You never know how other teams are going to come in and mix things up. State is always exciting because there are so many variables you can’t prepare for. —Waterford coach Ken Wade.
In the four years since sharing the 2A state tennis title with rival Rowland Hall, Waterford has dominated the classification with four additional state championships.
So when Waterford beat Rowland Hall 4-1 in a region meeting earlier this season, naturally the players started to assume 2018 would be another championship season.
That all changed last Friday at the Region 13 championships. With slightly different line-ups in the rematch, Rowland Hall returned the favor with a 4-1 win.
“We may have started believing our own hype a little bit after going undefeated and it was a rude awakening to lose all those matches. Hoping it will be a positive for us,” said Waterford coach Ken Wade.
This year’s 3A state tournament will take place this Friday and Saturday at Liberty Park.
Waterford and Rowland Hall are the likely front-runners, but Manti has four No. 1 seeds out of Region 15 and Union has three No. 1 seeds out of Region 15. With virtually no crossover between the regions during the regular season, it’s difficult to project how the top players in each region will fare against each other at state.
“You never know how other teams are going to come in and mix things up,” said Wade. “State is always exciting because there are so many variables you can’t prepare for.”
That played out in first singles showdowns between Waterford junior Lansing Jenkins and Rowland Hall senior Leif Thulin. Jenkins won the first time around in three sets, with two-time first singles champ Thulin returning the favorite in straight sets last weekend.
“They’re both extremely good players, and I think it will really come down to who plays the more consistently, confident-kind of tennis,” said Wade.
Manti sophomore Konner Clark is undefeated this season and the No. 1 seed on Jenkins’ half of the bracket, while undefeated Gunnison senior Tim Stewart is the top seed on Thulin’s side.
Manti’s strength is at singles, with all three players gaining tourney experience last year. As a sophomore last year Connor Bushnell reached the championship at third singles but lost 7-5-6-3.
Manti coach Todd Jorgensen said the experience his singles players gained last year in dealing with the stress of the state tournament is a plus heading into this year’s tourney.
“I believe we’re on the upward trend, we’re improving as each week goes by and that’s one of the best things you can see as a coach,” said Jorgensen.
3A state tournament
Friday at Liberty Park
Konner Clark, Manti vs. Josh Christensen, Draper APA
Brian Spencer, Union vs. Luke Pearson, Judge
Lansing Jenkins, Waterford vs. Russell Madsen, North Sanpete
Ashton Lyons, Juab vs. Lyle Palmer, San Juan
Tim Stewart, Gunnison vs. Josh Hopkin, Morgan
Elton Kunze-Jones, Grand vs. Seth Beckett, Grantsville
TJ Gadd, Richfield vs. Carter Arris, Wasatch Academy
Leif Thulin, Rowland Hall vs. Trenton Howard, Maeser Prep
Tucker Lee, Rowland Hall vs. Jason Fowles, Delta
Kasey Kemp, Grand vs. Carson Martines, Carbon
Peter Kurtz, Grantsville vs. Alexander Stewart, Gunnison
Emmett Hinck, Richfield vs. Dannion Nelson, Draper APA
Kevin Clark, Manti vs. Kayleb Squire, Juab
Shilp Shah, Waterford vs. William Wang, Wasatch Academy
Tony Robinson, Judge vs. Luke Palmer, San Juan
Reid Price, Union vs. Garrett Jones, South Sevier
Gabriel Jensen, Gunnison vs. Kean Poyer, San Juan
Ford Christenson, Waterford vs. Trevor Ence, North Sanpete
Kai Wainer, Grand vs. Ethan Jorgensen, Union
Porter Whitworth, Grantsville vs. Adam Fu, Wasatch Academy
Peter Chase, Rowland Hall vs. Ryker Roundy, South Sevier
Jarom Robinson, Juab vs. Jacob Ross, Richfield
Hayden Lee, Delta vs. Brinton Winn, Morgan
Austin Hills, St. Joseph vs. Connor Bushnell, Manti
Joe Garlick/Kendall Grasteit, North Sanpete vs. Simon Briesacher/Carter Titmus, Judge
Teylor Pollack/Ethan Hammond, Gunnison vs. Josh Kesling/Noah Edgar, Rowland
Andrew Dalton/Jase Wilson, Grantsville vs. Dallin Cox/Mason Thompson, Manti
Tanner Mascaro/Braxten Pierce, Grand vs. Canden Stockdale/Jackson Rosier, Carbon
Evan Percival/Chase Birchell, Union vs. Philip Buttschardt/Arturo Cuesta, St. Joseph
Parker Achenbach/Dillon Blackner, Richfield vs. Brayden Wilkinson/Carter Thackery, Morgan
Ramsey Holliday/Dylan Ivins, San Juan vs. Michael Huston/Wesly Harston, Maeser Prep
Arvind Mudaliar/Tarun Martheswaran, Waterford vs. Nick Abbott/Nick Hansen, Delta
Weston Tuckett/Max Coon, Grantsville vs. Brock Overly/Spencer Overly, Gunnison
Jason Haywood/Justus Reitz, Richfield vs. Adam Cottle/Jacob Cottle, Maeser Prep
Jack Christensen/Bonham Brewer, Carbon vs. Spencer Norris/Omeed Moshirfar, Waterford
Brigham Lewis/Alex Mower, North Sanpete vs. Dillon Heaton/Caleb Crandall, Summit Academy
Austin Cox/Grady Thompson, Manti vs. Durango Dodge/Corbin Park, Juab
Soren Feola/Justin Peng, Rowland Hall vs. Ethan Willoughby/Jaxon Sentker, Delta
Holden Welsh/Seth Hadley, Morgan vs. Cody Johnston/Hayden Lance, Grand
Kaleb Lisonbee/Parker Brinkerhoff, Union vs. Dex Dalton/Talmage Smith, South Sevier