SALT LAKE CITY— As Saturday's 2A boys state tennis tournament approaches, one word will define the day.
The players that can endure a possible 10 hours of tournament action will surely be rewarded by the end of the day.
Manti enters the weekend as the defending 2A champions, edging Rowland Hall in the final match of the day last year to claim the crown. Head coach Todd Jorgensen said his boys this year will have to earn the 2013 crown and he wasn't about to call the Templars the team to beat in the tournament.
"I haven't said anything about being defending champs. That's another team. They've got to earn anything they get. They'll decide it for themselves," said Jorgensen. "They're still going to play some tough competition. I don't perceive us to be the favorites by any means, but I still fully expect us to be very competitive."
Anchoring Manti at first doubles are defending champions Jeremy Anderson and Logan Lund. Their run through first doubles play will be quite interesting, with Waterford freshmen George Matus and Max Gubler coming off a stellar performance at the region meet. The pair of Jonathon Zubair and Karim Shaaban from Rowland Hall also present a road block in Manti's quest to repeat, but that didn't hold coach Jorgensen back from praising his duo of Anderson and Lund.
"I fully expect those two to compete for the championship," said Jorgensen.
Rowland Hall head coach Tim Sleeper said his team is eager to get on the courts Saturday, not just for revenge, but to also make amends for last year's play.
"I think these guys want some retribution, not necessarily against Manti. I think some of my players felt like they could have done better last year, and they're just eager to get out there and prove themselves," said Sleeper. "We're chomping at the bit. We're excited to have another chance to play."
Waterford is led by Jay T. Anderson in first singles. He is the clear favorite to repeat as first singles champion. The Ravens won last week's region tournament, and will be the darkhorse of the 2013 tournament. Rowland Hall's coach Sleeper spoke highly of the Waterford team, knowing first hand what to expect from the Ravens.
"Waterford has got an awesome team. They took the region tournament last week, so we know they are going to be a tough team to beat as well," said Sleeper.
Manti's coach Jorgensen summed it up nicely, giving his perspective on wrapping up the tournament all in one day.
"This is a one-day tournament, so if someone gets hot it's hard to stop someone who is on a roll," said Jorgensen. "Waterford and Rowland Hall are obviously a tough division, too. Just because we won a lot of the number one seeds for the South division, doesn't mean it's going to be easy by any stretch. Many times we've seen four seeds beat one seeds. It happens, and you've just got to stay ready and focused, and hopefully playing your best tennis."
The 2A tournament will be held at the Liberty Park Tennis Courts this Saturday, with play going live at 9 a.m.
2A State Tournament
Saturday’s First Round
At Liberty Park
Jay T. Anderson, Waterford vs. Caleb Roundy, South Sevier
Jacob Hatch, Gunnison vs. Ricardo Gomez, Layton Christian
Joshua Yang, Manti vs. TBD
Bryce Barker, Rowland Hall vs. Taylor Harris, Parowan
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