SPORTS - "Lady Bears gain traction on the tennis court"

BEAR RIVER HIGH - By Cari Doutre, Headliner Publisher - September 13, 2021

Rachel Epling, Erika Olsen, Katiejo Litchford and Maddie Mickelson, September 11, 2021 - Courtesy photo

With just two weeks left until the end of the Region 11 season, the Bear River High School girls’ tennis team is picking up some traction on the tennis court with several big wins recently and one super-star senior leading the way.

The Lady Bears are currently 3-5 overall in region. This week they hit the road for their last two region match ups on Tuesday and Thursday against Sky View High and Mountain Crest High – two teams Bear River has defeated earlier this season.

Before taking on the final two weeks of region competition before the 4A state championships, the Lady Bears took a trip to St. George for a weekend tournament September 10-11.

It was at the St. George tournament that Erika Olsen, a senior at Bear River High, who took home the championship at first singles going undefeated, 5-0. It definitely wasn’t Olsen’s first big win of the season either. Olsen is currently 6-1 in region play after losing just one match to her Green Canyon High opponent on August 24. That was her first, and only, loss this season.

Last weekend’s tournament in St. George tested Olsen’s ability to handle the pressure needed to earn the win on the tennis court. And she succeeded. In the finals for the first single championship, Olsen proved her strength mentally and physically making a big comeback in the end. After trailing 6-5, she came back to win three consecutive games for the win 8-6.

“We are so proud to see how well she was able to perform well under pressure,” said Chrisdean Epling, assistant coach for the Bear River High girls’ tennis team.

“The finals match was pretty heated,” added Epling.

At second singles, Bear River’s Katiejo Litchford took third place at the tournament. Sophomores Rachel Epling and Maddie Mickelson also finished in third place in St. George over the weekend at second doubles. Senior Shannon Epling at third singles finished the tournament in fourth place.

This season coaches Robert and Chrisdean Epling are not only celebrating those wins on the court but also the progress the team has been making. A focus on developing strong mentalities for each of the girls, win or lose, is also something the Eplings want to emphasis throughout the program now and in the years to come.

Up next for the Lady Bears tennis team are two Region 11 tournaments on the road starting with Sky View High on Tuesday, September 14. They will also travel to Mountain Crest High on Thursday, September 16.

The Region 11 varsity championship tournament will be held September 22, at Green Canyon High starting at 3 p.m. Junior varsity Region 11 teams will have their championship tournament on September 24, starting at 9 a.m. at Green Canyon High.

The 2021 4A girls’ tennis state championship tournament will be held October 2-3, at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City.

Get caught up with the Bear River High girls’ tennis team so far this season below.

August 23 – Logan 4, Bear River High 1

Erika Olsen: First Singles (6-1, 6-2)

August 24 – Green Canyon 5, Bear River 0

August 26 – Bear River 3, Sky View 2

Erika Olsen: First Singles (6-0, 6-1)

Katiejo Litchford: Second Singles (6-3, 6-0)

Rachel Epling and Maddie Mickelson: Second Doubles (6-2, 6-2)

August 31 – Bear River 3, Mountain Crest 2

Erika Olsen: First Singles (6-1, 6-0)

Katiejo Litchford: Second Singles (6-1, 6-3)

Shannon Epling: Third Singles (6-1, 6-2)

September 2 – Logan 4, Bear River 0

Erika Olsen: First Singles (6-2, 6-0)

September 7 – Ridgeline 4, Bear River 1

Erika Olsen: First Singles (6-1, 6-0)

September 8 – Green Canyon 4, Bear River 1

Erika Olsen: First Singles (6-1, 6-0)

September 10 and 11 – St. George tournament

Erika Olsen: First Singles, 1st place (5-0)

Katiejo Litchford: Second Singles, 3rd place (2-3)

Rachel Epling and Maddie Mickelson: Second Doubles, 3rd place (3-2)

Shannon Epling: Third Singles, 4th place (2-3)

Photos by Cari Doutre/