Melissa Low is up for a challenge, and that is surely what she will receive this season playing tennis for Woods Cross.
Low won one of the Wildcats’ two Class 4A state doubles titles a year ago, but as she steps onto the court this week to begin practice for the upcoming season, the familiar faces are few and far between.
“I think we will only have two seniors this year,” said Low, a senior, who won the No. 1 doubles title last year with then-senior Kate Cowley. “Our team’s going to be pretty young.”
Even the coach is new — Joey Johnson, who coached the boys’ team in the spring, replaces Joe Cowley, who stepped down after leading Woods Cross to a tie for second behind 4A champion Skyline last November.
Low’s role on this year’s squad is yet to be determined, save for the part she will play as leader and role model to her younger teammates.
While defending a state title is appealing, Low said she would welcome the challenge of trying to raise the trophy on the singles side this time around.
Low has years of experience playing doubles at the junior level throughout Utah and the Rocky Mountain region. She won a singles title in a local tournament last November, and reached the semifinals in back-to-back tournaments in June.
Low won three singles matches last weekend at the ITA Summer Sizzler in Denver.
“I think I want to try to play singles and see where it takes me,” Low said. “Trying something new and seeing if I could get a state title in singles … I think it would be fun.
“I’ve been playing a ton this summer. I did decent in most of my tournaments.”
The Wildcats were supposed to have two returning state champions back this fall. Junior Megan Bell, who won the No. 2 doubles title with partner and graduated senior Lauren Bretzing, informed the team this week she will not be back this season.
Bell will play this season at Olympus, after moving to the Holladay area.
“She originally planned to drive up and stay at Woods Cross,” Johnson said. “She called [Monday] to let us know she changed her mind. We understand. It didn’t come as that much of a surprise.”
Low said Bell’s departure is disappointing, but understandable.
“When she called to tell me she was going to Olympus, I was bummed by it because we are pretty good friends,” Low said. “And she’s a good player. It’s definitely going to impact our team. But I told her I respect her decision and wish her the best.”
Johnson said he will use the first week of practice to get a feel for the roster before setting positions. Johnson’s daughter, Lauren, played No. 3 singles a year ago and joins Low as the only two players returning from those who competed at state.
“We start trying to work out combinations pretty early,” Johnson said. “There’s a challenge process that goes into effect as well that determines some of that.”
Woods Cross tennis reloading
Woods Cross loses three of its four players who comprised its two state title-winning doubles teams a year ago.
Melissa Low, the lone returner from that group, says she would welcome the challenge of trying to win a state title in singles this year.
Junior Megan Bell will transfer and play at Olympus this season, after moving to the Holladay area.