Utah Women’s Tennis Starts New Era in Miami


Tennis balls at the Eccles Tennis Center February 5, 2017. Michael Adam Fondren for the Daily Utah Chronicle.

By Ryker Jackson, Sports Writer

The University of Utah women’s tennis team will play in the Miami Fall Invite Sept. 20, 21, and 22 in Miami. This event is hosted by the University of Miami Hurricanes. This is the first tournament played with new head coach Ric Mortera and assistant coach Janet Koch. The team will be looking to build upon the momentum they’ve gathered over the past couple of years and continue improving.

This year’s team consists of lone senior Whitney Hekking, junior Madison McKay, and sophomores Emily Dush, Lindsay Hung, Anya Lamoreaux, Madeline Lamoreaux, Jasmine Rich and Madison Tattini. This year’s only freshman is Katya Hersh.

Hekking is looking to conclude a successful career here at the U. She has been selected to the Scholar Athlete team three years in a row and received a Pac-12 All-Academic second-team selection for the second straight year at the end of her junior campaign. She graduated from Davis High School a semester early to begin her college tennis career after helping lead Davis High School to a state title in 2013, along with four individual state titles. She lettered all four years and won the Girls 18 Singles second places in the 2015 ITA Fall Championship.

This weekend will be the first chance we have to see new head coach Ric Mortera leading the team. Mortera was named head coach on July 28. While at Texas Tech, he was named Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Texas Region Assistant Coach in 2016 and 2017, with his final season being the best in program history. Following his time at Texas Tech, he was named head coach at Fresno State University for one year, after which he was named head coach here.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Ric Mortera to the University of Utah,” said Mark Harlan. “We believe that Ric, who has tremendous coaching experience in Power Five women’s tennis, will continue the tradition as our new head coach and we are excited to see him lead our program in an upward direction.”

Shortly after Mortera was hired, he named Koch as his assistant coach in August 2019. The Durbanville, South Africa native played an integral role at Kansas and finished ranked as the No. 105 singles player in the nation.

“Coach Koch is a great asset to this program. She had a phenomenal college career and it will be so valuable for the team to have her experience and eye for the game on our side,” Mortera said. “She is also a great person who’s work ethic and positive attitude is infectious. I am looking forward to building the future of this program with her and am so excited to welcome her to the Utah family.”

The Miami Fall Invite will usher in a new era for Utah women’s tennis, and it will be very exciting to see how our young team responds to veteran leadership and a new head coach. Be sure to support the team whenever possible by watching them live and via digital platforms. The future is bright and exciting things are happening in the program.


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