I can’t say enough good things about these boys and the nine seniors on this team but they all really wanted to win and they showed that today. —Orem coach AJ Young
SALT LAKE CITY — Propelled by three singles titles, the Orem Tigers laid claim to the 4A tennis state championships Saturday at the George S. Eccles Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Utah. The Tigers scored 24 team points to easily outdistance runner-up Salem Hills (12) and third-place finisher Park City (11)
With the team title locked up after Saturday morning’s semis, Orem coach AJ Young sent his guys out to collect additional hardware.
“As good as it felt to lock up the team title after the semis, no one was satisfied,” Young said.
Orem’s No. 1 singles player Kaden Craig came through a gauntlet to claim a state title. In the morning’s semis, Craig handed Green Canyon’s Ryan Jeppson his first loss of the season in a 3-set thriller, 4-6, 6-2, 6 -4.
Facing off against Salem Hills senior Tanner Nicholls in the final, Craig won the first set, 7-5, lost set No. 2, 3-6 and began cramping early in set No. 3.
“I had some mustard, a lot of liquids, stretched and just came out and told myself to play my game, not go for too much and to just fight through it,” Craig said.
With family and friends, and the entire Orem squad gathered from a perch above the court, Craig dug deep with a 6-1, third-set victory.
“Their support was great,” Craig said. “It gave me energy and that hope and that will to go out there and fight and keep fighting.”
His twin brother, Christian Craig, after battling some nerves early Saturday, dominated Salem Hills senior Jason Cheney in the No. 2 singles final, 6-1, 6-2.
“I was nervous in my first match because Benard (Bonneville) is pretty good,” Craig said. “Coming into the finals, I’ve played Cheney twice so I was pretty confident and knew what to do.”
The senior-laden Tigers made it a clean sweep of the singles state titles when Tanner Reese beat Bonneville junior Andrew McCall 6-3, 6-2 in No. 3 singles.
“I’ve been working for this for the last couple of years, so a win means a lot,” Reese said.
Coming into the tournament, the 4A field looked wide open, but Orem coach AJ Young saw the work his guys had put in this season and knew the Tigers would be tough.
“They’ve worked so hard and been so competitive with each other at practice this year,” Young said of his Tigers. “I can’t say enough good things about these boys and the nine seniors on this team but they all really wanted to win and they showed that today.”
The Park City duo of Charlie Lambert and Quin Dicesaris survived tie breakers in both of their matches Saturday, earning the No. 1 doubles title with a 7-6(4), 6-1 decision over Orem’s No. 1 doubles team, John McCann and Wilson Greer.
A large contingent of Desert Hills fans stayed for the final match of the tournament to see seniors Jake Hardy and Justin Davidson claim the No. 2 singles titles with a 6-2, 7-5 win over the Pine View team of Mitchell Erekson and Hyrum Sorensen.
4A team scores: Orem 24, Salem Hills 12, Park City 11, Desert Hills 8, Pine View 8, Bonneville 7, Green Canyon 5, Ridgeline 5, Payson 3, Dixie 2, Snow Canyon 2, Mountain Crest 1, Stansbury 1, Spanish Fork 1
Utah 4A state championship results:
No. 1 singles final: Kaden Craig, Orem, def. Tanner Nicholls, Salem Hills, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1
No. 1 singles semis
Nicholls def. Cheney 6-4, 6-2
Craig def. Jeppson 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
No. 2 singles final: Christian Craig, Orem, def. Jason Cheney, Salem Hills, 6-1, 6-2
No. 2 singles semis:
Cheney def. Burkemper 7-5, 6-1
Craig def. Benard, 6-0, 6-2
No. 3 singles final: Tanner Reese, Orem, def. Andrew McCall, Bonneville, 6-3, 6-2
No. 3 singles semis:
Reese def. Mantoni, Park City, 6-2, 6-1
McCall def. Ellis, Ridgeline, 6-0, 6-1
No. 1 doubles final: Charlie Lambert and Quin Dicesaris, Park City, def. John McCann and Wilson Greer, Orem, 7-6, 6-1
No. 1 doubles semis:
Lambart and Dicesaris def. Aitken and Crawford, Pine View, 6-3, 7-6
McCann and Greer def. James and Thompson Desert Hills 6-1, 2-6, 6-4
No. 2 doubles final: Jake Hardy and Justin Davidson, Desert Hills, def. Mitchell Erekson and Hyrum Sorenson, Pine View, 6-2, 7-5
No. 2 doubles semis:
Erekson and Sorensen def. Chinquy and Chinquy, Orem, 6-4, 6-4
Hardy and Davidson def. Shelley and Thompson, Salem Hills, 6-1, 6-0