Season in review: Hillcrest High School girls tennis
Oct 31, 2016 11:43AM
By Sarah Almond
Several members of the Hillcrest girl’s tennis team pose for a photo in their uniforms prior to a match. Head coach John Dallimore said that he’s excited to see how the young team advances between this season and next. (Brianna Bernstein/Hillcrest Tennis Player)
By Sarah Almond | [email protected]
Midvale, Utah - For the Hillcrest High School girls tennis team, the 2016 season was one of silver linings: on paper, the Huskies’ record didn’t appear to be a winning one. However, with great team leadership, superior academics, and outstanding improvement, Hillcrest ended their season with resilience and pride.
“I think the season went really well,” said head coach John Dallimore. “We played in a really competitive region and so our record wasn’t great, but we had some great improvement from the girls.”
After tryouts in early August, 18 girls were welcomed to the Huskies’ team—a majority of whom had little to no experience on the tennis court.
“We have a great group of girls,” Dallimore said. “From academics, to sportsmanship, to improvement; I mean they just were great.”
Despite the Huskies’ reputable team culture, their roster size paled in comparison to large, competitive high schools like Judge, Skyline, and Olympus.
“Obviously, when you have that many to choose from and you live in an affluent area where kids have personal coaches, play year round, and have played competitive tennis for 12 years, they are going to be a challenge,” Dallimore said. “Whereas all but two of my kids had ever had a coach, and so the only instruction they got in their entire tennis careers was from me.”
This is Dallimore’s first year as head coach for the Hillcrest tennis program. Though he helped out with the team last year, it wasn’t until late summer that he was asked to take over for the previous head coach, who stepped down for personal reasons.
“I’m not a professional coach. I’m just a dad helping out,” Dallimore said. “I got a little bit of a late start, but I had two things that I focused on this year: I wanted all the girls to improve, and I wanted all the girls to conduct themselves professionally.”
Senior Brianna Bernstein has been playing on the Hillcrest tennis team since she was a freshman. For her, having Dallimore as a coach was an anticipated and fresh adjustment.
“Having Coach Dallimore step in was a positive change because he provided us with more knowledge of tennis and fresh ideas,” Bernstein said. “He was able to get out there and play with us ladies and provide us with insight as to what we needed to improve on.”
From top to bottom, Dallimore says that every single one of the team’s players made significant strides throughout the two-month-long season.
“The good news is that every match we would play, whether we would win or lose, the other coach, or parents, or even the kids would say ‘those are the nicest girls that we have ever played,’” Dallimore said. “They were great sports, and they handled themselves very nice on the court—win, lose, or draw.”
Dallimore credits the Huskies’ reputable culture and sportsmanship largely to the team’s strong leadership and respective team unity. Bernstein says that being respectful is simply part of what it means to be a tennis player at Hillcrest.
“Representing Hillcrest Tennis is representing a program that demonstrates good sportsmanship,” Bernstein said. “Since my freshman year we have always tried to be nice within our games and emphasize no put-downs amongst our team members.”
Dallimore explained that many Hillcrest players are outstanding academic students, with many of the team’s players earning a 4.0 GPA or close to it.
“As far as a group of kids, I couldn’t have had a better group of kids,” Dallimore said. “And I’m really looking forward to next season.”