SALT LAKE CITY — Bountiful swooped in, virtually under the radar, and finished with 18 points to earn the 4A girls tennis crown Saturday afternoon.
It was their second title in three years, as the Braves hoisted the first-place trophy in 2010.
"I'm am so proud of them. They've worked so hard, every one of them," said Bountiful head coach Katy Hall. "We were kind of the underdogs, and they really played well along with being hard workers. As hard as any group I've had individually and as a team."
In a surprising turn of events, Bountiful claimed sole possession of the overall team title before playing any of its championship events.
With their 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 victory in the semifinals over Skyline's duo of Noel Bell and Sarah Cassell, Chloe Stocking and Sara Bennion had the title locked up for the Braves before they ever sent players into their respective title matchups.
"We didn't even know until our coach told us after the match," exclaimed the excited pair. "We still want to take the second doubles title and just have fun with our next match."
The Braves' duo went on to hand the Highland team of Emily Watts and Hannah Durham a 6-1, 6-1 defeat for the No. 2 doubles prize and what turned out to be Bountiful's lone individual title.
Orem saw its fourth-place finish in 2011 morph into a second-place finish Saturday, with senior standout Erica Valimaki claiming a second consecutive first singles title.
Valimaki outlasted Bountiful senior Kanela Adamson in the 6-2, 6-3 title-match showdown, and credited the day off between competitions as crucial to her success.
"I think it really helped," said Valimaki. "I got a chance to get myself together and really make a solid plan for what I was going to do the next day. It just feels like everything paid off."
While Skyline takes a break from the top of women's tennis in Utah, Sydney Monson was the lone Eagle to walk away with an individual title. The senior handed a 6-2, 6-2 defeat to Bountiful junior Mariah Miller in the No. 2 singles title match and finished her career with consecutive state titles after earning the third singles crown in 2011.
Highland junior Sarah Koelliker bested fellow junior Sara Jones 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 in the third singles title match, while Hannah Wallin and Ruby Parkin lifted East to a third-place finish with a 6-1, 6-2 win over the Orem duo of Kristee Rowley and Beth Ann Crane in the No. 1 doubles title duel.
"I think that it was how they fought for positions, and it made a big difference," Hall said. "They knew they had to perform in that spot in order to keep in and it was kind of a big deal, for sure."
At Liberty Park
1. Bountiful 18; 2. Orem 13; 3. East 12; 3. East 12; 5. Highland 8; 6. Timpview 7; 7. Olympus 5; 8. Bonneville 3; 9. Hillcrest 2; 9. Logan 2; 9. Salem Hills 2; 9. Sky View 2; 9. Woods Cross 2; 13. Box Elder; 13. Mountain View.
Erica Valimaki, Orem, def. Alexandra Wallin, East, 6-1, 6-1.
Kanela Adamson, Bountiful, def. Kate Cusick, Timpview, 6-2, 6-4.
Mariah Miller, Bountiful, def. Carol Foote, Highland, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.
Sydney Monson, Skyline, def. Laura Hartle, East, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).
Sarah Koelliker, Highland, def. Brynn Peterson, East, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Sara Jones, Bountiful, def. Caroline Cantera, Skyline, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Kristee Rowley & Beth Ann Crane, Orem, def. Kalani Kau & Jen Farnsworth, Timpview, 6-4, 6-3.
Hannah Walllin & Ruby Parkin, East, def. Hannah Choi & Megan Rimmasch, Hillcrest, 6-2, 6-1.
Emily Watts & Hannah Durham, Olympus, def. Anne Bitter & Cami Craig, Orem, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).
Chloe Stocking & Sara Bennion, Bountiful, def. Noel Berrie & McKay Fenstermaker, Hillcrest, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.
Erica Valimaki, Orem, def. Kanela Adamson, Bountiful, 6-2, 6-3.
Sydney Monson, Skyline, def. Mariah Miller, Bountiful, 6-2, 6-2.
Sarah Koelliker, Highland, def. Sara Jones, Bountiful, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.
Hannah Walllin & Ruby Parkin, East, def. Kristee Rowley & Beth Ann Crane, Orem, 6-1, 6-2.
Chloe Stocking & Sara Bennion, Bountiful, def. Emily Watts & Hannah Durham, 6-1, 6-1.
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