challenge for the region championship.”
Chun said that the team would have brought home the title last year if it weren’t for including No. 3 doubles, which was essentially bringing up the No. 1 JV team to score. He said that isn’t a common practice and this year, it already has been determined it wouldn’t be included in the region scoring.
In doubles play, he has senior returner Lily Greenwood matched up with sophomore Jacklyn Wei for the No. 1 team.
“I see our No. 2 doubles team changing throughout the year. There are so many girls that are really getting good and can challenge for that team that I know it's going to change,” he said about his 20-member squad.
In doubles play, he said Uintah High in Vernal is always strong.
“It seems like they put all their players on doubles rather than singles,” Chun said. “They won the region championship because over the regular season, they won more doubles matches. I feel our doubles teams are stronger than last year, that's why I feel confident about region.”
Region play is scheduled to begin Aug. 18 against Cottonwood High. The team will travel to a St. George tournament Sept. 8-10, 11 days before the state tournament begins Sept. 21. The first round is at Brighton High and the second, semifinals and finals at Liberty Park.