It’s easy to believe a trio of high school tennis players when the friends say that they’re all evenly matched against each other and anybody could win when they square off.
That was the word Friday with Alta junior Emilee Astle, Olympus junior Emma Jewell and Woods Cross sophomore Sicily Ferreira.
But it’s also easy to see that Astle is the one to beat, especially when it comes to state tournaments, until further notice.
Astle captured a No. 1 singles state championship for the second consecutive year, this time in Class 5A after taking the 4A girls’ crown a year ago.
And Astle’s title-clinching 6-3, 6-1 victory came against her friend Jewell on Friday.
“I was a little nervous coming into this match,” Astle said. “Emma Jewell, she hasn’t played first singles before, and she’s a great player. And we’ve played together since we were little and we’re best friends, so I knew this would be a really hard match.
“I’d have to play my best if I was going to beat her.”
Astle had beaten back Ferreira 6-2, 7-5 in the semifinals earlier in the day, while Jewell knocked off Wasatch’s Alysha Damron 6-2, 6-3 at Salt Lake’s Liberty Park.
Jewell seemed intent on extending every point until Astle eventually made a hitting error.
But the 6-footer from Alta rarely made the strategy profitable.
“We’ve played so many times before. She’s won lots, and I’ve won lots,” Astle said. “For me to win, I’ve got to hit a lot of good shots in a row.”
Jewell said: “I came in trying to be aggressive, hit my shot and make her get one more ball in the court. She played really well today. She was making all her shots.”
But Jewell’s points from her runner-up finish helped Olympus take the team championship for Class 5A, edging Timpview by six points.
Olympus’ Elly Lloyd won No .2 singles, and Timpview’s Gwen Bryson grabbed first in No. 3 singles.
The doubles crowns went to Corner Canyon as Addie Sepulveda and Raili Jenkins took the No. 1 doubles title, while Lizzie Simmons and Emma Heiden won at No. 2 doubles.
Jewell wasn’t deterred by the thought of running up against Astle one more year — even after the straight-set loss.
“She’s a good competitor and a good friend,” Jewell said. “And I think we make each other better.”
Team scores • 1. Olympus 20; 2. Timpview 14; 3. Corner Canyon 13; t-4. Alta 7; t-4. Springville 7; t-4. Wasatch 7; 7. Woods Cross 6; t-8. Brighton 4; t-8. Skyridge 4; 10. Skyline 3; t-11. East 2; t-11. Maple Mountain 2; 13. Bountiful 1.
State title matches
No. 1 singles • Emilee Astle, Alta, def. Emma Jewell, Olympus, 6-3, 6-1.
No. 2 singles • Elly Lloyd, Olympus, def. Emma Santiago, Wasatch, 6-2, 6-2.
No. 3 singles • Gwen Bryson, Timpview, def. Kate Longson, Olympus, 5-7, 6-0, 6-4.
No. 1 doubles • Addie Sepulveda-Raili Jenkins, Corner Canyon, def. Anzle Stohl-Megan Jewell, Olympus, 6-1, 6-0.
No. 2 doubles • Lizzie Simmons-Emma Heiden, Corner Canyon, def. Rachel Gouff-Jamie Faux, Timpview, 6-2, 6-4.