SALT LAKE CITY — The time of year is here again when the state’s best tennis players gather at Liberty Park to showcase their skills and compete for a state championship. In the 3A classification defending champion Juan Diego faces an uphill battle to a repeat, while 2016 runner-up Park City may appear the favorite.
The Miners won four of five positions at the Region 9 tournament with the only position not owned by Park City being first doubles where Stansbury will represent as the region’s No. 1 seed.
“It’s nice because we’re a really deep team all around, I don’t think anyone else has as many number ones as we do this year,” Miners coach Hunter Nicholas said when asked the importance of holding higher seeds in the state tournament.
In first singles defending state champion Steffen Rigby from Bear River appears to be favored to repeat, but will face tough competition from 2016 second singles state champion Connor Kempin from Juan Diego. As well as Cole Lee, the Park City senior who last year competed in second singles has become a leader to the team.
“When Cole steps on the court I think he physically matches up well with just about anyone, he’s a very big strong kid but he can also move,” Nicholas said when asked about Lee’s skillset as a player.
With Kempin moving from second singles to first, the second singles bracket appears almost wide open. No. 1 seeds Mitchell Wade from Pine View, Connor Burke from Park City, and Bryan Palmer from Canyon View all figure to play into the title picture somewhat. As well as Keanu Rigby, the little brother of first singles champ Steffen Rigby, who will represent Bear River in the second singles bracket.
In third singles the field looks as competitive as ever, with converted doubles player Spencer Kunkel now representing Park City in the third singles bracket and Ridgeline’s Jaxon Brenchley appearing to be the favorites.
“Spenser has probably been our most improved player over the past year,” Nicholas said when asked about Kunkel’s adjustment to singles play.
First doubles is the only position in which Park City did not earn Region 9’s No. 1 seed. That honor belongs to Stansbury’s experienced pair of junior Scott Ruebush and senior Renden Dye. Ridgeline fields a strong pair in seniors Tayler Blotter and Parker Lund, their experience will no doubt be a factor in their performance in the state tournament.
The Miners field a talented young pair in second doubles with freshman Quinn Dicesaris and sophomore Colton Stephens. The field boasts several strong experienced pairs such as North Sanpete’s senior duo in Brenden Blackham and Tanner Morley.
3A State Tournament
Friday’s first round
Ben Palmer, North Sanpete, vs. Luke Price, Union
Stefan Balian, Dixie, vs, Cake Henline, Logan
Steffen Rigby, Bear River, vs. Josh Sodorff, Snow Canyon
Seth Becket, Grantsville, vs. Ashton Lyons, Juab
Jonathon Fairbanks, Pine View, vs. Ryan Cheney, Ridgeline
Matt Pearson, Canyon View, vs. Erik Leary, Stansbury
Cole Lee, Park City, vs. TJ Gadd, Richfield
Connor Kempin, Juan Diego, vs. Britton Hoskins, Cedar
Robbie Ballam, Logan, vs. Kayleb Squire, Juab
Mitchell Wade, Pine View, vs. Brian Spencer, Union
Connor Burke, Park City, vs. Grayson Dewitt, Dixie
Ethan Ostraff, North Sanpete, vs. Sam Nielson, Juan Diego
Porter Whitworth, Grantsville, vs. Greyson Loveland, Cedar
Bryan Palmer, Canyon View, vs. Max Lyons, Ridgeline
Keanu Rigby, Bear River, vs. MJ Lee, Carbon
Taylor Heinz, Snow Canyon, vs. Andrew Gibbons, Stansbury
Rayden Ogborn, Bear River, vs. Peter Kurtz, Grantsville
Emmet Hinck, Richfield, vs. Mitchell Erekson, Pine View
Jake Hardy, Desert Hills, vs. Russell Madsen, North Sanpete
Josh England, Stansbury, vs. Jake Dickson, Logan
Tanner Sorenson, Snow Canyon, vs. Levi Saylor, Canyon View
Spencer Kunkel, Park City, vs. Josh Hopkins, Morgan
Jaxon Brenchley, Ridgeline, vs. Evan Percival, Union
Colton Wright, Juab, vs. Sergio Garcia, Cedar
Sterling Bradshaw/Avery Whittaker, Canyon View, vs. Andrew Dalton/Jase Wilson, Grantsville
Conner McArthur/Josh James, Desert Hills, vs. Luke Kasmitter/Andrea Bordato, Ben Lomond
Tayler Blotter/Parker Lund, Ridgeline, vs. Hyrum Sorenson/Gibson Crawford, Pine View
Charlie Lambert/Alex Burkemper, Park City, vs. Hagen Isaacson/Carter Reed, Juab
Matt Morgan/Broden Lund, Snow Canyon, vs. Jackson Schow/Jed Christensen, Bear River
Joe Garlick/Kendall Grasteit, North Sanpete, vs. Terran Dunn/Jayden Peterson, Tooele
Scott Ruebush/Renden Dye, Stansbury, vs. Parker Achenbach/Dillon Blackner, Richfield
Dylan Jenkins/Jordan Polotu, Logan, vs. Daniel Bethers/Carson Bottema, Dixie
Eric Ellis/Decker Robinson, Ridgeline, vs. Drake Orme/Tanner Wright, Juab
Futo Ide/Nathan Obray, Pine View, vs. Weston Tucket/Parker Killian, Grantsville
Quinn Dicesaris/Colton Stephens, Park City, vs. Tanner Deal/Cade Thorkelson, Snow Canyon
Jordan Averett/Ryan Walton, Canyon View, vs. Jack Clifton/Michael Summers, Logan
TJ Thomsen/Brady Kimberling, Stansbury, vs. Preston DuCrest/Nash Stout, Hurricane
Brenden Blackham/Tanner Morley, North Sanpete, vs. Even Stoffa/Bill Fath, Juan Diego
Tyson Hewlett/Aaron Evans, Bear River, vs. Kaden Hampton/Jacob Ross, Richfield
Noah Thompson/Ethan Anderson, Desert Hills, vs. Chase Birchell/Trevor Birchell, Union