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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Despite challenges with weather, Brighton boys tennis plans to hit its goals

May 02, 2019 01:28PM ● By Josh McFadden

Seniors on the Brighton boys tennis team have led the charge, along with some underclassmen, to put the Bengals at the top of Region 7. (Photo by Rosanne Newell.)

By Josh McFadden | [email protected]

You never know what you’re going to get with springtime weather in Utah. High school sports teams across the state faced that in March and April. The Brighton boys tennis team has felt some frustration, but the Bengals continue to work hard in pursuit of a region title

At press time, the Bengals were 3-0 overall and 2-0 in Region 7 matches, defeating league opponents Alta and Corner Canyon. Head coach Natalie Meyer described the weather as “brutal,” as matches against Cottonwood and Jordan were rescheduled. 

Still, her players have set their sights on preparing for every outing, regardless of whether Mother Nature cooperates. She loves the competitors and their attitudes and mindset.

“(The players) are working hard and anxious to be on the court every day,” Meyer said. “We have been dodging rain, snow and cold temperatures so far. All players are working hard and coming together as a team. They are a respectful group of young men. I love the attitude of each young man and the commitment they have to Brighton tennis. In the conversations that I have had with each of them, they will say, ‘I will do whatever you need me to do, Coach.’ That’s a true team mentality.” 

Meyer knows individual skill isn’t enough to produce a championship team. Success takes a strong coaching staff that knows how to reach players and motivate them to produce on the court when it matters most. She’s grateful for her assistants and the time they’ve put into the season, even though many games fell prey to poor weather. 

“I also have an amazing coaching staff that I work with: Jason Newell, Rich Watts and Brandon Owen,” Meyer said. “They bring years of expertise and coaching talent to this team. The team is lucky to work with such talent.”

In what has been a strange season so far, Meyer still raves about her team’s victory over Lone Peak earlier in the campaign. The Bengals won 3-2 over the defending Class 6A champions, thanks largely to the No. 1 doubles tandem of Parker Hopkin and Hardy Owen. The freshmen came up big, winning the third set 7-5 to push the Bengals past the state powerhouse Knights. A 5-0 victory over Corner Canyon also showcased the team’s talent and dominance at every varsity position. 

Individually, Meyer has rave reviews for several of her players for the work they’re doing on and off the court. 

“Redd Owen is continuing his level of excellent tennis,” she said. “His brother Hardy Owen and Parker Hopkin have shown great poise and maturity in their matches. Parker Watts and Mitch Smith are a seamless doubles team; they don’t even have to talk to each other to know where they are on the court and who is taking what shot. Justin Allen and Jacob Simmons are working hard at No. 2 doubles.”

Meyer is impressed with her players’ work ethic as well. Some of the boys, such as Simmons, stay late to improve their game, while JV players and alternates practice long hours and even come to practice on Saturday mornings. 

  “Everyone is working hard to establish their spot on the team and improve on a daily basis,” she said.

Once the Bengals reschedule all their matches and conclude the regular season, Meyer is optimistic her squad will produce well at the state tournament. 

“If we continue to stay healthy and figure out our best lineup, we should show great results,” she said. “We never underestimate opponents, and we always give 100 percent. You can tell when you see us practice or play that we love tennis!”