4A high school boys tennis: Timpview claims 7th straight title

By Conner Johnson

Deseret News

Published: Sunday, May 17 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Timpview state champion Cal Larson hits a forehand during a 4A tournament match Saturday at Liberty Park.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

Enlarge photo»

Timpview has officially made its mark in state tennis history. The T-Birds claimed their seventh straight team state tennis title, making them the only team to achieve such a milestone.

"This one is seven times sweeter," joked Timpview head coach Rob Sperry.

In a great showing on championship day, Timpview was able to pick up individual state titles in four of the five positions. The only loss came in the No. 1 singles semifinals when freshman John Pearce lost a close match to Woods Cross standout Matt Cowley.

Coming into day two leading the pack, the Timpview coach just wanted his boys to be humble and continue to do what they know.

"I told the boys to play within ourselves and not overreach," said Sperry.

Ending the day in second place was the Mountain View Bruins. Led by veteran coach Wilford Mueller, the Bruins were able to win both of their semifinal matches, picking up enough points for the second-place finish.

"I've been coaching tennis for 31 years, 14 in boys, and this is the first second ever so it's great," said Mueller.

At No. 1 singles, Cowley had his hands full on his way to winning his first state title.

"The semis were really tough," said Cowley. "The win just pushed me to do better in the title game."

In the championship game, Cowley was able to take the first set 6-1 over Brad Weaver of East. Cowley built an early 5-2 lead in the second set, but Weaver wasn't going down without a fight, rallying back and tying the match at 6-6.

"It was a little nerve-wracking," said coach and father Joe Cowley, "but he knows to stay in the game."

After playing a tough tiebreaker, the Woods Cross junior picked up his first individual state title.

"It feels good, but you want to do well as a team, so hopefully next year we can do a little better," Matt Cowley said.

Finishing in first place at the No. 2 singles spot was four-time champion Cal Larson. Picking up the fourth wasn't easy for the Timpview senior, as Highland's Chas Foote came out looking to upset the defending champ.

Foote was able to take the first game 4-6, and Larson acknowledged the set loss after the match.

"He executed his style great, and performed perfectly — I didn't," said Larson.

The senior then turned the game around, playing safe tennis and what Larson called controlled aggression.

"I was just making sure I was moving around and getting to the ball in the second and third game," he said.

The style of play is exactly what he needed to win as he went on to take the final two sets 6-1, 6-2. Larson offered nothing but praise to his teammates.

"You win or lose as a team, everyone counts and that's what's important," he said.

No. 3 singles showcased Jorge Maldonado playing arguably the best tennis in the tournament. The Timpview senior cruised past Mountain View senior Adam Lewis in the championship game, winning 6-0, 6-0.

In both days of the tournament, Maldonado only lost five games en route to his title win.

In No. 1 doubles, Timpview seniors Skyler Evans and Dallen Wardrop each picked up their third individual state titles.

The pair were matched against the Mountain View duo of Diego Gonzales and Taylor Warner, and were able to pick up the 6-1, 6-1 win.

Coming off a huge tiebreaker win over Bountiful in the semifinals, Timpview's Matt Jackson and Tyler Murray took the momentum from the previous match and carried it into the championship game. Matched against the competitive pair of Robby Dilg and Tyler Conrad, the Timpview seniors rallied back from an early deficit to win the match.

"We were down a couple breaks, but we just got them back and played our game," said Murray.

Jackson picked up his third individual title, while Murray picked up his first.

The question that remains is can Timpview return and compete for the eighth straight title? For now the Timpview coach said they'll enjoy the summer and continue hitting tennis balls.

"We've planted seeds in our JV team, so it should be a great challenge next year," he said.

E-mail: cjohnson@desnews.com

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