Positive attitude, work ethic to carry Brighton girls tennis through tough competition
Aug 23, 2018 03:45PM
● By Jana Klopsch
The Brighton girls tennis team has gotten its season underway. The team returns some key starters from last season. Head coach Natalie Meyer and her players have chosen their 2018 motto as: "Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much." (Photo/ Roseanne Newell)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
Tennis, like any sport, requires specialized skills and abilities, especially when you’re playing against highly competitive teams. As the Brighton girls squad proves, there’s much more than these elements to achieve success on the court.
Brighton Head Coach Natalie Meyer emphasizes having the right attitude and mindset as well as building strong bonds with teammates. Her approach has worked so far, and she hopes it will help carry the team as it goes up against some of the top teams in the state.
“Every young lady on the team this year has a good nature about her,” Meyer said. “They are hard-working, teachable, coachable and look out for each other. They have been working hard to either move up from the position that they had last year or make the team as a newcomer. They spend hours every day in the hot weather practicing to do their best. They care about each other. Each girl knows they have a unique place on the team and that their contributions matter.”
Interestingly, Meyer hasn’t set any goals to win a certain number of matches or to advance to state. She knows her players will compete against some experienced, talented players and teams. She’s more concerned that girls do their best and enjoy each practice and match.
“My expectation is to create a positive learning experience for each young lady so when the season is over, each one will have a love for the game and for each other,” Meyer said. “As always, we are in a tough region. We hope to come through region play with a record that can qualify the team to go to the state tournament. Along the way, we enjoy the competitiveness and camaraderie that comes from playing the teams in our region.”
Meyer welcomes back two returning starters at the singles positions. Senior Carli Elggren will hold down the No. 1 spot, while fellow senior Brynley Olsen will be the team’s No. 3 singles starter. At the No. 2 single spot, freshman Rebecca Schwartz steps into a big role on the varsity squad. Meyer hadn’t yet set the doubles teams early in the season, as a handful of players were still vying for the positions.
Meyer is happy with the way her players treat one another and with how much they enjoy playing. She believes playing at this level is more about having a positive experience than picking up victories.
“We have fun,” she said. “They are positive, hard-working, dedicated and teachable. High school tennis should be about learning a sport for a lifetime and creating lifelong memories and friendships.”
Brighton will face Alta, Corner Canyon, Jordan, Cottonwood and Timpview in Region 7. Meyer knows each of these teams poses significant obstacles. Many of the top squads have players who compete year-round and who have several years’ experience on the court.
“We are competing against some well-seasoned and highly competitive teams,” she said. “Many of the girls in our region and across the state play local, intermountain and national tournaments. If you didn’t start this level of competition at a young age, the gap is hard to close.”
Brighton finished eighth at the Class 5A state tournament last season. Meyer believes her girls have improved and have dedicated themselves in all aspects of the game.
“The girls are focused on developing all aspects of their game,” she said. “They have been practicing and playing tournaments since last season ended. I have many new young ladies this year who spent hours and hours practicing to get a spot on the team. We have a committed mentality to improving and having a successful season.”