Girls Tennis at Bingham Attempts to Stay Tough Amidst Tough CompetitionOct 04, 2016 05:14PM ● By Billy Swartzfager
Bingham girls tennis team for 2016 (Steve Peterson/Bingham Coach)
By Billy Swartzfager | [email protected]
The Bingham High School girls tennis team has started the 2016 season well, and the players are moving through practices and their matches, focused on their conditioning and preparation leading to the region and state tournaments in October. According to head coach Steve Peterson, who had been with Bingham tennis for 14 years, the team always wants to compete well in its region and has a strong showing at the state event.
“We have had a few region titles and a couple individual state titles, so we expect to contend every year,” said Peterson.
Last season, the Miners placed third in 5A’s Region 3 but went on to place third in state, ahead of all of the other schools in their region. As of Sept. 18, Bingham was in third in the region standings, having lost a tough matchup against region rival Brighton. The Miners lost to the Bengals 4-1on Sept. 1, and the teams won’t match up again until the region finale, which will be played at Brighton the last days of September.
“In addition to region and state, we always look forward to Brighton,” said Peterson, who is eagerly anticipating the rematch.
The girls also lost a close match against Jordan, another region foe, 3-2, on Sept. 7. But, the Miners started their year with a couple of wins against Cottonwood and Taylorsville, winning both 4-1.
The squad only has two returning varsity tennis players from 2015. The remainder of the team is made up of girls who played junior varsity last season or new underclassmen. The two returning varsity players are both seniors, playing first doubles. Abigail Smith and Rachel Winder should compete for a region title, according to Peterson. Playing second doubles and also doing well are Anna Smith and Abigail Degn. Both are freshman but also quite capable of contending, Peterson said.
As well as playing great tennis, Smith is also a team captain who has a big influence on her team.
“She keeps spirits high while also sparking everyone’s competitive nature,” said Peterson. “She is always willing to help other kids when they need it.”
Always expecting to contend keeps the Miners busy at practice. The girls spend a lot of time conditioning themselves for the grueling match play that is tennis. They spend a lot of time on tennis drills to develop and hone their skills on the court. And, they do a lot of match play during practice time to simulate the real thing, always in preparation for upcoming matches against region foes and other teams looking to knock them off.
“We spend a lot of time in practice strengthening them both physically and mentally,” said Peterson.
Bingham’s opponents can always expect a tough match from any one of their players. The team works hard and specializes in never quitting and playing hard until the very end, forcing girls on the other side of the net to play their absolute best tennis.
“We never give up,” said Peterson. “Our players are very scrappy.”
Peterson loves that about the players he coaches, and in his years at Bingham, he has seen a lot of growth in the program. He started as an assistant coach because his children attended Bingham and played tennis, but he has stuck with the team because of the development he has seen and been a part of.
“I am passionate about Bingham tennis, about this program growing and constantly getting better,” he said.
The goal to do well in the region and to also do well in state should be measured soon with the upcoming region tournament at rival, Brighton High School, followed by the state tournament on Oct. 4 and 7 at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City.