In rebuilding year, Skyline boys tennis finishes second in region
May 17, 2018 02:36PM
● By Josh McFadden
Connor Robb-Wilcox serves as No. 1 singles player for the Skyline boys tennis team, who finished second in region this season. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
Every coach has to deal with the challenge of replacing key players from the previous season. Skyline boys tennis coach Lani Wilcox had a quite a task this season and still managed to guide her squad to a second-place finish in Region 6.
Last year, the Eagles captured the Class 4A crown. This season, Wilcox oversaw the development of a mostly new team. She was pleased with the progress her young players made and with the resiliency her team showed throughout the regular season.
“My team last year was a special state championship team,” Wilcox said. “This season has been a pleasant surprise because I felt it was going to be a rebuilding year. The boys have really stepped up their games and have come together as a team. It has been a pleasure to coach these boys.”
The Eagles went 3-2 in region matches, falling to Olympus and Highland. Skyline couldn’t overcome its rivals from Olympus at the region tournament, but it did beat out Highland for the runner-up position. First singles player Connor Robb-Wilcox and second singles players Adrian Wilde each took first in their respective positions. Wilde’s victory was somewhat unexpected, as he upset a favored competitor from East. At third singles, Brady Smith placed third.
Wilcox had to be creative at the region tournament when she found out her first doubles players would be unavailable for the tournament due to some academic commitments at the school. She shifted second singles players Hayden Carter and Will Kendall to the first doubles slot. The duo came through and performed well at the tournament.
“I have been very impressed with the play of my varsity members since for many of them, this is there first time on varsity,” Wilcox said. “Because of AP and IB testing, my number 1 doubles team was unable to play in the regions tournament, so I had to move my No. 2 doubles team to No. 1. They got to the finals, losing to an Olympus team. So, I was quite surprised and pleased at the same time.”
The Class 5A state tennis tournament was held at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City May 18–19 (after our press deadline). Even though the Eagles missed out on a region title and had some young players on the varsity squad heading to state, Wilcox was eager to see what her squad could do. Ultimately, she wanted her team to continue improving in all aspects of the game.
“The keys to contending and winning a state title would be that all of my players will need to play some of their best tennis and getting to at least the semifinals and or finals,” she said. “My expectations for the state tournament are for my players to have fun and the enjoy the experience. There are always challenges in tennis because not only is it a physical, but it’s a mental game while competing.”