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The City Journals

Bengals dominate Region 7 boys tennis

May 17, 2018 03:12PM ● By Josh McFadden

The Brighton Bengals ran roughshod over the competition at the Region 7 boys tennis championships. The Bengals won the title by taking first in three of five positions.

By Josh McFadden | [email protected]

It’s one thing to win a region title, but it’s even more impressive to do what the Brighton boys tennis team did.

The Bengals captured the Region 7 crown with an impressive performance from all seven of their varsity competitors. First singles player Redd Owen and second singles competitor Mitch Smith each took first individually. Third singles teammate Derek Turley come close to winning it all as well, finishing second. In addition, the first doubles pair of Jared Hunt and Parker Watts finished at the top, while second doubles players Blair Glade and Justin Allen were second.

“We had a fabulous tournament,” said head coach Natalie Meyer. “My boys played some of the best tennis they have played all season. Every match was a good, hard-fought battle. I am proud of their sportsmanship on and off the court and the dedication they had to each of their matches.”

Also, out of the right categories for the JV/alternate tournament, Brighton players had six first-place finishes, a second-place showing and a semifinal run.

All of Brighton’s varsity players moved on to the state tournament, which will be held May 18–19 at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City.

In a season where the Bengals produced excellent results on the court and enjoyed tremendous success, Meyer also acknowledges that she will remember little things and some of the behind-the-scene events.

“I have loved the enthusiasm, dedication, sportsmanship and respect that this team has given this season,” she said. “They are teachable and want to learn how to become the best. I will remember the fun times we have had at practice, riding buses to away matches, hanging out at the region tournament all day and getting to know the families.”

In Region 7, Brighton had to contend with league foes Cottonwood, Jordan, Corner Canyon, Alta and Timpview. Though the Bengals had to focus during the regular season, Meyer knew the state tournament would be even more demanding. It’s at state where the most talented teams and players in the state gather for intense competition.

“We will have to play our best tennis and have solid mental toughness,” Meyer said. “Another key factor is the draws. First singles and first doubles have one type of region rotation. Second singles and second doubles have a different region match up rotation, and third singles has a separate region rotation from that. We will have to be paired with the right schools at the right time for us to accumulate enough points to contend for the state title.”

Heading into state, Meyer expected all of her player to compete for individuals titles.

“That is why they play the positions that they do,” she said. “Between the coaches and the boys, we have come up with what we feel is our best shot at taking state. The state draws are oozing with talent, and it will be a hard-fought battle at all positions.”

There’s no reason to think the Bengals can’t continue their success next season. Owen and Turley each have younger brothers ready to join the program next year as freshmen. Meyer has high hopes for the next few years, as long as the boys put in the effort during the next several months leading into the upcoming 2019 campaign.

“Next season is going to be great as well,” she said. “We have other young tournament-playing players that will be in ninth-grade next year. I am excited for the upcoming future of Brighton tennis. My returning players need to continue to work hard, take lessons, play tournaments and mentally prepare for our next season. Playing high school tennis is oftentimes more pressure for these young men because they are playing for their school and not just themselves.”