Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
There are no shortage of story lines this season in high school boys tennis.
Brighton seeks its eighth straight state title in 5A — though some believe the Bengals are the underdog. Timpview looks to hold off a quality field in 4A, Juan Diego is the favorite to win its first state title in 3A, while Rowland Hall looks to bounce back in 2A after Manti ended its five-year run last year.
Here’s a class-by-class look at what to expect from the upcoming season:
There might be a changing of the guard in 5A tennis.
After narrowly finishing second to seven-time state champion Brighton last season, Viewmont could be poised to end Brighton’s dominance in 5A.
While Brighton graduated three seniors from last season — including its state champs at second and third singles — Viewmont returns all three singles players and its runner-up first doubles team.
Singles could be what pushes Viewmont over the top.
Sam Tullis won the 5A first singles state title as sophomore last season, while his younger brother Jacob Tullis was a runner-up in second singles as a freshman. Teammate Nic LeBaron was a runner-up at third singles as well, and he’s also back
Between those three and the returning doubles team of Isaac Ford and Ethan Hymas, the Vikings have a very formidable line-up.
As good as Viewmont is, there’s too much tradition at Brighton to simply brush the Bengals aside.
“We’ve got a lot of really great players, and they’ve been playing very hard all offseason, and they’re going to try and go out and do it again,” said Brighton coach Natalie Aposhian.
As for how it will all come together, Aposhian has no idea.
“We’re trying a bunch of different things. I’ve got doubles players trying singles, or if they’re going to stick with doubles. We’ve got incoming kids coming in, and with the weather games we’ve been playing, we’re just trying to figure out what’s going to work best in region and state,” said Aposhian.
Brighton’s Cody Crandall is a returning contributor at first singles, but he only went as far as the quarterfinals last year. Brandon Budge and Justin Mansell combined to win a state title at first doubles, but one or both could end up playing singles this season.
Another player to watch this season is Cottonwood senior Zeke Richards, who was a runner-up at first singles as a junior last season.
You don’t have to look far to find the state title favorite in 4A. Timpview has won nine of the last 10 state tournaments, and the T-Birds are once again the obvious favorites.
Timpview swept the singles and doubles titles last year, and the T-Birds look strong again with three of those seven athletes back.
“The team is solid, good group of kids, and singles is very, very solid,” said Timpview coach Rob Sperry, who humbly said the same thing he says every year, “We’ll be competitive.”
In general, 4A has much more parody than in year’s past, with teams like Bonneville, Highland, Woods Cross, Mountain View and Logan all fielding strong teams.
Timpview is the clear favorite, though. Junior Matthew Pearce, the state champ at second singles last year, makes the jump to first singles to replace his older brother Jon Pearce who graduated.
Paul Monson was the state champ at third singles last year, and he and Mason Brockbank will occupy Timpview’s other two singles spots this season.
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