Alta tennis looking to disrupt Region 7 favorites
May 07, 2018 12:36PM
● By Ron Bevan
Concentration keeps Alta senior Ryan Woodhead battling between the No. 1 and No. 2 singles slots on the tennis team. (Photo: Ron Bevan/City Journals)
Alta boys tennis coach Krista Anderson has a dilemma, one many high school coaches would love to have.
A pair of seniors are staying competitive enough Anderson has had to try both in the No. 1 singles slot and see which keeps the slot.
“(They) have been battling for that position the past few weeks,” Anderson said.
But for now it looks like Alta will be led on the courts by No. 1 singles player Alex Dame, a senior who has been on the team since he was a freshman. Dame was on Alta’s No. 2 doubles team last season. He and his partner, Jayden Russell, were the third seed out of Region 7 and won their first match at state last year before bring knocked out of the tournament in the quarterfinals. Russell has since graduated and Dame worked hard enough to reach the top singles spot on Alta’s team this season.
“He is number one because he is our number one seed,” Anderson said. “(At the beginning of the season) the players play matches to earn the top seven spots for our varsity team. We then place them in singles or doubles. Dame is a hard worker and has beautiful shots. It’s fun to watch him hit because he doesn’t hold back.”
Sitting behind Dame in the No. 2 singles slot is Ryan Woodhead, another senior who is also in his final season of a four-year run on the team and has swapped places with Dame a few times for the No. 1 position.
“Woodhead runs everything down and has a lot of natural talent,” Anderson said. “It is fun to watch him because he plays smart tennis.”
Jacob Beck sits in the No. 3 singles slot. Beck, a junior, is making his first appearance on the varsity team this season.
“Watching Beck play reminds you of how much fun it is to play because he can’t stop smiling when he plays,” Anderson said.
This year’s No. 1 doubles team consists of sophomores Ashton Renfro and Rhett Turley. Renfro returns to varsity doubles, having played last season with his older brother, Conner, who has since graduated. The Renfro brothers also made it to the quarterfinals at state last year.
“Turley was on the junior varsity team last season,” Anderson said. “He hit all summer with Renfro hoping to become his doubles partner. The two have great chemistry together, and I look forward to watching them become a stronger doubles team over the next few years.”
The final varsity slots are taken by senior William Pearson and sophomore RJ Bonds, who comprise the No. 2 doubles team.
“I have had a hard time setting the final doubles team because both Pearson and Bonds are good singles players,” Anderson said. “I mixed them up a few times, but they play great together so now I keep them in the doubles team.”
The team is playing in Region 7, which is a very tough region this year in 5A tennis. Programs such as Timpview and Brighton are also in the region and have been tough to beat at the state level.