Erika Olsen’s final bid for a state girls’ tennis title came up just short last weekend, but she left an indelible mark on Bear River High athletics and set the bar high for future competitors to come.
Olsen’s senior season came to an end in the No. 1 singles final at last week’s 4A state tournament, where she fell in three sets to breakout Green Canyon freshman Bailey Huebner.
Just like she did at the region tournament a week earlier, Huebner battled back from a one-set deficit to outlast Olsen, this time for a 4A crown. Huebner went 3-0 against Olsen in 2021 and all three matches went the distance — the final one by a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 scoreline.
Olsen ended her stellar high school career without a state title, but still goes down as one of the top players in Bears’ history. Heading in as the second seed from Region 11 in No. 1 singles, Olsen defeated two of the top players from Region 10 in the state tournament, taking down Averee Beck from Crimson Cliffs and top-seeded Kylie Kezos of Dixie, both in straight sets, to set up the all-Region 11 final against Huebner.
Also representing Bear River at state were Katie Jo Litchford, who fell to top-seeded and eventual state champion Cami Stanger of Crimson Cliffs in No. 2 singles; and the second doubles tandem of Rachel Epling and Madison Mickelson, who bowed out when they were bested by Crimson Cliffs’ Whitney Matheson and Bailey Speakman. Litchford, a junior, and Epling and Mickelson, both sophomores, will be back next year to make another run at bringing state titles to Garland.
Green Canyon dominated at the event, which concluded Saturday at Salt Lake City’s Liberty Park. The Wolves accumulated 21 points, which was 11 more than defending champion Crimson Cliffs. Desert Hills, the 4A runner-ups a year ago, was a close third with nine points. Ridgeline and Bear River tied for fourth place with three points apiece.