‘Three amigos’ serving for Eagle athletics’ centennial championship
The Skyline Eagles boys tennis team are undefeated in region so far and hope to contend for a state championship. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
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The matchup had just finished between the Skyline and Olympus boys tennis teams—in which Skyline won all five matches—when an Olympus coach was speaking with Skyline head coach Lani Wilcox.
He told Wilcox he thought Timpview would take state, but after playing the Eagles, he wasn’t so sure.
“The thing this year is if the stars align, we have a pretty good shot at it,” Wilcox said.
The Eagles were dominant in Region 6 a year ago, taking the region title going 30-0 in all individual matches.
“I’m hoping we go undefeated again all the way through (the) region (tournament),” Wilcox said.
Wilcox said the team has a triple digit goal to go along with its region conquering. Skyline athletics currently sits at 99 state championships.
“That gets them stoked because 100 would be a nice round number to have for a state championship,” she said.
After a sixth-place finish in 2016, the Eagles have every opportunity to improve that result with the arrival of No. 1 singles player, freshman Connor Robb-Wilcox—son to the head coach and ranked 70th in the country.
“[Connor] is so mentally tough that its frightening,” Wilcox said of her son. “He can lose first set 0-6 and come back and win the next two. He's like a bulldog, he hooks on you and he won't let go.”
The addition of Connor, with established veterans junior Ryan Boddington and senior Dawson Robb-Wilcox (Connor’s older brother), should give the Eagles more depth and more opportunities to go deep at the state tournament.
Wilcox coached the Judge Memorial girls tennis teams to back-to-back championships in 2011 and 2012 with depth as a key contributor to its success.
Boddington, with his relaxed playing style, played No. 1 singles last year with Dawson at No. 2. Both moved down with Connor’s entrance making for less pressure on the other two.
Referred to as “the three amigos” the three singles players are all best friends—an important and unique component to have with a high school tennis team. All three play year round, but in an individual sport like tennis, don’t always contribute to a unified victory.
“You don’t really get to play as a team, it’s nice in tennis…it’s a fun experience as a team,” Wilcox said.
While Dawson will go on to study architecture at the University of Utah next year, Boddington will graduate early heading to Idaho State to play tennis.
“We lost five of our seven varsity players next year,” Wilcox said.
Wilcox, in her third year leading the program, doesn’t hold tryouts, but keeps everyone. This year’s team has 42 players.
“The whole idea is I want them to play tennis. Not just high school tennis, I want them to play tennis the rest of their lives,” Wilcox said.
That love of the sport means she works with students of all tennis abilities, even those unfamiliar with the game.
Wilcox jovially recalled one player who showed up the first day asking to borrow a bat since he had just ordered his.
“I’m going, ‘what are you talking about? A bat? It’s a racket.’ So that’s where we’re starting but it’s fun,” she said.