PROVO Judge Memorial High School won two 3A singles titles and recorded one second place finish Saturday to earn its first tennis championship since 1981. Judge tallied 18 team points, while Park City and Logan tied for second with 14 points.
Ogden junior Parker Rhodes took home the No. 1 singles title, and a duo from Logan squeezed out the No. 1 doubles crown.
Judge's players made the semifinals in four of five categories, including all three singles brackets.
"In high school tennis, depth is really important, and we have really good depth," Judge head coach Hank Kennedy said. "We have three good singles players, which is unusual."
One of those three singles players is Kennedy's son Trey, who beat Park City's John Packman 6-1, 6-1 in the No. 2 singles finale. Trey didn't lose a match all year, according to his dad, who called Trey an "automatic win." Kennedy's teammate Andrew Lam shouted, "No! Yes!" after he outlasted Bear River's Bryan Miller 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) for the No. 3 singles title. The "No" signified Miller's return was out, the "Yes" burst from Lam's lips as he realized the title was his.
Rhodes lost just nine games all tournament in No. 1 singles play, including a 6-1, 6-2 win in the finals versus defending champ Brandon Nielson of Logan. Rhodes frustrated Nielson early and often with what tournament director Bart Nielson called "an impressive display of moonballs, spin and patience."
"I had control the whole match. He came kinda close, like 3-2 in the final set, but I just played well at the end," Rhodes said.
Logan's combination of finesse and energy proved too much for Ogden in No. 1 doubles play. The finesse belonged to junior Mark Hopkins, the energy from football standout Jordan Ballam, as the pair defeated Ogden 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
"Mark's a great tennis player, but I'm kind of a junk player," Ballam said.
Ballam clinched the title by repeatedly smashing Ogden loopers into the ground and over his opponents' heads.
"I like slams. I've been telling Mark that's my favorite part of playing doubles," said Ballam, who's heard before that he plays tennis like a football player.
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