SALT LAKE CITY — Early in the third set of his second singles final against Weber’s Bridger Harrison, Lone Peak senior Micah Heimuli felt his body begin to cramp. Leading 5-2 with the finish line in sight, the cramps got worse, eventually forcing a medical timeout when Harrison leveled the match at 5-5 in the third.
Having given up four match points, with the team title long ago clinched as Lone Peak's first singles, third singles, first doubles and second doubles teams all won titles, Heimuli could have called it a day.
Instead, Heimuli reached for a gear he didn’t know he had, earned another match point, and put away the match to a thunderous roar from Lone Peak fans who had assembled to offer their support.
“I’ve never been in a situation like that, and I didn’t know how to handle it,” Heimuli said. “I just thought about my teammates and my family and how long I’ve been playing tennis, and I just wanted to end it without a forfeit.”
Through the agony of the pain he was facing, one voice stood out, that of his best friend, No. 1 singles champion Brigham Andrus who shouted encouragement from the sidelines through the final two sets.
“I’m so happy for him,” Andrus said. “He deserves it more than anything, and he’s been my best friend since first grade.”
Earlier in the afternoon, Andrus defeated Herriman sophomore Giovanni Claus 6-1, 6-1 at first singles. Andrus will serve an LDS mission before attending BYU to continue his tennis career.
“It’s awesome,” Andrus said. “Our goal was to sweep, and we got it, man.”
Knights coach John LaCognata, who officially retired after hoisting the 6A trophy called the Heimuli final one of the most incredible matches he’s ever seen.
“For this to be my last match and to watch that, it just showed guts,” LaCognata said. “A lot of kids would have folded up the tent and just been done.”
While the margin of victory was demonstrative, Lone Peak 30, American Fork 13, and three schools tied at eight, the Knights had to fight for perfection.
The first doubles tandem of Niles Cochran and Josh Bearss, who have been playing together since age 4, found themselves tied 2-2 in a third-set semifinal with Bingham. The next game took 25 minutes but the seniors prevailed and eventually won their first-doubles final, 6-1, 6-4 over the American Fork duo of Dane Peterson and Ben Roper.
“We made it to finals our sophomore year, and we didn’t play last year,” Bearrs said. “It means a lot to cap off our senior year with a team title and this doubles title.”
LaCognata got emotional after the final match and complimented the mettle of his squad.
“Nobody ever said we’re done and everyone just fought and fought and fought,” he said
As LaCognata sails off into retirement he says the 2018 Knights had two common threads that bound them together.
“I think just the comradery and the never say did mentality,” he said. “I just told them to keep fighting till the fat coach sings.”
6A tennis team points: Lone Peak 30, American Fork 13, Pleasant Grove 8, Layton 8, Weber 8, Bingham 7, Herriman 5, Riverton 4, Cyprus 2, Davis 2, Fremont 2, Hillcrest 1, Northridge 1, Taylorsville 1, West Jordan 1
First singles semifinals
Giovanni Claus, Herriman, def. Cooper Harrison, Weber, 6-0, 6-2
Brigham Andrus, Lone Peak, def. Jesse Nomichith, Cyprus, 6-0, 6-0
First singles final Brigham Andrus, Lone Peak, def. Giovanni Claus, Herriman, 6-1, 6-1
Second singles semifinals Bridger Harrison, Weber, def. Cade Condie, American Fork, 6-0, 6-0 Micah Heimuli, Lone Peak, def. Chase Boisjolie, Layton, 6-0, 6-2
Second singles final Micah Heimuli, Lone Peak, def. Bridger Harrison, Weber, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(6)
Third singles semifinals Tyler Wells, Lone Peak, def. Walker Kemp, Layton, 6-1, 6-1 Easton McBeth, American Fork, def. Danny Lee, Pl. Grove, 7-6 (4), 6-7(3), 6-4
Third singles final Tyler Wells, Lone Peak, def. Easton McBeth, American Fork, 6-0, 6-2
First doubles semifinals Niles Cochran and Josh Bearss, Lone Peak, def. Josh Peterson and Cody White, Bingham, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 Dane Peterson and Ben Roper, American Fork, def. Noah Cook and Evan Armknecht, Pleasant Grove, 6-0, 4-6, 6-1
First doubles final Niles Cochran and Josh Bearss, Lone Peak, def. Dane Peterson and Ben Roper, American Fork 6-1, 6-4
Second doubles semifinals Austin Cox and Ben Crane, Bingham, def. McKay Sobotka and Rob Crowther, American Fork, 6-3, 6-4 Alex Miller and Josh Weichers, Lone Peak, def. Jacob Wimmer and Adam Norton, Pleasant Grove, 6-0, 6-1
Second doubles final Alex Miller and Josh Weichers, Lone Peak, def. Austin Cox and Ben Crane, Bingham, 6-2, 6-3