Prep girls tennis: Position switch strengthens Olympus
Olympus senior Anika VanBoerum couldn't have been more surprised when she walked into tennis practice this fall.
Her new coach was asking her to play No. 1 doubles with a girl she'd never met after playing No. 1 singles for the Titans.
"I'd never played doubles before, and the switch caught me completely by surprise," she said.
VanBoerum didn't know what to think, but she trusted her coaches, Darren and Kevin Watts. She also remembered that playing No. 1 singles left her feeling overmatched at times, so she decided to give it a shot.
VanBoerum quickly developed chemistry with partner Megan Bell. She drew from the experience of her partner, who had won the No. 2 singles state competition for Woods Cross last season.
"Anika picked up the doubles right away, and I just love playing with her," Bell said.
An 11-0 start validated her coaches' decision.
"It was a matter of deciding who could contribute immediately to the success of the team," Kevin Watts said.
Watts said he wanted the team to feel the success of winning and being competitive in matches with teams like Skyline as a precursor to the future success of a program that had 34 girls out for tennis this season.
Bell and VanBoerum entered the Region 7 tournament with an 11-0 record, advanced to the final, but lost to a tough to a team from Hillcrest in the final to finish second at the region tournament.
"After playing doubles this year, I realize what having a teammate can do for you," VanBoerum said. "When I'm down, Megan knows exactly what to say, and I think overall doubles teaches you a lot about your game."
When the pair opens tournament play Thursday against a team from Highland, VanBoerum once again will look to the experience of her partner and now good friend, Bell.
"We've been working on our strategy, but we'll take it one match at a time and give it everything we've got," Bell said.
Olympus' No. 2 doubles team of Emily Watts and Hannah Durham also had a perfect 11-0 regular season but finished third at the Region 7 tournament. Watts is the granddaughter of coach Kevin Watts.
The Class 4A tournament starts Thursday at Liberty Park.
Brighton out to rebound
After opening its season with a 5-0 record, the Brighton football team dropped two straight to Alta and Cottonwood.
With three games left, the Bengals likely will need to win two of three to make the playoffs. Brighton hosts West Jordan on Friday, then takes on Jordan before finishing the regular season at Copper Hills.
Olympus cross-country runners Nate Stringham and Annie Condon found success against loaded fields at the Westlake Invitational on Sept. 27.
Stringham, a junior, finished 15th with a 5-kilometer time of 16 minutes, 18 seconds, while Condon, a sophomore, finished 11th in 19:27.
Freshman McKenna Lloyd played No. 1 singles for Olympus, a sign the future looks bright for the program.
Olympus senior Anika VanBoerum played No. 1 singles last year but moved to doubles at her coaches' request to strengthen the Titans' lineup.