SALT LAKE CITY — Capping an incredible run through the 2013 2A girls tennis tournament, Manti hoisted the championship trophy Saturday at Liberty Park.
“The girls exceeded my expectations today,” said Manti head coach Todd Jorgensen. “I knew they could do it, but in reality I knew the cards would have to fall just right for it to happen. They did and that’s the cool thing.”
Manti becomes the fourth team since 2009 to claim the top spot in 2A girls tennis.
Sisters Arie and Amanda Naylor managed to repeat as state champions in first doubles, besting the St. Joseph duo of Audra Thurston and Ali Koehler in a tight 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 championship match.
“It feels good just because we get to celebrate together. We’ve grown up together and being able to do it feels really good,” said senior Arie Naylor after the championship match. “We just had to stay positive the whole time, even when we got down it was a matter of telling ourselves to keep our heads in it.”
The Templars had a second pair of sisters earn a state title Saturday afternoon.
Abby and Bailey Simons gave Manti crucial points on the final day of the tournament and capped the season off with a 6-1, 6-3 championship victory over St. Joseph teammates Amanda Higgs and Margy Maher in second doubles.
Jorgensen credited the commitment of the Naylor sisters at first doubles in helping the second doubles team, and noted that the Simons sisters caught fire once they were paired together.
“It makes our team strong when someone commits and wants to do that,” said Jorgensen. “It made both our doubles teams strong, especially with the Simons sisters as our second doubles team.
“Once we put them together, and they’re playing that good, I didn’t even have a thought of taking them back apart."
The elder Naylor, Arie, admitted that Saturday was as surprising to her as it was to anybody, while also giving credit to her teammates.
“I definitely didn’t think we could have pulled it out the way that we did, but overall we all worked really hard to get here,” said Naylor. “It ... all ended up really well.”
Wasatch Academy was represented well at Saturday’s tournament, with both first and second singles managing to make it to the title matches.
Waterford senior Grace Peterson got the best of Wasatch Academy junior Sarah Roston for the second singles crown in a 6-2, 6-1 match. Peterson played flawless tennis Saturday, including a three-set victory in the semifinals.
Sophomore Michelle Pritts came out on top in first singles for Wasatch Academy, outlasting previously undefeated Mary Royer from San Juan.
“I was extremely nervous because I knew Mary was undefeated all season,” said Pritts. “So, I was nervous for that because she’s beaten a lot of really good players this season.
“It’s really intimidating. And it makes you play differently too,” said Pritts.
After battling through the first set, Pritts said that midway through the second set was when she felt the tide turn in her favor.
“I’d say probably in the middle of that second set, when I knew I was pretty close to winning,” said Pritts. “It feels really awesome. I wasn’t expecting this going into the tournament, but I’m really happy with how things ended.”
2013 2A GIRLS TENNIS TOURNAMENT
TEAM SCORES: 1) Manti 11 pts; 2) Waterford 9; 3) Wasatch Academy 8; 4) St. Joseph 7; 5) San Juan 6; 6) Delta 5; 7) Rowland Hall 3; 8) Emery 1.