High school boys tennis: Viewmont poised to claim 5A state title after stellar day one performance
SALT LAKE CITY — Viewmont’s tennis team has one hand on the 5A trophy, and the other is poised to join the celebration on Saturday.
The 5A state tournament favorite heading in, Viewmont advanced all three singles players and both doubles teams out of the first two rounds at Liberty Park on Friday afternoon, positioning itself perfectly to end Brighton’s seven years of 5A dominance.
“Getting everyone through that second round is big, because now it puts you in the bigger points in the semifinal and finals,” said Viewmont coach Mark Burningham.
Viewmont earned the maximum 10 points on Friday, with Lone Peak, Brighton and Alta tied for second with seven points.
Shortly after Viewmont’s second doubles team won a second-set tiebreaker to complete the 5-for-5 day for the Vikings, Burningham immediately started getting his players refocused for the semis.
“We told our kids they haven’t got anything locked up yet,” said Burningham.
With some help from Weber and Pleasant Grove though, Viewmont is very close. Seven-time champ Brighton realistically needed a perfect tournament to claim a record eighth-straight title, but those hopes were pretty much dashed when its first singles player lost in the quarterfinals and its second singles player lost in the first round.
Brighton still has very talented players remaining in third singles and first and second doubles, but even a clean sweep Saturday might not be good enough.
Burningham stressed with his players the importance of not worrying about Brighton.
“There’s so much emphasis on Brighton because they’ve been winners for so many years, that if you get excited about Brighton lost here or Brighton lost here, you build your emotion on a loss you have no control over,” he said.
Viewmont’s singles trio of Sam Tullis, Jacob Tullis and Nic LeBaron all won their matches in straight sets Friday, but LeBaron’s quarterfinal match was anything but easy. After winning the first set 6-0, he fell behind 2-5 in the second set, only to rally for the 7-5 win.
With the Tullis boys expected to easily win first and second singles Saturday, LeBaron could clinch Viewmont’s team title in the morning as he takes on Brighton freshman Chase Stoner in the third singles semifinal.
Viewmont’s second doubles team of Zach Beckstrand and Brandon Kasparian had an equally challenging quarterfinal match as LeBaron had. After winning the first set against Jordan’s Nick Schindler and Bennett Garden 6-0, they fell behind 6-5 in the second set before rallying to win in a tiebreaker.
Burningham said those are the type of “gut matches” you need to win to win a state title.
Viewmont’s first doubles team of Ethan Hymas and Isaac Ford coasted through both of their matches Friday.
Heading into Saturday, assuming the Tullis brothers win at first and second singles, Viewmont only needs one of its other three teams to win its semifinal to mathematically clinch the state championship.
5A State Tournament
Friday At Liberty Park
Cody Crandall, Brighton def. Garrett Rich, Bingham, 6-2, 6-0
Colton McBride, Weber def. Remi Prince, Taylorsville, 6-0, 6-1
Sam Tullis, Viewmont def. CJ Ercanbrach, Davis, 6-0, 6-1