High school boys tennis: Juan Diego takes cares of business on opening day of 3A tourney
ST. GEORGE — Oh brother — brothers, that is.
With brothers Brendon and Ryan Kempin leading the way, the Juan Diego Soaring Eagle positioned itself to try and win the 3A boys tennis championship.
The brothers both won their early-round matchups in No. 1 singles and No. 2 singles, respectively, at the 3A tennis tournament Friday afternoon at the Green Valley Spa and Resort.
Teammate Brenton Reyner also won his early-round matches at No. 3 singles, and Juan Diego's second doubles team of Nick Fuller and Dylan Zeiger were victorious, as well.
Those wins in the first round and quarterfinal round enabled Juan Diego to finish the day tied with Desert Hills for first place with nine points apiece. Juan Diego's three individual players are all heavily favored to win championships Saturday, which would position the Soaring Eagle to capture the team crown.
“So far, so good,” said Juan Diego head coach Arthur Miyazaki. “We have four in the semifinals — can’t ask for more.”
In Saturday's semifinals, Brendon Kempin will face Desert Hills' Clay Hardy and Ryan Kempin will face Micha Gaelwiler, also from Desert Hills.
A victory by either Kempin, both heavy favorites, would more than likely seal the deal for the Soaring Eagle. Reyner, who is also heavily favored, will play Grantsville’s Devin Orgill, the winner advancing to the finals against the winner of a match between Justin Ericksen of North Sanpete and Snow Canyon’s Logan Wrigley.
The other No. 1 singles semifinal match will feature Dixie’s Tevan Balian and Nick Chingas of Spanish Fork. Park City’s Rawson Simmons will play Dixie’s Micah Alba in the other No. 2 singles semifinal.
Juan Diego’s No. 2 doubles team of Fuller and Zeiger did not have an easy time of it advancing to the semis. After pounding North Sanpete (Zack Ence and Jordan Ericksen) 6-1, 6-4, they exhibited some shaky play at the net midway through the first set against Hurricane’s Gray Robicheaux and Karter Beardal. But, apparently sparked by some words of advice from Juan Diego assistant coach Pete Talboys, the Soaring Eagle team improved dramatically at the net and put the Tigers away 6-4, 7-6 (7-4.)
“It’s not about hitting winners,” said Talboys. “It’s about errors. Everyone likes to hit winners, but these kids need to understand that he who makes the fewest errors, wins.”
Fuller and Zeiger will match up in the semis against Desert Hills' Preston Parmenter and Ryan McGinnis.
Mason Ford and Christian Davis, meanwhile, won at No. 1 doubles for Desert Hills in Friday's first two rounds. They're favored to capture a state championship, as are Parmenter and McGinnis at No. 2 doubles.
3A state boys tennis tournament
1 (tie). Desert Hills, Juan Diego, 9; 3. Snow Canyon, 7; 4 (tie). Dixie, Spanish Fork, 6; 6. Park City, 5; 7 (tie). Grantsville, Wasatch, 4.
Braden Sandberg, Grantsville def. Kyle Barnett, Judge, 6-0, 6-3
Nick Chingas, Spanish Fork def. Shayden Henton, Hurricane, 6-0, 6-4
Tevan Balian, Dixie def. Tanner Castro, Morgan, 6-0, 6-0
Scott Niederhauser, Wasatch def. Julio Arroyave, Tooele, 6-1, 6-0
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