Brighton tennis excited for challenges of new season
Aug 22, 2019 12:19PM
● By Josh McFadden
Brighton girls tennis head coach Natalie Meyer has 32 players on her squad. The Bengals are now competing in Region 6 of Class 5A. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Meyer)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
Every sports season brings different challenges and opportunities. For the Brighton girls tennis team, the 2019 campaign will feature new opponents and a demanding slate of matches.
After spending the past few seasons in Region 7, realignment has moved the Bengals to Region 6 where the team will compete against Cottonwood, Highland, Hillcrest, Murray, Olympus and Skyline. New league foe Olympus shared the state crown last year, while Highland was fifth.
“We have a large and tough region,” head coach Natalie Meyer said. “State is also full of highly qualified competitors. The girls will have to be at the top of their games both physically and mentally in order to place in the region tournament and qualify to get to the state tournament. The team will also need to rally around each other and continue to create a strong spirit of unity.”
Meyer does have the luxury of welcoming back some four varsity starters from last season’s team. Senior Lucy Dalgeish will play first singles, and sophomore Rebecca Schwartz will play second singles. The other two returners are seniors Laura Lundahl and Tessa Hopkin. Dalgeish and Hopkin, along with Maddy Fisher, are the team captains.
“This season is still young, and we are playing off for positioning on a daily basis,” Meyer said. “We have many qualified young ladies who are vying for the rest of the spots.”
Meyer won’t lack for options. She has 32 girls on the squad, including 10 freshmen that are impressing her with their abilities.
“[The freshmen] are already working their way up the challenge ladder and showing off their skills,” she said. “The players from last year have been taking lessons, playing tournaments and getting ready for a strong season. I love the enthusiasm of this team.”
Qualifying the entire team for the Class 5A state tournament won’t be easy. Still, Meyer won’t evaluate the squad based on its win-loss record or what it places in region or at state. She’s more concerned about individual development.
“We always consider a season a success if each girl has been able to improve their game, gain friendships from the team and enjoy the journey of the little successes that keep each one coming back for more each year,” she said.
Coaching at Brighton is a family affair for Meyer. Her brother is an assistant on the team, and her mother also helps by running the region tournament. She’s also trying to build the program for the future and help young players improve their skills. This summer, the team sponsored a camp for kids ages 4 to 14 where 76 participants showed up. Meyer said she’ll hold the camps again next June and is “excited to enlarge the Brighton tennis family.”
Meanwhile, Meyer is eager to see what her team can produce against a new set of opponents.
“Everyone has been putting many hours in on the court to move up into the open spots,” she said. “The team is young, teachable, working hard and getting to know each other quickly. The girls love tennis and are working hard every day.”