See 3A tennis finals on page D9.Alta and Hillcrest - stood toe-to-toe and slugged it out Saturday in the rain-delayed opening of the 4A
4A tennisboys' High School Tennis Championships.When the bell sounded to end Round 2, Alta was clearly ahead on all cards. The Hawks had beaten the Huskies in three out of four head-to-head meetings. Barring total collapse, now, Alta should win this event.
Consensus was early Saturday that the team that finished the day with eight points would win the 4A crown. Alta had nine points and players in four of the five divisions - all three singles players and one of two in doubles. Hillcrest limped out with one player in singles and one team in doubles. The third contender, Brighton, has one player in singles and two teams in doubles.
Because rain delayed the event by one day, the semis and finals will be Monday at Liberty Park. Semifinals will be at noon at Liberty Park, the finals at 3 p.m.
Alta and Hillcrest came into this event favored. Both came in undefeated in season play and both came out of Round 1 intact. Luck, or un-luck, of the draw matched the two in the quarterfinals of four of five events. Hillcrest got the worst it.
Hillcrest coach Paul Smith said the losses at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles hurt. "If we'd been able to win there, we'd be in it.
"I know some didn't think we'd have a chance. We're a good team, though. We tied for the title last year and returned everyone."
But this year Alta brought on Brandon Hodges, one of the state's top juniors, to play No. 1 singles.
"It made us a lot better team," said Alta coach Joe Ostraff. "This gave us a lot of depth. We're a strong team and we will be for a few more years. We only lose one player this year."
Hodges got the Hawks started with a win at No. 1 singles over Hillcrest's Garrett Burbidge, 6-3, 6-3. Benji Rideout followed with an overpowering two-set sweep of the Huskies' Chris Bown, 6-0, 6-2. Richard Nuttle completed the Hawks' 3-or-3 run on singles with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Tyler Holbrook of Viewmont.
In order to remain in contention, Hillcrest needed wins in the two doubles. It got one at No. 2 doubles - Cory Kennedy and Bryan Paxton won - but lost at No. 1 doubles where Alta's Bret Ball and Sammy Rideout beat Stuart Weichers and Mike Bryant, 7-5, 2-6, 6-2.
Team standings after quarterfinals has Alta with 9; Brighton and Hillcrest with 7; Timpview with 6; Viewmont and Skyline with 4; Cottonwood, Davis, Highland and Provo with 3; Olympus, Bonneville, Orem, East and West Jordan with 2; and Weber with 1.
In the remaining brackets, Timpview, with two singles players advancing, is the only other school with more than one singles or doubles team advancing. Nine other schools have one.
In other key matches, Skyline's Chris Rosander remained a top contender for the No. 1 title with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Provo's Paul Marshall.
East's Royal Hansen, who won the No. 1 title last year, moved into position for a second shot with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Carter Chow of Timpview. The fourth player to make the quarters was Brighton's Mike Easton with a 7-5, 6-3, win over Mark Hafen of Orem.
Results of the first two rounds can be found in Scorebord on D8.