Dude we just won! We just won! We just wonbrstate! Emilee Nicholls said to teammate and best friend, Megan Mayo. The twobrhugged in celebration of a goal that they had set earlier this year.
Emilee, a sophomore atbrSalem Hills High School, started playing tennis in 6th grade, following in thebrfootsteps of her older brother who had taken state in singles.
Emilee said she didn’tbrlike playing tennis until she made the team in 7th grade, and started competingbragainst other teams. Megan Mayo, a Junior at Salem Hills, started playingbrtennis with her family when she was little and tried out for the team in 7thbrgrade but didn’t make the team.
Both Emilee and Meganbrhad the drive to improve in tennis, which eventually led them to the SalembrHills tennis team, and then to doubles teammates making big goals.
“Megan and I set thebrgoal to take state as soon as we knew we were going to be partners,” Emileebrsaid.
Emilee agreed thatbrtaking state was a goal the two of them had made, but she knew that it would bebrhard.
“Emilee and I had thisbrgoal the whole season and at times it didn’t seem like it would happen,” Meganbrsaid. “But we just kept going and I feel like it made it so rewarding!”
The two are teammates,brcompetitors, and friends, who use all three things to make it work.
“I love my teammates,brespecially my best friend and partner Megan, who makes practice and the seasonbrso fun!” Emily said. “Playing against our own teammates is hard because youbrwant to be friends but you have to be opponents. My teammates are so nice andbrso sweet.”
Megan also said howbrimportant it was to have a teammate who was also her friend.
“Megan is the sweetestbrand most genuine girl you will ever know!” Emilee said. “She is the mostbrhardworking and talented tennis player you’ll ever meet. Not only is she abrgreat player but is my best friend! I wouldn’t trade this season for anythingbrelse! She knows how to get me pumped up when I am down and give me a positivebrquote or joke to make me laugh! She honestly is so strong and can get throughbrany setback or hard time. She really is a winner on and off the court.”
Both athletesbrencourage those who want to try playing tennis to just do it, and say not tobrgive up when things are hard.
“Don’t give up if youbrdidn’t achieve your goal; use it to work harder,” Megan said. “Emilee and I arebrproof of that. Setbacks are there to make us stronger and make us work harder.”
In the state tournament for 5A, the duo played four teamsbrand won them all. They first played Farmington, winning 6-0 6-3. The secondbrround, they played Timpview and won 7-6 6-4. Third round was Maple Mountain,brwhich they won 7-6 7-5. The final round was against Springville, wherebrthey won 6-3 6-1, and the state title. (Brownbris a sophomore at Payson High School and lifelong soccer player. He enjoysbrlearning about the athletic journeys of other student-athletes through writingbrthis column.)