With just over one month to go before the state girls tennis tournaments, Top of Utah squads are playing as many matches as the weather and schedule-makers allow.
The goal for many of the area squads is improving on last year’s finish. For the St. Joseph Jayhawks, that’s a tall chore indeed.
St. Joseph won the 2011 2-A/1-A team title a year ago, a magical year for girls sports at the Ogden school.
While a couple of players are back for Gary Griffenhagen’s Jayhawks — specifically Katie Panushka and Kelsey Almony — St. Joseph will go through some growing pains as they build toward the state tourney.
Davis finished third a season ago, as Lone Peak and Alta tied for the state 5-A championship. The Darts return most of their players from last year’s Region 1 title-winning squad, and should be the team to beat again this season.
Layton and Weber will also battle for top spots.
In Region 5, Bonneville finished eighth at the state 4-A tournament, but that won’t do for the Lakers in 2012.
Bonneville won its division at the Cache Valley Invite a couple of weekends ago, and the Lakers return most of their squad from a season ago.
Bonneville finished a strong third behind East and Highland at the 14-team Ogden Invitational, staged last weekend at Ogden High and Mount Ogden Park. Singles players Hannah Jones, Hailey Daniels and Maren Conolly looked strong in the tournament as the Lakers finished ahead of Region 5 foes Sky View, Logan and Mountain Crest in the tourney.
In Region 6, Clearfield has a much-improved squad, but resides in a tough region. A year ago, Bountiful and Woods Cross finished as runners-up to state 4-A champion Skyline, and the Braves and Wildcats look poised for another title run.
In Region 11, Bear River and Ogden will have to solve the Grantsville challenge before tackling state 3-A foes.
Ogden finished third behind Judge Memorial at last season’s state 3-A tournament, but the Tigers are young and still developing. Abbey Anjewierden and Cera Wright lead the way.
Bear River finished ninth at the Ogden Invitational, despite losing to the host Tigers in Saturday’s finale. Singles players Courtney Comstock and Kenta Rhodes lead the Bears.
Ben Lomond and Morgan have improved rosters as well. Grantsville may be the team to beat in Region 11.
The state 2-A/1-A tournament is set for Sept. 29 at Salt Lake City’s Liberty Park.
The other three classifications compete the next week at Liberty Park: the 5-A girls play Oct. 3 and 6; the 4-A girls play Oct. 4 and 6; and the 3-A girls play Oct. 5 and 6.