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The City Journals

Taylorsville girls tennis takes on state tournament

Nov 05, 2020 12:59PM ● By Greg James

Warrior senior Paige Smith qualified and competed in the state tennis tournament despite only playing the sport for two years. (Greg James/City Journals)

By Greg James | [email protected] 

The entire girls varsity tennis team at Taylorsville High School qualified for the state tournament.

“All of the varsity girls qualified, and it feels good,” Warriors head tennis coach Lennie Torres said. “All of our girls have worked so hard this season, and we have a lot of new girls that have never played tennis before. For many of our varsity girls, last year was their first year.”

The Utah High School Activities Association sponsors girls tennis in the fall. The top four singles and doubles teams from each region qualify for the state tournament in each qualifying bracket: first singles, second singles, third singles, first doubles and second doubles. In all, each school could send seven players to the tournament. 

The Warriors had 27 girls participate on this year’s team. They recruited players by word of mouth, inviting friends to come out to play, and through Instagram.

“There are some fun pictures of the girls on our page (tville_girlstennis),” Torres said. “They have all come out, worked hard and had fun.” 

Senior co-captain Lexi Huff finished 9-1 in her region contests. As the team’s first singles player, she lost 6-2, 6-1 at the state tournament. In her only region loss this season, she was playing hurt. Exhausted and ready to give up, she mouthed the words ‘I can do this’ to her coach. She dug deep, and although it wasn’t enough to win that day, she proved she had the heart of a champion.

“Lexi played well and fought hard,” Torres said. “She is super competitive and the best all-around player on the team. She has grown a lot this season and improved her game. She leaves it on the court as she does every day in tennis and life.” 

Jackie Maowbi (second singles) and Paige Smith (third singles) both lost in the first round of the state tournament also but learned a few lessons along the way.

“I thought tennis was the hardest sport,” Maowbi said. “I like to challenge myself. I stayed after school and worked and worked.”

“I feel like you get both sides of an athlete,” Smith said. “You need to have the surgeon-like skill to hit the ball where you need to, but everyone is kind and polite. It can be very competitive at times.”

Smith and Maowbi began playing tennis last season on the Warriors junior varsity team. 

“Our seniors were always out there working with the new girls,” Torres said. “Paige is a natural leader; Jackie played really well this season.” 

In first doubles, Athena Lam and Brooklyn Lee placed second in Region 2. Logan Wareham and Maelynn Torres placed third in second singles. 

“We have good chemistry and get along well,” Wareham said. “You really need to know how your partner plays the game. We do have to get along even on our bad days.”

The team could not defend its region title, finishing third this season, but the players felt like it was a successful year.

“It was a great season,” Smith said. “We made new friends and had some wins along the way. I would tell anyone to come to play tennis it is so much fun.”

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