Juan Diego knows better than anyone the dangers of being overconfident ahead of this weekend’s 3A state tennis tournament in St. George.
A year ago the Soaring Eagle were the slight favorite in a balanced 3A tourney field, yet stumbled to a fourth-place finish behind Park City, Desert Hills and Dixie.
With the clear favorites at No. 1, 2 and 3 singles this season, it would take a massive stumble for Juan Diego to be kept off the top podium.
“My No. 1, 2 and 3 are all undefeated, so we’re pretty optimistic that our chances are as good as anybody,” said Juan Diego coach Arthur Miyazaki.
Just like the Tullis boys led Viewmont to a state title in 5A last week, the Kempin brothers are poised to do the same for Juan Diego this week.
First singles star Brendan Kempin is the top-ranked U-18 player in the entire Intermountain Region, and the junior is the clear favorite to repeat as a state champ.
His little brother Ryan Kempin is just a freshman, but he’s one of the top-ranked U-16 players in the Intermountain Region and is the clear favorite at second singles.
The third singles spot is where Juan Diego has a leg up on the rest of 3A. Brenton Reyner was a semifinalist at second singles as a sophomore last year, but the younger Kempin’s arrival bumped him to third singles this season, and he’s undefeated at 8-0 and is the clear favorite at state.
As good as the trio is, Miyazaki said none of them can afford to take anything for granted.
“You never know what can happen in the singles, even though my three singles players are undefeated. Everyone is coming after them and playing their best,” said Miyazaki.
Mathematically, simply winning the three singles events doesn’t guarantee a team a state title if the doubles teams don’t contribute points, but with the way the pairings shook out this year, it probably would assure Juan Diego of winning the team title.
While the Soaring Eagle are favored in all three singles, Desert Hills’ doubles teams of Mason Ford and Christian Davis and then Preston Parmenter and Ryan McGinnis are the clear favorites at first and second doubles respectively.
Sweeping the doubles would guarantee the Thunder 12 team points, but making up the difference on Juan Diego’s singles teams is going to be extremely difficult.
All three Desert Hills singles players are all on the same side of the bracket as Juan Diego, which means one of the three would need to upset one of Juan Diego’s undefeated players in either the quarterfinals or semifinals to have a chance.
Based on last year, Miyazaki will stress with his players that anything can happen, and to take nothing for granted.
3A State Tournament
Friday’s First round
Braden Sandberg, Grantsville vs. Kyle Barnett, Judge
Nick Chingas, Spanish Fork vs. Shayden Henton, Hurricane
Tevan Balian, Dixie vs. Tanner Castro, Morgan
Scott Niederhauser, Wasatch vs. Julio Arroyave, Tooele
Will Bensen, Snow Canyon vs. Dustin Allred, North Sanpete
Brendan Kempin, Juan Diego vs. Logan McBride, Stansbury
Dallen Whitehead, Ogden vs. Matt Groy, Park City
Adam Pullan, Payson vs. Clay Hardy, Desert Hills
Colton Christiansen, Stansbury vs. Rawson Simmons, Park City
Nate Barrington, Spanish Fork vs. Michell Hansen, Cedar
Micah Alba, Dixie vs. Nate Evans, Bear River
Kaden Neuberger, Wasatch vs. T.J. Hatch, Morgan
Matt Douglas, Snow Canyon vs. Taylor Springer, Payson
Ryan Kempin, Juan Diego vs. Kevin Chandler, Ogden
Tyler Colson, Grantsville vs. Connor McCoy, Judge
Brent Watson, North Sanpete vs. Micha Gaelwiler, Desert Hills
Trevor Muse, Ogden vs. Chase Larsen, Union
Justin Ericksen, North Sanpete vs. Seth Littleford, Cedar
Logan Wrigley, Snow canyon vs. Connor Miller, Ben Lomond
Spencer Willette, Wasatch vs. Jake Hardy, Stansbury
Braden Evans, Desert Hills vs. Evan Wride, Payson
Brenton Reyner, Juan Diego vs. Nate Johnson, Morgan
Devin Orgill, Grantsville vs. Jason Barth, Park City
Creed Sermershein, Spanish Fork vs. Nick Livingston, Dixie
Augmon Jolley/Mitch Walker, Bear River vs. Zach Jackson/Graham Peterson, Park City
Ben Rosenbaum/Jared Dixon, Spanish Fork vs. Zach Staheli/Avery Cope, Dixie
Mason Ford/Christian Davis, Desert Hills vs. Ryan Lynch/Taylor Clark, Morgan
Ryan Lowe/Rex Alley, Juan Diego vs. Tanner Elsholz/Jacob May, Grantsville
Jon Morgan/Devin Radmall, Snow Canyon vs. Mason Taylor/Adam Fulmer, Payson
Brandon Reemsnyder/Luke Ropner, Judge vs. Josh Hardin/Brian Harris, Ben Lomond
Kris Halford/Skyler Swerngin, Ogden vs. Dalton Roth/Josh Hunt, Uintah
Matt Workman/Patrick Rawlinson, North Sanpete vs. Zac Coonen/Cole Loveland, Cedar
Sterling Brandley/Christian Gutierrez, Ben Lomond vs. Nick Fuller/Dylan Zeiger, Juan Diego
Zack Ence/Jordan Ericksen, North Sanpete vs. Gray Robicheaux/Karter Beardal, Hurricane
Preston Parmenter/Ryan McGinnis, Desert Hills vs. Jordan Jenkins/Dakota Fidler, Stansbury
JT Mellicker/Brian Tillman, Park City vs. Ben Holland/Bobby Cluff, Morgan
Nate Utley/Hunter McAurther, Snow Canyon vs. Kyle Smith/Joey Morrison, Delta
Jaren Hunsaker/Kameron Baird, Wasatch vs. Nick Eccles/Riley Jones, Ogden
Lane Sutton/Dallin Dalton, Grantsville vs. Quinn Vu/Jackson Willis, Judge
Robby Dixon/Aaron Startup, Spanish Fork vs. Mason Aldred/Garrison Ganowsky, Dixie
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