Top CCHS tennis players make a run at state; finish in final fourNov 23, 2020 11:17AM ● By Catherine Garrett
Corner Canyon’s Cassidy Rich and Jane Dorny reached the 6A state semifinals before losing to eventual champions Macie Amussen and Chloe Brinton from Pleasant Grove. (Photo courtesy Cassidy Rich)
By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]
Corner Canyon High tennis players Cassidy Rich and Jane Dorny—both 2019 state qualifiers who won multiple matches in the postseason—played in the top singles spots for the Chargers tennis team to begin the season, losing to just Lone Peak. New coach Allison Rideout then switched up her lineup and put the seniors at No. 1 doubles.
“We wanted to give Jane and Cassidy their best run at state by playing first doubles,” Rideout said.
That strategy paid off with Rich/Dorny reaching the semifinals before losing to eventual champions Macie Amussen and Chloe Brinton of Pleasant Grove 7-6, 7-5.
“They played a great match and came so close, but in the end PG came out victorious,” Rideout said.
“Going into it we wanted to compete our hardest and have fun, and that’s exactly what we did,” Dorny said. “It was such a fun atmosphere and we competed hard.”
Grace Weichers, playing at No. 1 singles for CCHS, also made it to the semis where she lost to Skyridge’s Savannah Johnson 6-2, 6-2.
“That was some of the best tennis I have seen Grace play all season,” Rideout said. “She played awesome.”
Rich/Dorney defeated Cyprus’ Leia Jenkins/Shay McDaniel 6-0, 6-1 in the first round before beating West’s Diya Rao/Daphne Liu 6-0, 6-0 to reach the semifinal round.
Weichers got past Granger’s Brooke Bentley 6-1, 6-2 in her first match and outlasted Davis’ Kyra Spendlove 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-2 to qualify for the final four.
“It was some really great tennis. Our girls did awesome,” Rideout said of her group that helped Corner Canyon have a top-10 finish as a team at state.
Dorney said she has loved transitioning to doubles play and sharing the court with Rich. “It’s been so much fun playing doubles this year with Cassidy. It was different than playing singles in past years,” Dorny said. “It’s bittersweet knowing that was my last high school match but so grateful for the season and everyone who got me to that point.”
“The season has been so much fun,” Rich said. “I’ve wanted to play my absolute very best in every match and play every match like it’s my last.”
Even though Corner Canyon welcomed a new head coach to the program this year, Rideout is no stranger to this team. She has been volunteering the past few years as her son Jensen—who graduated this past spring and will play at Southern Virginia following an LDS mission—was playing the No. 1 singles spot for the boys program. In fact, she helped Mykel Seeborg, who had been running the boys and girls programs since CCHS opened, to establish an academy program, allowing any interested students to play tennis and develop within the various skill levels. This year, Seeborg will run the academy while Rideout focuses on the varsity and junior varsity teams.
“I jumped at the chance to coach this team, and I’m so excited to make this a strong program,” Rideout said. “I want it to matter to these girls that they made the team and that they really accomplished something.”
Rideout has been playing tennis for years, including while a student at Hillcrest High. She upped her game further when she married former BYU tennis player Benji Rideout, whose brother Micah also played for the Cougars. “They’re much better than I am,” she said.
Since being hired in July, she brought in experience to help her on the coaching staff with two former collegiate players. Former BYU tennis player Adrien Jenkins, whose daughter Raeli was a doubles state champion player for Corner Canyon in 2017, and former U of U player Megan Dorny, mother of Jane, have been providing a high-level knowledge base to the CCHS program.
“I’m naturally drawn to teaching and have a strength in organizing things, but I knew I needed to hire others that could help with the instruction we need to take this program where we want it,” Rideout said. “There’s no reason that with the talent and resources available in this area that we can’t be a strong program.”
This season, Corner Canyon focused on gaining match experience among the rest of its young squad. “We are definitely going to be building this program for a few years so we are not focusing on team wins,” Rideout said.
Also on the 2020 team this season were Abbey Aarnodt, Lauren Ashton, Sydney Astle, Emma Bench, Bella Borman, Abby Brady, Ashley Cloward, Grace Erickson, Sam Furst, Presley Gerner, Elle Hagen, Olivia Hulme, Eden Jacobs, Isabel Lucas, Jacquelyn Marsh, Kiara Nelson, Eisley Nestman, Mazie Purser, Maddie Ross, Macie Savage, Katie Shaffer, Sierra Strong and Saige Talbot.