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Timpview girls tennis doubles duo wins state, T’Birds finish third

By Jared Lloyd - | Oct 11, 2021
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Members of the Timpview girls tennis team (from left), coach Scotty Wynn, Hailey Miner, Olive Esplin, Aubrey Page, Sofie Thompson, Kylie Woods, Emma Wilkinson, Anna Stewart and coach Nate Warner, pose for a photo after the 5A state girls tennis tournament in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (Courtesy photo)
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The Timpview doubles team of Kylie Woods (left) and Emma Wilkinson pose for a photo after the 5A state girls tennis tournament in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (Courtesy photo)
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Timpview freshman Hailey Miner hits the ball during the first round of No. 3 singles competition at the 5A state girls tennis tournament at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Timpview junior Anna Stewart hits a shot during the first round of No. 2 singles competition at the 5A state girls tennis tournament at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Timpview senior Sophie Thompson hits a serve during the first round of No. 1 singles competition at the 5A state girls tennis tournament at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Timpview senior Sophie Thompson hits a shot during the first round of No. 1 singles competition at the 5A state girls tennis tournament at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

The Timpview girls tennis team came into the 2021 5A state tournament as the defending champs but also know it faced stiff competition from Highland and Woods Cross.

Everything was going to come down who could get a point here or a point there as the three schools battled for the title on the final day of competition on Saturday.

In the end, things didn’t quite fall right for the Thunderbirds, who came in third as the other two schools tied for the top spot.

“They were really good teams,” Timpview head coach Nate Warner said. “They both had some newcomers this year that were really good, so I knew it would be very tight. I thought if the ball bounced our way we’d have a chance to possibly win. But we were right there. It sort of played out sort of how I expected although I was hoping that we could somehow pull out.”

Leading the way for the Thunderbirds was the No. 1 doubles team of seniors Emma Wilkinson and Kylie Woods.

“They were the defending state champs and they had the goal of going undefeated this year,” Warner said. “It was about as close as it could get but they are tough players.”

Wilkinson and Woods faced the Woods Cross duo of seniors Elena Smart and Peyton Kossin in the championship match, which turned out to be a tense, hard-fought battle.

The Thunderbirds won the first set but the Wildcat team rallied to win the second and force the deciding third frame.

In that set, Wilkinson and Woods actually got behind and had to fight back to force a match-deciding tiebreaker.

“It was their toughest match of the year,” Warner said. “The tiebreaker went back and forth but they ended winning, 8-6. They showed a lot of mental toughness. They’ve been such a great team. They’ve played a lot of matches together and are back-to-back state champs.”

Timpview almost swept the doubles titles as senior Aubrey Page and junior Olive Esplin reached the finals and won the first set over Highland juniors Lucy Foulks and Grace Harman. The second set went to a tiebreaker but the Ram athletes were able to seize the momentum.

“We got down and in a tiebreaker that’s really tough, since you only go to seven points,” Warner said. “We kind of ran out of steam after that but the Highland team is a great team. That was the only loss our girls had all year.”

A victory there would’ve vaulted the Thunderbirds past the Rams into second place but it wasn’t the only spot where Timpview could’ve gained ground.

Warner noted that the draw with five regions creates extra challenges. That was particularly apparent in No. 3 singles.

“She had to play the best player in the state (Park City junior Reagan Harrison) in the second round because of the draw,” Warner said. “I think if she was on the other side of the bracket, she could’ve reached the finals. That would’ve given us three more points right there. But sometimes the ball bounces your way and sometimes it doesn’t.”

He described this year’s 5A tournament as being “bittersweet” because Timpview had some great successes but wasn’t quite able to get back to the top.

“We’re really proud of what the team accomplished,” Warner said. “It was a great season. We have a good tradition in girls tennis at Timpview and they really work hard. They’re committed to each other and to getting better. Our goals are to do your very best and try to compete to win every match. Overall it was a great, great season for us.”

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