Eagle’s Tennis Team Soars Through a Strikingly Successful 2016 Season
Jun 08, 2016 11:34AM
● By Sarah Almond
By Sarah Almond | [email protected]
Holladay - To say the Skyline High School boys tennis team had a good season would be a major understatement. The Eagles played six schools during their 2016 season, and reigned victorious over every single one.
“We swept 30-and-0 this year; we won every match during region play,” head coach Lani Wilcox said. “My number-one singles and number-two singles are sectionally and nationally competitive kids.”
Other than the team’s number-two doubles, who lost in a nail-biting finals match, the Eagles also won nearly every match they played at the regional tournament in early May. Despite the second seed, the team still claimed the region championship title.
“We were really strong this year,” said Wilcox. “We had a strong season.”
Wilcox, who has only coached the Eagles for two years, is a predominant figure in the local tennis community. A tennis pro by trade, Wilcox played collegiately and professionally before retiring to become a tennis coach and personal instructor.
“I’ve coached boys and girls for years,” Wilcox said. “When I coached at Judge I had a girls team that took back-to-back state championships. But these boys are just really, really fun to coach and I have had a great group of guys this year.”
Though the team did have tryouts at the beginning of their season in February, Wilcox didn’t make any cuts and was able to form a strong, 30-player team.
“Every single one of them [the boys] were great kids,” Wilcox said. “I am definitely lucky.”
The Eagles are only losing two seniors to graduation this year, meaning they will likely come back just as strong next season.
“I had a lot of sophomores and a few juniors, and I only had five or six freshmen come in,” Wilcox said. “So I’ve got a good group of guys coming up.”
Even with a younger group of players comprising the team this year, Wilcox said the group’s overall talent on the court was notable.
“I had to do some fundamental work with guys in the lower half, but my varsity and even most of my top JV players were pretty solid players,” Wilcox said.
As a former player herself, Wilcox values the importance of goals and knew that, in order to push her team to be the best they could be, they needed to set challenging, yet achievable goals.
“My goal for the boys was to go 30-0,” Wilcox said. “We aimed for no losses. And they pulled that through, which was a really big thing for them.”
Wilcox said that in all 30 of the matches played, only two played into the third set. In tennis terms, this is a sizable accomplishment.
“Our third-set wins were both against Olympus, our rivals,” Wilcox said. “So that was a pretty big feat, I think.”
While having a winning season and an undefeated record is definitely a highlight that both she and her players will fondly remember, Wilcox explains that for her, the concept of high school tennis is to have fun and to bond as a team.
“These guys really bonded and did a great job of being together and doing stuff together,” Wilcox said. “We had some great personalities on the team and my captain was an amazing, amazing leader.”
As Wilcox reflects on the success of the Eagles team, she says again and again how lucky she felt to have such a solid group of high school boys.
“They are such an amazing team,” Wilcox said. “Our kids have a lot of pride. They are outstanding and I think they represent Skyline really, really well.”