Clipper Sports Editor
SALT LAKE CITY — An emotional tournament from start to finish, the Davis High School girls’ tennis team fought to the very end in the State 5A tournament at Liberty Park Saturday.
When it was over, the Lady Darts edged two-time 5A champion Lone Peak by two points, earning the team’s first ever state title in the school’s 100 years of existance.
“There were a lot of tears of happiness,” said first year head coach Andy Wahlstrom of the team’s emotions during the second day of the tournament. “They had been so close in the last three years ... and to finally break through and win was an incredible experience. It was very emotional for me and for the team.”
Entering the season, Wahlstrom said there was a lot of stress on his part as a new coach. Taking over a team that had won four straight region titles, Wahlstrom said, at one point, the season motto was almost “state title or bust.”
“Last year the team was so close,” he said. “They finished second behind Lone Peak, then the year before they were third, and the year before that they were fifth.”
This year, however, he said the state title race was so close that Lone Peak could have tied the Darts for the state title; a tie Davis didn’t want.
“We didn’t want that,” he said. “We wanted the title for ourselves.”
The team’s state title came with a trio of individual state champions. Sisters Breezy and Whitney Turley, a junior and freshman respectively, won their bracket by sweeping their respective opponents in the finals.
Breezy, who won a state title last year, beat Pleasant Grove’s Sarah Clifford 6-1, 6-0, and Whitney took down Morgan Hall of Lone Peak 6-0, 6-2.
Despite being sisters, Wahlstrom said they each have a different style of play once they step onto the tennis court.
“Breezy just has ice water running through her veins,” he said. “She reminds me a lot of Roger Federer, who’s very calm on the court and doesn’t show a whole lot of emotion.”
The opposite was said of Whitney’s play, who is very emotional before, during and after her matches.
“She reminds me of Rafa(el) Nadal,” said Wahlstrom, “because he’s very emotional when he plays, and so it Whitney.”
Freshman Eliza Hafen, Davis’ third singles player, beat out Lone Peak’s Electra Cochran 6-0, 6-4 for her individual title.
Wahlstrom described both Whitney Turley and Hafen as somewhat nervous players before matches, but said “once they get that first point out of the way, they’re ready to go.”
“This is (Whitney and Eliza’s) first year of high school competition, but both of them have a lot of experience,” he said. “They’ve played in a lot of tournaments, but were nervous about playing in high school because they knew there was that team element involved, and they didn’t want to let their team down by losing.”
Despite capturing three individual titles, two over Lone Peak players, the tournament was far from over.
Both of Davis’ doubles players made it to the semi-finals, but lost. After Lone Peak won the first double’s title, all it had to do was capture the second double’s title to tie with Davis.
All eyes on that point turned to that match, which was won by Bingham’s Bethany Morey and Amanda Balls.
Afterward, said Wahlstrom, it all set in for him and his team.
“When Bingham won, I looked over at Breezy and her eyes were watering up,” he said. “Then I looked at Whitney and Eliza and they started to do the same thing; that’s when it all set in.”
Overall, the Darts scored 22 points compared to Lone Peak’s 20.
Bingham finished third, followed by Alta, Pleasant Grove and Viewmont, who all tied for third.