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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

First Singles

Upper Bracket

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

Lower Bracket

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

Second Singles

Upper Bracket

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

Lower Bracket

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

Third Singles

Upper Bracket

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

Lower Bracket

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

First Doubles

Upper Bracket

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

Lower Bracket

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

Second Doubles

Upper Bracket

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

Lower Bracket

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