Rowland Hall captures 3A championship – Deseret News

Rowland Hall has always prided itself on its academics, but the Salt Lake private school has also built an athletic tradition on the tennis court.

That performance was demonstrated again Saturday afternoon at Liberty Park as the Winged Lions fielded entries in all five championship games and captured another 3A state championship trophy.

“We won it last year, but we had a lot of returning players,” said coach Rich Francey, who was photographed accepting many of the team's trophies.

In near perfect weather conditions, Rowland Hall won two singles titles and one doubles title, finishing with 65 points. Waterford came second with 45, followed by Ogden (33), Juab (22) and Richfield (21).

Last week, Rowland Hall edged Ogden to win its regional title and Francey expected Waterford to once again pose the toughest challenge in the state.

Rowland Hall, Waterford and Ogden finished 1-2-3 last year, and the Ravens won the state title in 2022, finishing a single point ahead of Rowland Hall.

Rowan Hodell of Waterford competes in the 3A state championships at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 18, 2024. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Eric Lu was the Winged Lions' best hope for scoring points this year, and the No. 1 singles player didn't disappoint. He won all six tournament matches in straight sets and claimed his third straight singles title with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Kyler Williams of Juab.

Surprisingly, Lu said he had never heard of Williams until this point and had never competed against him in previous years or at other tournaments.

“He is a good player. He put up quite a fight,” Lu said. “I went into the race pretty confident and tried to wear my opponent down. I focus on returns and it's not uncommon for me to have 30 to 40 shots before I try to surprise them and sneak one over.”

Lu and Andrew Murphy were Rowland Hall's singles champions and the team of Eric Brown-Henry Damico won at No. 2 doubles, although Damico was struggling with a pinched nerve in his back and could barely swing his racket in the title match.

Waterford freshman Mack Moore received a trophy for winning the No. 2 singles title and Preston Jenkins-Liam Reddy took the No. 1 doubles crown.

Ogden also earned some respect for his efforts. The Tigers reached the title game in two divisions, but John Winn and the team of Spencer Reeves-Samuel Ondrus lost in the final in straight sets.

“Ogden really nailed it,” Francey said.

Anna Harden

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