SALT LAKE CITY — Two years ago, then-Weber High sophomore Jacque Dunyon rolled through the 6A girls tennis state tournament at No. 1 singles and won her first state championship.
On Saturday, Dunyon’s high school tennis career ended with a zero in the loss column after she won her third No. 1 singles state championship, sweeping Skyridge sophomore Savannah Johnson 6-0, 6-0 in the championship match.
According to the Utah High School Activities Association record book, Dunyon became just the 10th player to win three singles state championships. Ogden’s Nicky Wangsgard (1986, 88-89) and Juliet Alder (1990-92) were also three-time singles champions from Weber County.
“It feels great, I’m so stoked,” Dunyon said. “I mean, it was a great season, I love Weber High, I love playing for them and I love my coaches. They’re great.”
In the first set, it appeared Dunyon’s match with Johnson would be closer than her other two state championship matches, which she won 6-2, 6-0 and 6-1, 6-1.
Dunyon fell behind love-30 in the first game, then hit two hard serves that forced shanked service returns and won the game with four-straight points.
Tennis is normally seen from the television camera angle high above, which shows the players running back-and-forth along the baseline on their side of the court.
What the camera angles don’t emphasize is a vital aspect of the sport and something that gets taught more as players become more advanced: the depth of a player’s shot, or how close to the baseline a player’s shots land.
Deeper shots force an opponent to go more on the defensive and get them out of their gameplan and comfort zone, which is exactly what Dunyon did to Johnson in 90-95% of their points.
“She was a great player and I was able to use my strengths to break down her shots a little bit, I was really happy with the depth in my shots,” she said.
Many of the first-set points were decently long rallies that ended with Dunyon hitting a hard groundstroke or serve that Johnson got her racquet to, but not enough to get the ball back over the net.
Though the third state championship wasn’t so much a surprise given her track record this year and the previous two years, what happened afterward was.
“By the way, I’m going to BYU,” Dunyon said while posing with her state championship winner’s medal, donning a blue BYU tennis shirt afterward.
Dunyon was previously verbally committed to Arizona State, then switched to BYU earlier this week. Dunyon is rated a 4-star recruit by Tennisrecruiting.net, which tracks college tennis commitments.
“I’ve been going to their football games ever since I was born, I’ve been a Cougar fan my whole life and I can’t wait to be a part of the team,” she said.
“I have three little sisters and we’re all super close, I didn’t want to be far away from home so I’m excited to stay pretty close by.”
Dunyon dispatched West High sophomore Riya Soneji 6-1, 6-2 in the semifinals Saturday morning, using a variety of hard groundstrokes, well-placed groundstrokes, the occasional high shot (it’s called a moonball in tennis) and hard serves.
After helping lead Layton High’s girls tennis team to its first region title earlier this season, No. 2 singles junior Juliana Cooksey marched past Lone Peak’s Sydney Gardner 6-3, 6-0 in the semifinal round before falling 6-3, 6-1 to Skyridge’s Lucy Droubay.
Skyridge won the team title with 22 points. Weber tied for third with eight points and Layton tied for fifth with seven points.
Ogden’s Madi Poorman, who won the Region 10 championship at No. 2 singles, advanced all the way to Saturday’s 4A state semifinals with two wins on Friday. Poorman fell in the semifinals, though, to Averee Beck from Crimson Cliffs 6-1, 7-5.
The Tigers had three state qualifiers in singles: Poorman, Caroline Jessen at No. 1 singles and Jill Millard at No. 3 singles. Jessen and Millard lost in the second round on Friday after each winning their first-round matches.
Crimson Cliffs edged Desert Hills 23-20 for the 4A team championship.