SALT LAKE CITY — With a morning chock full of semifinal matchups between the two top 5A tennis teams in Utah, Woods Cross and Brighton, Natalie Meyer's Bengals went to work. First singles player Redd Owen defeated Woods Cross freshman Spencer Johnson, and the first doubles tandem of Parker Watts and Jared Hunt defeated Peter Richards and Josh Lewis.
By the time the semifinal round was over, Brighton had 18 points as all three singles players, and both doubles teams reached their respective finals. While Owen was the only Bengal player to capture a state title, Brighton put up 20 points to outdistance Woods Cross, which finished second with 13 points.
“They are my family, they are my kids, and today they played the very best tennis I have been able to get out of them,” Meyer said after the title was clinched.
With three seniors on the roster, Meyer looks forward to the challenge of next year’s players learning from those already in the program.
“Every year the new ones come and they become part of the Brighton family and they come see how much hard work it takes to reach this level of tennis,” Meyer added.
One of the players Meyer doesn’t have to worry about replacing is the sophomore Owen, who claimed a second consecutive first singles title in 5A.
Owen had to battle in Saturday’s semis to knock off Johnson, the talented freshman from Woods Cross. In the final, he ground out a 6-3, 6-4 win over Timpview junior, Josh Pearce.
“Spencer is an amazing player and he had me shaking in my boots,” Owen said. “The match with Josh was one of the toughest matches I’ve every played, and it was an honor just to be on the court with him.”
While Woods Cross stumbled in the morning semifinals, cousins Tyler and Mason Cowley captured a second doubles title for the Wildcats with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Olympus sophomores Ethan Stanger and Sawyer Peterson.
Tyler Cowley hoped to win a state basketball title this year. Instead, he found solace winning a tennis title with his cousin.
“It’s fun to be next to my cousin and take state with him, and it just means everything,” he said.
Family ties seemed to set the tone for Saturday’s doubles finals as Skyridge brothers Jake and Seth Lambert captured the first doubles title with a 6-4, 6-3 win over the Brighton tandem of Parker Watts and Jared Hunt.
Senior Jake recalled winning a tournament at age 12 with his brother and feeling that chemistry develop over the past few seasons.
“We just have that brotherly intuition,” Jake Lambert said. “Being able to work together and know how each other plays, it has been awesome to be able to play with him.”
Maple Mountain, which tied with Timpview for third place in the 5A team standings, picked up an individual title at second singles when sophomore Tennyson Whiting defeated Brighton sophomore, Mitch Smith, 6-2, 6-2.
At No. 3 singles, Viewmont senior Grant Wilkinson squared off against a familiar opponent, Brighton’s Derek Turley. Wilkinson won in straight sets and promptly marched over to give his parents an emotional hug.
“It’s just been so much hitting alone missing out doing things with friends and grinding against the wall,” Wilkinson said. “My parents have been supporting me and paying for lessons, and they’ve always been there.”
5A tennis scores
Brighton 20, Woods Cross 13, Maple Mountain 10, Timpview 10, Skyridge 7, Viewmont 7, Olympus 6, Corner Canyon 5, Skyline 2, Wasatch 2, Springville 2, Bountiful 1, East 1, Highland 1, Provo 1, Timpanogos 1, West 1
First singles semis:
Redd Owen, Brighton, def. Spencer Johnson, Woods Cross, 6-4, 6-2
Josh Pearce, Timpview, def. Jenson Rideout, Corner Canyon, 6-1, 6-1
First singles final:
Owen def. Pearce, 6-3, 6-4
Second singles semis:
Tennyson Whiting, Maple Mountain, def. Jakob Kempema, Woods Cross, 7-6 (7), 6-4
Mitch Smith, Brighton, def. Adrian Wilde, Skyline, 6-1, 7-6 (2)
Second singles final:
Whiting def. Smith, 6-2, 6-2
Third singles semis:
Derek Turley, Brighton, def. Tyler Easton, Corner Canyon, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1
Grant Wilkinson, Viewmont, def. Hudson Roney, Maple Mountain, 6-3, 6-0
Third singles final:
Grant Wilkinson def. Derek Turley, 7-6, 6-1
First doubles semis:
Parker Watts and Jared Hunt, Brighton, def. Peter Richards and Josh Lewis, Woods Cross, 6-3, 6-4
Jake Lambert and Seth Lambert, Skyridge, def. Emmet Hart and Jorun Christianson, Timpview, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-1
First doubles final:
Lambert and Lambert def. Watts and Hunt, 6-4, 6-3
Second doubles semis:
Tyler Cowley and Mason Cowley, Woods Cross, def. Blair Glade and Justin Allen, Brighton, 6-0, 6-2
Ethan Stanger and Sawyer Peterson, Olympus, def. Barrett Kawa and Jake Larsen, Timpview, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-5
Second doubles final:
Cowley and Cowley def. Stanger and Peterson, 6-1, 6-1