WOODS CROSS -- Viewmont and Woods Cross opened up their 2006 tennis campaign on Tuesday. But there was a huge void on the Vikings squad that they have not been able to recover from. Woods Cross took the win three matches to two. While most teams have been practicing daily to prepare for the new year, Viewmont was recovering from a tragedy. Sophomore Desiree Bastian had a bright tennis future before her. Last year, she fought to a second place region finish and to a quarterfinal finish in state as the Vikings No. 1 singles player. She was even invited to play in a national tennis amateur championship that was played last week where only 160 are invited nationwide. She was just 15 years old.
But those dreams ended last month. Desiree was traveling home with her family from Lake Powell. But the car she was in collided head-on with a motor home. Desiree and her brother Travis lost their lives instantly. Now with the season starting, Viewmont needed to find a way to carry on.
"She was a great kid. The girls loved her, I loved her. Not only as a tennis player but because she was such a great person," Vikings Coach Paul Baniewicz said of Desiree. "But they have to move on and pay tribute to her however they can."
That meant adjusting every player to new positions since she was the No. 1 singles player. Tuesday proved to be even tougher when their new top player was unable to play. That meant Annie Salmon had to jump from No. 3 singles to play Woods Cross top-ranked Hailey Swenson.
Swenson, one of the best players in the state, took the win easily 6-0, 6-0. Alicia Bills made it a close contest but Kym Mudrow got the win for Woods Cross 6-4, 6-3.
With the adjustments came opportunities for some Viking players as Paige Anderson and Sidney Burningham were called up from the junior varsity squad.
Anderson lost in straight sets to Rachael Boman but Burningham had better success. She was grouped up with Katie Smith, and they won in three sets against the Kirk sisters. Hadley Hintze and Megan Carlson helped sweep the doubles matches for Viewmont. In the end Woods Cross won by one match.
"Woods Cross is a very good team," Baniewicz said. "I was surprised. Not that they were good, because I knew they were, but because of how deep of a team they were today."
While Baniewicz admitted this was a good chance for the 15 girls on the team to get more playing time, he was also concerned. Today, the Vikings travel to Bountiful and will be shorthanded again.
Even worse is that Salmon will be gone as well, so that means that Bills, who is the fourth singles player, will be trying to lead the team to victory.
Viewmont hopes to regroup before the Great 5-A Tournament next weekend.
For now, they have to adjust to not having their leader, Desiree, out there.
"It's very tough. The girls need to get used to it," Baniewicz said.
Andy Salmon Viewmont 0 0
Haley Swenson Wood Cross 6 6
Alicia Bills Viewmont 4 3
Kym Mudrow Woods Cross 6 6
Paige Anderson Viewmont 0 3
Rachael Boman Woods Cross 6 6
Hailey Hintze/ Megan Carlson Viewmont 3 6 6
Annie Kirk/ Alexa Kirk Woods Cross 6 4 4
Katie Smith/ Sidney Burningham Viewmont 3 6 6
Lauren Barden/ Sara Hughes Woods Cross 6 3 4