I just thought to myself I gotta fight for it. This is my senior year and this is the last time I’ll probably ever play competitive tennis again so I just knew I had to dig deep. —Brighton's Derek Turley
SALT LAKE CITY — If the Brighton Bengals go on to win the 5A state tennis title, more than a few pats on the back and hearty handshakes will be delivered to third-singles player Derek Turley. Having dropped the first set to Woods Cross junior Holden Iverson, Turley, a senior, fought back and won the second set 7-5. With a sea of orange behind him celebrating every point and every fist pump Friday at Liberty Park, Turley sealed the win with a 6-2 third set.
Turley’s win was part of a steady first day for the Bengals, who advanced all three singles players and both doubles teams into Saturday’s semis. Brighton leads the 5A field with 10 points, Woods Cross has nine and Timpview eight.
“I just thought to myself I gotta fight for it,” Turley said. “This is my senior year and this is the last time I’ll probably ever play competitive tennis again so I just knew I had to dig deep.”
While Brighton won its only head-to-head matchup against Woods Cross, the two schools have semifinal matchups at first singles, first doubles and second doubles when play resumes Saturday morning at Liberty Park.
With the reconfigured 5A tournament, Bengals coach Natalie Meyer said this is the first time she’s ever rolled into the state tournament having no idea what was going to happen. What happened was her Bengals looked steady, sharp and ready to go.
“My boys played great, great tennis today,” Meyer said. “We started right off the bat and the guys went to work and got the job done.”
Even with a lead, Meyer said the message Saturday morning for her players is to be themselves.
“We know we have some tough matches ahead of us,” Meyer said. “We’re just going to come in the morning, play our best tennis and see what happens.”
A year ago, then Brighton freshman Redd Owen captured the 5A first-singles title. On Saturday morning in first-singles play, he’ll square off against Woods Cross freshman Spencer Johnson, a crafty left-hander who hit all kinds of angles in his 6-3, 7-5 win over Maple Mountain senior Daniel Blonquist in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Woods Cross' second-singles player, senior Jakob Kempema, another lefty, looked impressive Friday, dropping just four games in two matches.
Despite his youth, Johnson said he’s all in for the chance to send the seniors out on a good note.
“We have a couple seniors and this is their last chance,” Johnson said. “They are going to give it their all so we just have to come out tomorrow, play our game and try to win this thing.”
While Woods Cross lost its third-singles player, the doubles tandems of Peter Richards and Josh Lewis along with the senior tandem of Tyler and Mason Cowley both looked impressive on the first day of the tournament.
Wildcats coach Joe Cowley was pleased with how his team competed Friday and says the guys just need to keep grinding.
“Everybody just really played within themselves today,” Cowley said. “Tomorrow they have to play their own game and let the matches take care of themselves.”
5A boys state tournament
Friday at Liberty Park
Brighton 10, Woods Cross 9, Timpview 8, Maple Mountain 6, Corner Canyon 5, Olympus 5, Skyridge 3, Viewmont 3, Skyline 2, Springville 2, Wasatch 1, Bountiful 1, East 1, Highland 1, Provo 1, Timpanogos 1, West 1
Austin Beckstead, Timpanogos def. Drew Hartsfield, Olympus
Redd Owen, Brighton def. JD Gardner, Box Elder
Spencer Johnson, Woods Cross def. Nicholas Colt, Jordan
Daniel Blonquist, Maple Mountain def. Daichi Masuki, Highland
Josh Pearce, Timpview def. Nate McDonald, Viewmont
Gustavo Kerber, Provo def. Tyler Rubalcava
Ethan Dubil, West def. Phoenix Hafen, Wasatch
Jenson Rideout, Corner Canyon def. Sam Stobbe, Bountiful
First singles quarterfinals
Owen def. Beckstead
Johnson def. Blonquist
Pearce def. Kerber
Rideout def. Dubil
Saul Esplin, Timpview def Aiden Chenney, Murray
Tennyson Whiting, Maple Mountain def. Trent Cannon, Box Elder
Jakob Kempema, Woods Cross def. Jackson Harris, Timpanogos
Tristan Buckner, Corner Canyon def. Parker Warner, Olympus
Cooper Jenkins, Wasatch def. Colton Christensen, Viewmont
Adrian Wilde, Skyline def. Ryan Woodhead, Alta
Mitch Smith, Brighton def. Chase Peterson, East
Ethan Bird, Springville def. Jason Murdock, Bountiful
Second singles quarterfinals
Whiting def. Esplin
Kempema def. Buckner
Wilde def. Jenkins
Smith def. Bird
Derek Turley, Brighton def. Garrett Lindsey, Springville
Holden Iverson, Woods Cross def. Will Dale, Highland
Cole Marshall, Olympus def. Carter Ellis, Box Elder
Tyler Easton, Corner Canyon def. Caden Petersen, Provo
Grant Wilkinson, Viewmont def. Brad Smith, Skyline
Cadyn Brown, Timpview def. Ben McCullough, Wasatch
Hudson Roney, Maple Mountain def. Jacob Beck, Alta
Paul Parkin, East def. Bennett Thompson, Bountiful
Third singles quarterfinals
Turley def. Iverson
Easton def. Marshall
Wilkinson def. Brown
Roney def. Perkins
Trevor Bond/Carson Clark, Wasatch def. Hayden Carter/Will Kendall, Skyline
Parker Watts/Jared Hunt, Brighton def. Andrew Wood/Jordan Carr, Box Elder
Peter Richards/Josh Lewis, Woods Cross def. Rhet Turley/Ashton Renfro, Alta
Jake Prothero/Emmitt Pigott, Maple Mountain def. Tanner Hunt/Michael Jewkes, Murray
Stephen Gutke/Jaden Hodges, Viewmont def. Max Roberts/Drew Osbourne, Corner Canyon
Jake Lambert/Seth Lambert, Skyridge def. Abram Toronto/McKay Bradford, Highland
Robbie Ballam/Ellis Ivory, Olympus def. Allen Otterstrom/Johnny Astle, Provo
Emmet Hart/Jorun Christianson, Timpview def. Jens Mickelson/Mitchell Felix
First doubles quarterfinals
Watts and Hunt def. Bond and Clark
Richards and Lewis def. Prothero and Pigott
Lambert and Lambert def. Gutke and Hodges
Hart and Christianson def. Ballam and Ivory
Blair Glade/Justin Allen, Brighton def. Zach Moore/Mike Grant, East
Garrett Rusick/Carson Stagg, Skyridge def. Scott Black/Segio Alba, Box Elder
Tyler Cowley/Mason Cowley, Woods Cross def. Chandler Dukes/Kade Thompson
Jake Bauman/Cole Smith, Highland def. RJ Bonds/William Pearson, Alta
Sam Lindsey/Andrew Hammond, Springville def. Ryan Trump/Isaak Getz, Viewmont
Ethan Stanger/Sawyer Peterson, Olympus def. Caleb Wiggins/Jason Fridley, Jordan
Barrett Kawa/Jake Larsen, Timpview def. Colton Rodgers/Alex Smith, Murray
Alex Eyring/Michael Ebert, Bountiful def. Andrew Cardon/Jake Fryer, Maple Mountain
Second doubles quarterfinals
Glade and Allen def. Rusick and Stagg
Cowley and Cowley def. Bauman and Smith
Stanger and Peterson def. Lindsey and Hammond