SALT LAKE CITY — Brighton’s tennis team did everything in its power Saturday to rally for its eighth straight 5A tennis championship on Saturday, but at the end of the day, Viewmont was just too good — particularly the Tullis brothers.
Behind Sam Tullis’ title at first singles and Jacob Tullis’ title at second singles, Viewmont edged Brighton 22-19 to claim its first state championship since 2002.
Viewmont was in great position to win the title after advancing all five teams into the second day of competition, and coach Mark Burningham was pleased to see how his team followed it up on Saturday.
“We looked at Alta, Brighton and Lone Peak all had seven points (after Day 1), and it was exciting to see them stay focused knowing that any one of these teams can come back,” said Burningham, who was doused by a large bucket of water after the match.
Brighton won three of the five titles on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Viewmont on Saturday.
Before his older brother ever took the court for his first singles championship match, Jacob Tullis clinched the team title for Viewmont with his straight-set win over Alta’s Andy Ovard at the second singles.
Fired up about watching his younger brother succeed, Sam Tullis had to dig deep to win his second straight first singles championship in a very difficult match against Cottonwood’s Zeke Richards, 7-6, 6-4.
“I was surprised. I haven’t seen Zeke a lot lately, and he came out on fire, and it really took everything I had to beat him,” said Sam Tullis.
As critical as the wins were at first and second singles, Viewmont’s doubles teams were the unsung heroes. One of the two needed to win its semifinal match on Saturday morning to realistically clinch the team for the Vikings, and both did in three sets.
At first doubles, Ethan Hymas and Isaac Ford dropped the first set to Davis’ Cooper Brown and Michael von Ballmoos 2-6, but rallied for the victory, winning the next two sets 6-3, 6-4. Viewmont’s second doubles team of Zach Beckstrand and Brandon Kasparian followed it up by beating Alta’s David West and Jordan Branch, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.
Both Viewmont doubles teams turned around and lost in the finals to Brighton, but the points they gained in the semifinals gave their team an insurmountable advantage.
Despite seeing Brighton’s seven-year dominance come to an end, Bengals coach Natalie Aposhian was very pleased with her team all week.
“They really came through, I’m so proud of how all my boys played, even the boys who lost yesterday,” she said. “We knew Viewmont was going to be really tough. We’re very proud of our second-place trophy and we won three of the categories.”
Brighton freshman Chase Stoner defeated Alta’s Connor Pulsipher for the third singles title, 6-1, 6-2.
The Bengals enjoyed similar success in doubles, with Anthony Panuzio and Mitchell Mansell winning at first doubles with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 victory, and then Brandon Budge and Cheyenne Perry winning in straight sets at second doubles.
“It feels great, everything you’ve ever worked for has come true, I couldn’t be more excited right now,” said Brighton freshman Mansell.
1. Viewmont, 22; 2. Brighton, 19; 3. Alta, 11; 4. Lone Peak, 7; 5. Davis, 6. Cottonwood, 4; 7 (tie). Hunter, Layton, Pleasant Grove, West, 3.
Semifinals — Sam Tullis, Viewmont, def. Colton McBride, Weber, 6-2, 6-0; Zeke Richards, Cottonwood, def. Brocton Andrus, Lone Peak, 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (8-6)
Championship — Tullis def. Richards, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4
Semifinals — Jacob Tullis, Viewmont, def. Jake Harris, Pleasant Grove, 6-2, 6-3; Andy Ovard, Alta, def. McKay Luu, Lehi, 6-3, 6-1.
Championship — Tullis def. Ovard, 6-4, 6-1.
Semifinals — Chase Stoner, Brighton, def. Nic LeBaron, Viewmont, 6-2, 6-4; Connor Pulsipher, Alta, def. Derek Schetselaar, Lone Peak, 6-3, 6-3.
Championship — Stoner def. Pulsipher, 6-1, 6-2
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Semifinals — Ethan Hymas/Isaac Ford, Viewmont, def. Cooper Brown/Michael vonBallmoos, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4; Anthony Panuzio/Mitchell Mansell, Brighton, def. Parker Howell/Ty Burke, Riverton, 6-3, 6-4.
Championship — Panuzio/Mansell def. Hymas/Ford, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.
Semifinals — Zach Beckstrand/Brandon Kasparian, Viewmont, def. David West/Jordan Branch, Alta, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1; Brandon Budge/Cheyenne Perry, Brighton, def. Matt Zwick/Lucas Wale, Lone Peak, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.
Championship — Budge/Perry def. Beckstrand/Kasparian, 6-2, 6-2.