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South Valley Riverton Journal

Riverton boys tennis breaking in newcomers, striving for competitiveness

Apr 09, 2024 01:50PM ● By Josh McFadden

Mason Maxwell and the Riverton tennis team have a mix of youth and returners. (Photo courtesy Ron Ence)

The high school boys tennis season got underway in early March. It didn’t take long for Riverton High School head coach Ronald Ence to like what he saw from his boys. 

Battling late-winter/early spring weather, Riverton was able to get in some matches in the first few weeks of the season. The Silverwolves have a lot of youth on the team, and nine of the 20 players are newcomers to the sport. But while the team lacks some experience, it has plenty of other attributes—traits that every coach loves to have on a team. 

“Everyone has shown great attitude and effort,” Ence said. 

Competing in Region 2 won’t be easy for Riverton, as the league boasts some deep, talented teams. Riverton faces Corner Canyon, Herriman, Mountain Ridge, Bingham and Copper Hills. The Silverwolves will see some of the state’s top tennis players throughout the season. Ence is looking for his players to work hard on getting better each day and giving it their all.

“There are some amazing players around the state and in our region,” he said. “So, we are expecting each player to strive for overall improvement in skills, which will lead to more wins per position.”

Riverton has some returning seniors who will lead the team. Gavin Trickett occupies the first singles spot for Riverton, while Ashton Affleck is the No. 2 singles player. The first doubles spot belongs to Boston Carter and Jordan Nielsen. Some of these players are trying new positions this season. 

“We hope they can do well in these varsity positions,” Ence said. 

On some teams, there is a talent drop-off as you move through the lineup. This is especially true in tennis. However, Ence has observed that there isn’t much difference from player to player. This can make practices more intense and help with the preparation for matches when the stakes are higher and the speed of the game increases.

“One of the strengths of the team I see is how even the ability level is among the team members,” he said. “We are already having very competitive practice matches among the team members.”

Among the things Ence wants his players to improve on throughout the season is committing to doing the right swing movement consistently. He’s emphasizing fundamentals and the basics to help the players find success in matches. 

Riverton will compete against region foes over the next few weeks in preparation for the region tournament and state meet. The Class 6A state tournament is slated to take place at Farmington High School, May 4. 

Ence is looking forward to seeing the boys progress throughout the season. He is also grateful for how well they get along and with the hard work they put forth away from the sport, particularly in the classroom. Working with such fantastic young men makes his job more enjoyable and much easier, he said.

“I enjoy this group for many reasons,” he said. “They treat each other with fun and respect. They are trying to be legit student-athletes.” λ