I struggled with my serve early, but was able to step up a bit in the second and go on to win it all. —Jay T. Anderson
PROVO — Rowland Hall has ruled 2A boys' tennis for the past two years, but will have to relinquish the title to Manti, which narrowly escaped to defeat the defending champs, 15-13.
Both Manti and Rowland Hall entered the state competition as the prohibitive favorites, so it was anticipated that it would come down to the final match of the day for Manti to secure its overall victory.
With all the other championship matches complete, Manti and Rowland Hall were tied in points with only the second doubles match to play out. As would seem appropriate, the second doubles match pitted Manti's Quinn Nielson and Peter Jacobson against Rowland Hall's Kapil Sharma and Doug Labov.
Neilson and Jacobson maintained their poise with so much on the line, winning out 7-5, 3-6 and 6-4. Of course, a big key to them keeping their poise was remaining oblivious to the situation according to coach Todd Jorgensen.
"I didn't tell them what was at stake," said Jorgensen. "Every time I'd go out there to coach I'd make sure to tell them to focus on what they were doing and I was careful not to say a single word about what was going on — that it was up to them to win it all. I didn't think they needed that pressure."
Manti won both the first and second doubles competitions, earning 10 of its final 15 points due to its doubles dominance. Jeremy Anderson and Connor Aste took the first doubles competition, defeating Richfield's Skyler Crowther and Josh Jensen 4-6, 6-4 and 6-3.
For Manti, it was a return to 2A competition after spending a couple of years in 3A. While they always came short against Rowland Hall in the past, it felt good to turn the tables.
"Our kids have worked so hard and we've had some great play from our seniors," said Jorgensen. "Rowland Hall is such a great program and to beat them is really an accomplishment. I'm so happy for all the kids and for their families."
In singles, the story was the run by Waterford's Jay T. Anderson, who romped through the competition, ultimately defeating Manti's Brady Aste in the finals 6-1 and 6-2.
Anderson's dominance in the state competition was a microcosm of his season, where he only lost one match in non-region play.
"I struggled with my serve early, but was able to step up a bit in the second and go on to win it all," said Anderson about his finals match. "It's been a really good year for me, so I was expecting to do well here."
Anderson dropped just two games on his way to the championship match.
Rowland Hall's Bryce Baker took the second singles competition, defeating Wasatch Academy's Chris Brenchley in the finals 6-0 and 6-4.
It was Gunnison's Landry Thompson who took down the third singles title, defeating Rowland Hall's Matt Zubair in the finals 6-2, 3-6 and 6-3.