New region, same goals for Bingham girls tennis team
Aug 22, 2019 03:40PM
● By Josh McFadden
The Bingham High girls tennis team.
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
With Bingham High School moving from Region 4 to Region 3 this season, the team will get to see plenty of new opponents.
However, the foes will be closer to home, as the Miners now face off against Copper Hills, Herriman, Jordan and Riverton as well as East. Bingham had been playing against Utah County teams the past few years in region action.
“We are excited to be a part of a new region closer to home this year,” head coach Mark Smith said. “We know they are a strong region with lots of good players, but we hope to do well.”
Smith’s main emphasis is on player development and on providing a positive experience for the girls. Still, he understands the importance of the players competing and striving for success.
“We always want to compete and play the best we can at each position,” he said. “We try to focus not so much on winning but on playing relaxed and improving every day. That being said, we do expect to do very well this year. Of course, our ultimate goal is to win region and get as many girls as possible to the state tournament.”
The Miners have a deep squad this season, with all seven varsity players from last year coming back. Abby Degn, Alexia Cox, Anna Thomas, Hannah Smith, Malia Hansen, Olivia Dabo and Sammee Aubrey will headline the team. Their coach has nothing but praise for their talents, work ethic and preparation.
“The girls have put in a lot of court time since last season and have come prepared this year with their strokes dialed in,” Smith said about his pupils. “They are solid players that have developed a variety of shots. Many of our girls play year-round in [United States Tennis Association] tournaments, giving them a lot of match experience, which really helps them feel relaxed and ready for region play. They are tough, mental players that get stronger as the match goes on. I'll take our girls in three setters anytime.”
Mark Smith believes senior Hannah Smith (who took third place at state with Degn in first doubles last year) and Aubrey, along with Dabo, a sophomore, have a good shot at winning region at their positions and placing high at state.
“[Hannah Smith] is tall and strong and comes at you hard,” Mark Smith said. “[Dabo] has very strong consistent strokes and does not make many mistakes making it very hard on her opponents. You can almost see her mind ticking as she methodically picks apart her opponents. [Aubrey] is steady and consistent and gets everything back. She’s the kind of player that many girls want to avoid. If there is a tournament to be found, Sammee is in it. She plays a lot of tennis, which explains why she is a dangerous player. Both Olivia and Sammee played in the state tournament last year as well, which will benefit them this year.”
The family-like atmosphere on the team makes Mark Smith’s job easier. He is pleased with the girls’ attitudes and how they treat everyone on the squad.
“They are all great girls,” he said. “They have good attitudes and get along well with each other. They really are fun to be around. I love seeing the improvement that happens from the beginning to the end of the season and just seeing how they all gel together as the season goes on.”
Mark Smith isn’t too worried about what opponents do. He knows if his girls give their best effort and enjoy each practice and match, positive results will come.
He’s also optimistic about the team’s chances in the postseason and believes this is one of the most talented groups he’s had at Bingham.
“I am really excited to see how far we can go in region and state,” he said. “We should have the strongest team we have had in many years. Who knows, it could be a magical season.”