Highland Tennis Team Finishes Season Strong

Andrew Gardner, Staff Writer

The Highland men’s tennis team has had a remarkable season in 2023, finishing with a record of 17-7. The team’s performance was a significant improvement from last year when they finished with a record of 12-4. This improvement is a testament to the team’s hard work and dedication, and they are definitely a team to watch out for next year.

Highland’s performance in the state and region tournaments was exceptional. The team finished third in both tournaments, despite facing tough competition from highly ranked schools.

“I think our goal as a team was to get as far as we could into state as we could,” said Junior Spencer Hall. “I think we definitely accomplished that.”

In addition to the varsity team, Highland’s JV tennis team had a remarkable season, taking first in their region tournament and defeating the defending champions, Olympus, in the finals.

“The JV team had a lot of experience this year. Many boys on the JV team had previous varsity experience and played at a varsity level, said Jeanine Elsholz Highland’s head coach. “They cruised through the season – beating most teams by a very comfortable margin.”

Highland faced a number of challenges this season, including inclement weather. Rain and snow forced the cancellation of several matches, which required the team to reschedule and adjust their training. In total, the team had to cancel around 3 to 4 matches

“It was tough at the beginning,” said Senior Cooper Fletcher. “Because we would get ready and prepare for a match and then it would get pushed back a week or so.”

Despite the frustration of several matches getting canceled, the team quickly adapted and found ways to make the most of the situation.

This year, Highland was invited to two tournaments. The first tournament was in St. George. Highland was able to play on the first day, but the second day was cancelled, again, due to rain. The second tournament was in Provo, and the team was able to compete against several schools at the varsity level. Highland rose to the challenge and played well in both tournaments for the time they had.

The team’s seniors have also been a big part of their success. In total, there were 5 seniors on the team. Andy Loosely and Jack Gygi, both have played tennis all four years and have great coaching and leadership experience and were key contributors in double’s competition. Cooper Fletcher is Highland’s third singles player – he was a solid contributor all 4 years at the varsity level. Max Richards and Asher Brickey have been doubles partners most of their high school career and they have great chemistry together on the court. They have been a consistent force for the team all season.

The number of seniors on the team compared to last year is considered to be somewhat low, however, despite the lack of experience among the team, many of the younger players have really stepped up and made significant contributions even at the varsity level.

One of these players is phenom freshman Oliver Mesicek, who played as Highland’s first singles. He made a significant impact in the region tournament, taking first place, and then took third place at the 5A State Tournament.

“Oliver was a great addition to the team… talented, calm under pressure, and never panics. He has come from behind so many times this season,” said Elsholz. “It has been a long time since a 1st singles player from highland won the region championship, but Oliver was able to accomplish it this year as a freshman.”

Mesicek is not the only freshman who contributed to the team’s success. Other freshmen who have made an impact include Luke Beesley, who plays first doubles, and Ilario Noyes and Jonah Watt, who both played second doubles together.

“We are a very young varsity team… they played with a maturity beyond their age,” Elsholz said.

The Highland men’s tennis team is looking forward to a successful season next year. They have a strong group of returning players and have the talent to win the state championship next year.

The team is also expecting to welcome a new talented group of freshmen, who will add depth and experience to the roster next season. The Highland men’s tennis team is a talented and motivated group of players. They are working hard to achieve their goals, and they are confident that they can be successful.