Laura Seitz,
Park City's Gabby Rockwood competes in 3A tennis against Ridgeline at Liberty Park tennis courts in Salt Lake City on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.
I have a lot of confidence in my singles players making it all the way through, so if we can get our doubles all the way through to Day 2 we should be in good shape —Heather Nicholas

Park City High's girls tennis team is in a familiar position heading into this week’s 4A state tournament — smack dab in the middle of the bull's-eye.

“They’re getting used to it. They know people are gunning for them,” said Park City coach Heather Nicholas.

The Miners’ past two state championships were in Class 3A, and this year they’re competing against pretty much the same teams in 4A after the UHSAA realignment.

Park City’s top players are no stranger to the setting. All three singles players are competing in their third straight state tournament, while its first doubles team also competed at state last year.

It’s the Miners' experience that could be the difference as Park City looks to edge contenders like Desert Hills and Ridgeline for a third straight title. All three teams swept all five positions in their respective regions.

“I think this is the first year in our region we won every line, one through six. We’ve gotten some second places in the past, but it was nice to see them pull it out in each line,” said Nicholas.

Desert Hills didn’t drop a set in any of its region meets, and then dropped only one set in the region tournament.

“Our region really pushed us hard. The teams in our region aren’t that weak. I think that was a good preparation for us,” said Desert Hills coach Dave Smith. “It will be a great state tournament. My girls are really looking forward to it.”

Desert Hills’ quest for the state title could rest on its doubles teams. In a preseason tournament earlier this year Desert Hills beat Park City in first doubles, but the Miners returned the favor in second doubles.

Considering the strength of Park City’s singles players, Desert Hills realistically needs to sweep the doubles competitions to wrack up the necessary points to be in the hunt for the team title at Liberty Park this Saturday.

The strength for Park City and Ridgeline is in singles play.

The reigning first singles champion is Ridgeline’s Naya Tillitt. As a freshman last year she beat Park City’s Livi Rockwood in three sets, 4-6, 6-0, 6-0. They’re on opposite sides of the bracket this year and will likely header for another finals showdown.

In a recent USTA match Tillitt beat Rockwood, now a junior, again.

Rockwood is no stranger to championship success either, though, as she won the 3A first singles title as a freshman two years ago.

Her twin sister Gabby Rockwood has a strong state tournament résumé as well, with a runner-up finish at second singles as a freshman and then a first-place finish as a sophomore. Last year she beat Ridgeline’s Kristen Johnson 6-0, 6-3 in the final, and they’re on opposite sides of the bracket again.

Park City’s third singles player, Taylor Matz, is seeking her third straight title.

“I have a lot of confidence in my singles players making it all the way through, so if we can get our doubles all the way through to Day 2 we should be in good shape,” said Nicholas.

Desert Hills’ singles players consist of two sophomores and a freshman. Its first two singles players are on the same side of the bracket as a Park City or Ridgeline competitor, but it’s on the opposite side of the bracket at third singles.

Ridgeline catches a break in the brackets at first doubles, as it’s on the opposite side of Desert Hills and Park City.

That could help both teams pick up valuable team points in a race that should be up for grabs on Saturday afternoon.

Class 4A

Friday’s first round

First Singles

Upper bracket

Rachael Dursteller, Green Canyon vs. Meghan Vehar, Spanish Fork

Morgan Behymer, Desert Hills vs. Aubree Allen, Bonneville

Livi Rockwood, Park City vs. Shayli Habibian, Snow Canyon

Sailor Magness, Orem vs. Sara Ortiz, Logan

Lower bracket

Brielle Callahan, Pine View vs. Pia Lorbeer, Tooele

Naya Tillitt, Ridgeline vs. Taylor Tolbert, Salem Hills

Kendra Hancock, Payson vs. Betsy Hixson, Sky View

Victoria Fidler, Stansbury vs. Angela Crooks, Dixie

Second Singles

Upper bracket

Caroline Jesse, Ogden vs. Mimi Bowman, Orem

Kristen Johnson, Ridgeline vs. Candice Gubler, Hurricane

Faith Hess, Desert Hills vs. Amberli Barben, Mountain Crest

Breanna Winkel, Spanish Fork vs. Lauren Sorge, Juan Diego

Lower bracket

Ashley Kezos, Dixie vs. Marie Anderson, Green Canyon

Sydney DeGraw, Payson vs. Meghan Wold, Bonneville

Gabby Rockwood, Park City vs. Hannah Johnson, Salem Hills

Annie Spach, Logan vs. Hannah Obray, Pine View

Third Singles

Upper bracket

Madison Poorman, Ogden vs. Hannah Jenkins, Logan

Mackinzie Telford, Desert Hills vs. Kylie Smith, Spanish Fork

Aspen Jones, Orem vs. Raelie Madrid, Dixie

Alli Phillips, Green Canyon vs. Nicole Amedee, Bonneville

Lower bracket

Tavah DeHart, Salem Hills vs. Addie Bronson, Snow Canyon

Lucy Lyons, Ridgeline vs. Chanda Bigelow, Stansbury

Taylor Matz, Park City vs. Hannah Payne, Bear River

Cameron Miner, Pine View vs. Kailie Snow, Payson

First Doubles

Upper bracket

Heather Roskelley/Cambrie Anderson, Logan vs. Dannika Hancock/Sage Staheli, Payson

Erica Evans/Abbie Carmack, Desert Hills vs. McKenna Baker/Kammy Hamilton, Tooele

Brooklyn Thompson/Emme Phillips, Park City vs. Annie Heaton/Ashley Stevens, Dixie

Eliza Bowman/Alyssa Chandler, Spanish Fork vs. Lindsey Larkin/Kelly Larkin, Bear River

Lower bracket

Ryan Blaser/Charisse Snow, Pine View vs. BreeAnn Mason/Georgia Alley, Juan Diego

Emily Pehrson/Ali Wolford, Ridgeline vs. Kaitlyn Callahan/Kassidy Callahan, Uintah

Ali Greer/Abby Dunn, Orem vs. Grace Goble/Grace Mickelson, Green Canyon

Maddie Johansen/Hannah Anderson, Stansbury vs. Charlotte Apple/Addie Southam, Snow Canyon

Second Doubles

Upper bracket

Mia Thurber/Kenzi Knudsen, Stansbury vs. Erica Allen/Tessa Clayton, Spanish Fork

Madi Brenchley/Avery Chadwick, Ridgeline vs. Eme Benson/Kendra Parker, Snow Canyon

Tia Turley/Lyndsi Graf, Desert Hills vs. Macy Newman/Halie Davis, Bear River

Kaity Smith/Paige Paxton, Salem Hills vs. Ana Rico/Kylie Furukawa, Juan Diego

Lower bracket

Tess Larkin/Kalli Beckstrom, Dixie vs. Madi Gray/Sicily May, Green Canyon

Isabel Adams/Gabby Bailey, Orem vs. Keanna Williams/Abi Winn, Ogden

Erin Case/Amelia Jorgensen, Park City vs. Cozette Caron/Thobeka Talbot, Payson

Juliette Hart/Kate Jenkins, Logan vs. Olivia Obray/Katrina Hafen, Pine View