High school tennis: 2A title not a foregone conclusion
Rowland Hall still among favorites, but Manti is tough foe
Unlike the past two years in which Rowland Hall ran away with the 2A boys tennis title, this Saturday's meet at BYU is anything but a foregone conclusion.
Back from its two-year hiatus in 3A, Manti is a senior-laden team more than capable of denying Rowland Hall a sixth straight state championship.
Such uncertainty is a far cry from last year in which Rowland Hall won all three singles titles and both doubles titles. Another sweep is very unlikely, but coach Tim Sleeper likes the way his team is playing right now.
"I think we've done a good job of putting ourselves in a good position coming in. Once you hit the court down at BYU, anything can happen," said Sleeper.
Both Rowland Hall and Manti easily ran away with their respective region titles, winning four of five events each. If the first couple rounds play out as expected Saturday morning, there could be several head-to-head showdowns between the teams in the finals.
Manti coach Todd Jorgensen acknowledges that knocking off Rowland Hall won't be easy, but he's excited for the challenge.
"We're pretty deep. We have four seniors on our team this year, so there's quite a bit of experience on the team as far as that goes," said Jorgensen, whose team hasn't won a state title since 1994. "Rowland Hall has that dynasty going. They're always a good team, they've always got great depth."
The battle at No. 1 singles figures to a good one. Waterford's Jay T. Anderson and Manti's Brady Aste each won their respective region and are the favorites to meet in the final.
Rowland Hall's Scott Treiman, however, is hoping to draw upon his tournament experience from a year ago when he won the No. 2 singles title. Sleeper acknowledges that Treiman has a tough draw all the way through beginning with Gunnison's Spencer Agren in the first round, but he said Treiman is a methodical studier of past matches and someone capable of making a run.
Rowland Hall's Bryce Baker combined for a doubles title last year, but this year he's a favorite in the No. 2 singles. Teammate Matt Zubair won the No. 3 singles last year as a sophomore, and he's the clear favorite to repeat this year.
Even though Aste at first singles and Trey Gunderson at second singles are more than capable of winning individual titles, Manti's best hope to pick up points in the team race is at doubles. In 3A last year, Jeremy Anderson and Connor Aste advanced to the semifinals in No. 2 doubles before eventually falling to state champion Desert Hills. They're the favorite at first doubles this weekend.
At second doubles, Manti seniors Quinn Nielson and Peter Jacobson are undefeated this year despite having never played together.
"Doubles is one of those games that's really fun to watch and fun to play, and there's a lot strategy among the teams," said Jorgensen.
2A first round matchups
Saturday at BYU, 9 a.m.
Jay T. Anderson (Waterford) vs. Dylan Christensen (South Sevier)
Zac Hazlett (Grand) vs. Andrew Poolman (Wasatch Academy)
Brady Aste (Manti) vs. Alex Henabray (St. Joseph)
Scott Treiman (Rowland Hall) vs. Spencer Agren (Gunnison)
Bryce Baker (Rowland Hall) vs. Kris Kemp (Grand)
Trevon Hansen (Gunnison) vs. Jeff DeGrauw (St. Joseph)
Trey Gunderson (Manti) vs. Ryan Griffith (Maeser Prep)
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