After hectic changes, Skyline boys tennis places ninth in state
Jul 10, 2018 11:49AM
● 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]
A year after winning the 4A state title, the Skyline boys tennis team ran into some roadblocks this season.
The Eagles still had a top-10 finish at state but fell short of some team goals. Still, considering it was missing some key players in the postseason and had to scramble to shift players around, Skyline had some admirable performances at state.
The Eagles’ top competitor, No. 1 singles player Connor Robb-Wilcox, wasn’t able to play at state because he was competing at a national tournament. Also, Skyline’s No. 1 doubles team missed the region tournament because of testing and couldn’t play at state. To compensate, head coach Lani Wilcox had to move her No. 2 doubles team to the No. 1 position and her No. 1 JV doubles team up to No. 2 varsity.
“It was chaotic, to say the least,” Wilcox said. “But I was happy to qualify four positions to the state championships.”
The Eagles placed ninth overall at the state tournament, which was held May 16, 18 at Liberty Park. No. 2 singles player Adrian Wilde had the top showing for Skyline. He advanced to the semifinals by defeating Ryan Woodhead from Alta, 6-1, 6-1, and Cooper Jenkins from Wasatch, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
“Adrian Wilde exceeded my expectations,” Wilcox said. “He brought his A game for sure. He showed a lot of athleticism and gutsy playing.”
No. 3 singles player, senior Brad Smith, went 5-3 during the regular season but lost in the first round at state, 6-1, 6-2. The No. 1 doubles tandem of senior Hayden Carter and freshman Will Kendall fell to their opponent in the first round, 6-2, 6-3.
Going from a state title in 2017 to falling behind the pack this season was disappointing for Skyline. Wilcox said the team struggled to come together.
“The team as a whole had a good season but fell short of my expectations,” she said. “I feel we played well for the season as individuals but was a little disappointed that we lacked team cohesiveness. It was a lot different from last season’s state championship team.”
Wilcox expects her team to improve next season and more closely resemble the 2017 version. A big reason for this will be the return of Robb-Wilcox, who will be a junior. He won a state title as a freshman and has gotten valuable experience on the national scene. Wilcox is also excited about a group of incoming ninth-graders, who she thinks will contribute to the team immediately.
“Because of the incoming freshmen, our team should be competitive from the season all the way through state,” she said. “I’m excited to have more competitive players joining our team but just love coaching the boys.”
Before the Eagles come back together next spring for the 2019 season, the players will compete on their club teams. Wilcox said if you hope to perform well against the best players in the state, you must put in the effort throughout the entire year.
“High school tennis has gotten quite competitive,” she said. “You can’t just play right before the season and expect to do well.”