Less than a year removed from the 2013 Class 2A tennis tournament, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Last season saw Waterford and Rowland Hall share the boys state tennis title, and Saturday’s competition could have some magic of its own with a field that promises to be wide open.
Quinn Pritchett leads the Waterford team in first singles, and after claiming the second singles title in 2013 as a freshman, he will have a target on his back.
Rowland Hall senior Bryce Baker, who was the runner-up in No. 1 singles in 2013, will attempt to guide last year's co-champions in the same direction the school has been on for nearly a decade.
The Winged Lions have won eight of the past 10 boys state tennis titles.
Baker will face off against Manti senior Conner Aste to open the tournament, with Aste trying to help the Templars stun the field like they did back in 2012.
Wasatch Academy hopes to leave an impression on the courts after lackluster showings in the past, and will have senior Geno Luzcando taking the court against underclassman Steve Yi from St. Joseph.
Taking the spot of Waterford’s Pritchett in No. 2 singles will be Ravens sophomore Max Gruber, who is fresh off a second-place finish in 2013. His biggest threat will be defending No. 3 singles champion Aaron Friedman, a Rowland Hall junior.
Manti's Joshua Yang, boasting a 9-0 record on the season, opens the tournament against Kyle Kim of Wasatch Academy.
No. 3 singles is packed full of talent this year.
Rowland Hall senior Karim Shaaban made the move to singles action after a dramatic title run in doubles play in 2013. Wasatch Academy senior Spencer Hall has the tall task of taking on Shaaban to open the tournament.
Christian Heat stayed put in third singles after a semifinal exit in 2013, and the Waterford junior will have to take on Southern Utah’s talent en route to the championship.
Julian Stacey and Trevor Falls will be the lone duo for Rowland Hall in this Saturday’s tournament, and the Winged Lion seniors will likely do battle with the Waterford duo of Shravan Ramayanapu and Georg Matus in semifinal action.
Logan Lund and Davis Hardy lead Manti in the lower bracket of No. 1 doubles, which includes Delta senior Ethan Bliss and Joey Morrison hoping to make a splash.
No. 2 doubles is completely up for grabs this weekend, which could make for an interesting finish should the leaderboard get a little crammed at the top.
The Ravens are sending out the freshmen pair of Jackson Sponaugle and Will McFarland to help defend the title, and the underclassmen will do battle with Derek Johnson and Dallin Porter of Grand to start the day.
Eric Lee and Brady Pogroszewski are bringing a 9-0 record to Liberty Park this weekend for Manti, and will likely be the team to beat in No. 2 doubles.
Play starts at 9 a.m. at the Liberty Park tennis courts.
The 2A boys state tennis meet will take place on Saturday only with quarterfinal, semifinal and championship matches wrapping up by days end.