By Alyssa Corbett
Special to the Intermountain Catholic
SALT LAKE CITY - The 2011 Judge Memorial Catholic High School girls’ tennis team earned the school’s seventh UHSAA 3A State Championship Oct. 10. Along the way to the state championships, the girls ran through the pre-season, region and post-season unblemished, earning the Region 10 championship and the divisional championship.
With the exception of the first doubles team of sophomore Julia Corbett and freshman Lizzie Loughridge, who were seeded second, the Lady Bulldogs entered the state tournament seeded first. After day one, Judge was the only team in 3A to have all players qualify for the semi-final round.
"This was one of the strongest teams I’ve ever had at Judge Memorial," said coach Lani Wilcox. "Seems like the girls all peaked at the right time. Going into the semis, we felt good as a team."
The 2011 tourney got off to a rough start with unseasonably cold and rainy mid-October weather. Originally scheduled for two consecutive days, the tournament was rescheduled to have the opening rounds on Saturday, Oct. 8, with the finals played the following Monday.
"We were really proud of the whole team. Everyone really stepped up going into the second day of competition and focused on what they each needed to do for the team," said senior captain Alyssa Corbett. "Every point mattered; every player mattered; and no one ever gave up."
The 2011 Judge squad was a young team; the only seniors on the state squad were Corbett and her doubles partner, fellow captain Ali Clayton.
"It fell to Ali and me to get across the importance of each player and each opportunity," said Corbett. "We did have a young team, and two new players this year, two frosh and one sophomore. We could not have accomplished what we did without them each playing up to their potential."
Along with earning the state title in dominating fashion, individual state championships were earned by Whitney Weisberg, freshman, second singles; Katie Isawaki, sophomore, third singles; and Corbett and Clayton, seniors, second doubles.
"Ali and I have played doubles together since seventh grade, so winning state was pretty emotional for both of us," said Corbett. "Seeing the excitement in the younger players showed us that we were able to assist them in getting some experience under their belt and in laying the foundation for the future. Everyone on the squad fully embraced the team concept; it was a really great year."
In addition to the players already mentioned, the State squad included Emily Murnin, first singles. Other members of the 2011-2012 roster were Mimi Andrews, Chloe Brashear, Hayley Dahlhauser, Olivia Loveland, Sarah Anne Nakamura, Gabby Paul, Gabi Savchuk, Claudia Start, Olivia Start, Carolyn Taylor and Jessica Weyman. Head coach is Lani Wilcox and assistant coach is David May.
This is the first state championship for the Lady Bulldogs girls’ tennis since the Tom Bettin-coached 1988 squad. The girls were honored at halftime of the Oct. 20 final regular season home football game.
"We wanted a chance for the entire Judge community to show their appreciation to and pride in the girls for their hard work this season," said Dan Quinn, Judge Memorial’s director of athletics. "They are an outstanding group of student-athletes who are impressive in and out of the classroom."
Alyssa Corbett is a senior at Judge Memorial Catholic High School.