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Herriman Journal

Dalton leading Mountain Ridge boys tennis on and off the court

May 09, 2024 01:09PM ● By Josh McFadden

Mountain Ridge boys tennis player Luke Dalton returns a hit in practice this season. The senior is the first singles varsity starter for the Sentinels. (Photo courtesy Luke Dalton)

For many high school athletes, family plays a significant role by supporting, motivating and cheering. In the case of Mountain Ridge boys tennis player Luke Dalton, he can credit family members for helping him get interested in the sport. 

Dalton picked up tennis as a young boy, playing mostly for fun with his father, who helped him develop some skills and knowledge of the game. His interest and passion for the game grew later when his sister began playing for Mountain Ridge. 

“I have always played tennis with my dad but started playing more seriously my sophomore year after my sister joined the high school team,” he said. 

Since then, Dalton has continued to improve his game and develop an even deeper love and appreciation for tennis. This has benefitted the Mountain Ridge squad, as Dalton is now a senior leader and one of the top players on the squad. He occupies the first singles position on the varsity team where he regularly squares off against top opponents. His attitude, hard work and play helps to carry the team. 

Head coach Parker Hansen enjoys coaching Dalton and appreciates what he brings to the court each day. But it’s not just the player Dalton is that Hansen likes coaching and associating with. He said Dalton is an exemplary young man in all aspects of life, helping to inspire others. 

“[Dalton] is a great guy on and off the court,” Hansen said. “He comes to every practice and works hard. His work ethic and mental toughness is inspiring to the other players and to me. He’s going to do great things in his life.”

One of the aspects of playing for Mountain Ridge that Dalton loves most is that he feels it’s much more than a team. When it’s game time, he and his teammates take every game, set and match seriously. The players work hard at practice and are continually doing what they can to get better. But Dalton says he and his teammates enjoy playing and being around each other. The Sentinels have team activities to build unity. They like being around each other and cultivating friendships. 

“Mountain Ridge tennis is more of a family than anything,” Dalton said. “We always have fun if it’s at practice, a team dinner or anywhere else.”

As he has developed as a tennis player, Dalton has grown to love many elements of the sport. When a match goes a full three sets, it can be grueling. However, Dalton also said prevailing in marathon matches can be gratifying and is one of the things he loves most about tennis. He said there’s nothing quite like seeing hard work, effort and determination in the face of adversity pay off with a successful result. 

“Winning a long match is definitely one of the best feelings as a tennis player,” he said. 

Last season, Dalton played second singles for Mountain Ridge. He won in the first round but lost in the round of 16 in a tough match. This season, Dalton has worked on honing a few parts of his game, specifically his effectiveness in longer matches. He hopes by doing so he’ll be able to pick up more victories and help put his team over the top. 

“I hope to improve my endurance, as in the past I’ve lost some long matches that really could have helped the team out,” he said. “Being able to win those tight matches would really help me overall as a player.”

As for his strengths, Dalton has an excellent serve. He also does well with staying in long rallies. 

The 2024 Class 6A state tournament will begin with first-round matches May 4 at Farmington High School. The subsequent rounds, including the finals, will be May 9 and 11 at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City. Last season, Mountain Ridge scored three points as a team to finish 18th out of 26 teams. Dalton and his teammates are eager to get back on the court at state and move up in the standings. To do that, the Sentinels will have to qualify as many varsity players as possible for state and win some matches there against talented foes. 

“I hope that this year our team can figure out a way to get as many boys as possible to state as well as score higher than we did last year,” he said.

Achieving that goal won’t be easy, as 6A features some excellent teams. Working toward this objective, however, is what Dalton has in his sights, and he is doing his part to lead the Sentinels as far as they can go. 

In this, his final year at Mountain Ridge, Dalton’s competitive tennis career may soon be coming to an end. Dalton has some big plans for the future, though. After graduating, he’ll serve a volunteer two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He intends to then study business at Brigham Young University. 

As he reflects on his career and his time at Mountain Ridge, Dalton is grateful to his father for generating that early interest in tennis. His mother has also been a staunch supporter of his time on the court. Dalton also credits the coaches—not to mention the many teammates—he has had over the years for his success. 

“Both my parents have really helped me become who I am now, and I owe it all to them,” he said. “Also, my coaches current and past as well as all my teammates have helped me.” λ



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