BEAR RIVER HIGH - By Justus Wise, Headliner Sports Editor, September 21, 2021
Erika Olsen has been living and breathing tennis ever since she was a kid.
As a senior at Bear River High School this year, Erika has prepared and trained for her final year in high school. She attended camps throughout the summer and showed her talents off at a huge tennis tournament in Colorado where she did exceptionally well among hundreds of exceptional tennis players. She never gets an off-season, attending camps or tournaments year-around.
She focuses primarily on singles play and prefers it that way.
“I like to be in control. I love being on a team and forming those relationships. It’s awesome. I still like to have those personal victories though and to be able to rely on myself when needed,” Erika said.
Erika, one of Bear River High girls’ tennis team captains this year, has seamlessly transitioned into the leadership position.
“I am trying to get them to peak in region and I love cheering on these girls. I love pumping them up. Sometimes I am more stressed out than anyone else on the team. I am trying to share everything I have gained throughout my time playing,” she said.
That leadership and motivation is helping too. Erika said she feels the team is progressing more and more every day where they will be a real contender in not only region but state competition as well.
The season has gone “swingingly” for this senior team captain. Erika recently went undefeated at a tournament in St. George claiming the first-place spot. In Region 11 play she has a near perfect undefeated overall record. Her only loss this season in region was against an opponent from Green Canyon High.
When speaking of the only opponent lucky enough to enter the court and leave with her dignity, Erika only referred to her as “Green Canyon.” No first name basis between region rivals.
“I think I just psyched myself out too bad playing her. It was a mental thing. I can beat her. I will play her again in region for sure and she will do good in state and so I might play her two more times,” she said confidently.
And all are eagerly awaiting the grudge match to end them all on September 22, during the Region 11 championships.
Erika has a more encompassing vision, not satisfied with just the Region 11 championship.
“I definitely haven’t reached my peak yet. That will be during state. I have to keep working. Nothing is for granted. State’s going to be hard,” Erika said.
And those that know Erika believe that she is more than up to the task.
High school graduation is still months away and with her senior year just beginning a month ago, Erika has yet to decide what’s next for her.
“I would love to play college tennis. I don’t want to go to some random small school. We are still trying to figure that out. If I were to play, I would wait a year, train and then try and go on to somewhere big. I would love to play at BYU. That’s a big dream of mine,” she added.
Erika has not reached her tennis prowess alone either. She has had plenty of support and love along the way.
“My neighbors the Rigby’s have coached me since I was a kid and they have helped me grow and get to where I am right now. They are all amazing. I am so grateful for everything they have done to support me,” she said.
Erika, the daughter of Ryan and Brenda Olsen, also credits her family for her success on the court.
“My parents and older siblings have done awesome in all they do, and it would be perfect to just get where they’re at right now. I look at them as big examples of mine,” said Erika.
And there’s more.
“Ashley Barty is one of my favorite professional players. I love how she plays, and I could see myself playing like her,” she added.
The Bear River High girls’ tennis team begins the Region 11 championships today, September 22, at Green Canyon High. This year’s 4A state championships will be held at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, October 1-2.