High school boys tennis: Maple Mountain narrowly leads bunched field at 4A state tournament
SALT LAKE CITY — It doesn’t get much closer than this.
Maple Mountain currently holds a one-point lead at the top of the leaderboard after the first two rounds of the 4A boys tennis tournament Friday, and the Golden Eagles managed to send three of their five teams into championship day.
Just three points separate the top eight schools.
Defending champion Mountain View sits just one point behind the Golden Eagles, along with Woods Cross and Timpview.
Mountain View sophomore Jon Dollahite, the defending first singles champion, collected a pair of wins to punch his ticket into the semifinals. Dollahite followed up a 6-2, 6-2 win over Provo’s Aaron Kelemen with a clean 6-0, 6-0 sweep over Keith McMullin of Bonneville.
“I’m feeling really good. I played really well in my second match, so I’m happy about where I’m at right now,” said Dollahite.
Dollahite will try and take that confidence into his first match Saturday morning, when he’ll square off against Timpview junior Paul Monson. A third singles champion in 2012, Monson could shake up the field if his semifinal match slides in favor of the Thunderbirds.
“I know I’ll have a really hard match against Paul (Saturday), but we’ll just have to see how it goes,” said Dollahite.
On the other side of the first singles bracket, RJ Parker survived a 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 thriller against Springville senior Ben Spencer to advance in the tournament. Parker will meet Caleb Brand, Olympus’ lone contender left in the state tournament, first thing in the morning to start semifinal play.
Second singles tournament favorite Manuel Ortiz breezed through competition Friday afternoon with four straight set sweeps and is the man to beat in the No. 2 singles bracket.
Spanish Fork freshman Josh Chingas impressed Friday with a nearly flawless afternoon in second singles. Chingas finished the day with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Logan’s Stuart Hopkins, and now has the tall task of trying to upset Ortiz to start the morning.
Also in No. 2 singles, McKay Luu helped Maple Mountain to a strong finish Friday, and now will face Skyline freshman Dawson Robb-Wilcox, who is coming off a 6-4, 6-2 upset victory over Timpview’s Mason Brockbank.
Rounding out singles play for Maple Mountain, Collin Eaton advanced into the No. 3 singles semifinals after a tough 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 win over Skyline’s Raleigh Sorbonne.
Marcus Corbett surprised most by advancing through the first two rounds in Judge Memorial's debut year in 4A. A freshman, Corbett will open his semifinal match against Eaton.
First doubles saw two teams of brothers advance Friday, and they actually have a chance of meeting in the title match.
Spanish Fork brothers Jared and Robby Dixon outlasted Logan seniors Andrew Hopkins and Matt Lambert, 7-6, 7-6, in second-round action, and will meet another pair of seniors in Bountiful’s Andrew Eyring and Trevor Lloyd. The Braves duo also had to grind out an epic finish in their second-round match, besting Timpview's Scotty Wynn and Travis Wardrop, 7-5, 7-5.
Tyler and Tanner Heaton are the Lakers' only hope at claiming at least one individual title at the tournament, and now face Woods Cross’ Jens Nielson and Colin Cole after the Wildcats' duo narrowly edged Maple Mountain juniors Andrew Blonquist and Nam Luu, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.
All of which should contribute to an exciting final day of competition Saturday.
Mountain View rode the coattails of Ortiz and Dollahite for a team title in 2013, and the Bruins remain the favorite to repeat.