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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Attitude is everything: Brighton boys tennis has right mindset

May 08, 2018 03:35PM ● By Josh McFadden

By Josh McFadden – [email protected] 

In any form of competition, winning is important. After all, who would invest the time and effort into a contest if there wasn’t a final result to shoot for? 

Brighton High School boys tennis coach Natalie Meyer understands this, and she pushes her players to succeed. But she also knows there are other important facets of the game.

The Bengals began region competition with a 3-0 record. Meyer is pleased with the standings and the scoreboard, but she’s always happy with the way the boys are carrying themselves.

“My team is off to a great season,” she said. “My boys have played their matches with heart and great sportsmanship. I have had several players from other teams say that my boys are nice to them on the court. I love that! They love tennis and have awesome team spirit.” 

Brighton has what many coaches would consider the ideal combination of experienced seniors and up-and-coming underclassmen. A sophomore, Redd Owen, represents the team at the first singles spot. Derek Turley, a senior, was a starter on last year’s varsity squad. Meyer points out other players such as Parker Watts, a junior; Mitch Smith, a sophomore; Blair Glade, a senior; Jared Hunt, a senior; and Justin Allen, a junior, as players who “have been working hard since last year to move into varsity positions this year.”

Not only have the players improved their skills through hard work and practice, but Meyer is impressed with their commitment and mindset as the difficult region schedule heats up and heads toward the postseason. 

“My players have outstanding attitudes,” she said. “They have great respect for all the coaches, other players and each other. They come to practice every day ready to learn and give their all. They even stay after practice to work on additional skills and come to optional practices on Saturday mornings. They support each other and are dedicated to becoming the best. The rest of the season presents some challenges against some tough opponents, but the Brighton boys tennis team will be ready to give their best. I love Brighton tennis and am grateful for the opportunity that I have to coach this team.”

While many coaches might deem the success of a season on whether their team wins a specific number of games or how far the team advances in the postseason, Meyer looks for other things. She and her players have their sights set on the postseason, but she’s looking farther down the road than this season. 

“As far as obtaining a region or state title, we need to continue winning our region matches and qualify for state through the region tournament,” she said. “Our season will be a success if each player continues to improve, learn, have fun and learn skills that they can use for a lifetime.”         

Meyer gives credit to her assistants Jason Newell, Rich Watts and Brandon Owen. She also relies on the leadership of team captains Tyler Daynes, Parker Larson and Glade.         

As the season winds down, Meyer identifies a few keys in qualifying as many players as possible for state.     

“We need hard work, correct positioning, mental toughness, team spirit and a positive attitude,” she said.        

The Class 5A state tournament will be May 18–19 at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City.