SALT LAKE CITY — Heading into this week’s 6A state tennis tournament, expectations are all a matter of perspective.
For defending champion Lone Peak, with just one senior, coach Roger Baumgartner hopes his team competes well enough at all five positions to give it a chance at lifting a fourth straight championship trophy.
For everyone else, Lone Peak is the obvious frontrunner and it will take a Herculean effort to dethrone the champs.
The 6A state tournament gets underway on Friday at Liberty Park with the first two rounds, followed by the semifinals and finals on Saturday.
“We’re starting to come together for as a team,” said Baumgartner. “Filling four spots from last year’s team has kind of been a rebuild if you will, but the boys are starting to play some of their best tennis right now, so we’re happy about that.”
Perhaps the biggest catalyst this season for Lone Peak has been the return of Logan Wells. A state champion at third singles as a sophomore two years ago, he missed all of his junior season with an injury.
His younger brother TJ Wells slid into his third singles spot last year and followed in his brother’s footsteps by winning the state title.
This season TJ Wells has gone undefeated at the No. 1 singles spot for Lone Peak, while Logan Wells has gone undefeated at No. 2.
“It’s been huge to be able to plug him at the No. 2 singles spot, it’s just made all of our other positions stronger. From a leadership standpoint and from a player standpoint it’s been a huge shot in the arm for us. If we didn’t have Logan at No. 2 we’d definitely be week at the other spots,” Baumgartner said.
The trickle-down means that first-year varsity participant Nano Carter can play at No. 3 singles instead of the more competitive No. 2 spot. He’s been just as important to Lone Peak’s great regular season.
“Nano is a steady, steady player. He’s a grinder, you have to beat Nano, he will not beat himself. He’s fun to watch because he shows no emotion, never gets upset, never gets excited. Like no one I’ve ever seen before,” said Baumgartner.
Lone Peak claimed the No. 1 seed from Region 4 in four of five positions. The one spot it didn’t was at first doubles, with the Bingham team of junior Cody White and sophomore Josh Peterson claiming the region title. They’ll be the favorite at state as well.
Lone Peak juniors Alex Miller and Josh Weichers won the second doubles state title last year but this year finished second in region behind Bingham’s team.
At first singles, the race for the top spot should be pretty competitive.
Wells is the favorite going in, but a potential semifinal showdown with Giovanni Claus from Herriman awaits Saturday morning.
Claus was the runner-up at first singles last season to Lone Peak senior Brigham Andrus, and that experience of playing in the final could help him Saturday.
On the top half of the first singles bracket, Davis’ Danny Zlotnic, Pleasant Grove’s Ethan Wood, Riverton’s Jeremy Larson and American Fork’s Easton McBeth all have the potential to make a run at the title.
Riverton earned the No. 1 seed in three of five positions from Region 3, as did Davis from Region 1. Both teams will hope to be in the running for hardware on Saturday. Hillcrest won the Region 2 title in four of five positions.
Class 6A State Tournament
Friday first round at Liberty Park
Jeremy Larson, Riverton vs. Easton McBeth, American Fork
Danny Zlotnick, Davis vs. Antonio Montes, Kearns
Zach Bagshaw, Hunter vs. Joshua Morey, Fremont
Ethan Wood, Pleasant Grove vs. Jessie Marchant, Taylorsville
Alex Qi, Hillcrest vs. Calvin Bell, Northridge
TJ Wells, Lone Peak vs. Isaac McDougal, West Jordan
Giovanni Claus, Herriman vs. Ethan Snow, Bingham
Walker Kemp, Layton vs. Jayden Crowther, Cyprus
Brandon Khoune, Taylorsville vs. James Hunt, Hunter
Logan Wells, Lone Peak vs. Nelson Durrant, Northridge
Tanner Armstrong, Fremont vs. Jeremy Christensen, Bingham
Eric Heuft, Kearns vs. Kael Nicholson, Herriman
Jesse Denhalter, Layton vs. Adam Ellis, Pleasant Grove
Eric Yu, Hillcrest vs. Hunter Sanders, West Jordan
Keaton Baucom, Riverton vs. Zach Fieischel, Granger
Carson McBeth, American Fork vs. Zach Holt, Weber
Danny Lee, Pleasant Grove vs. Rey Mendez, Cyprus
Jace Harris, Davis vs. Connor Haslam, Copper Hills
Khyler Silim, Taylorsville vs. Tanner Bouwhuis, Syracuse
Nathan Musselman, Granger vs. Cole Fairbanks, American Fork
Issac Clarke, Fremont vs. Grahm Molloy, Herriman
Nano Carter, Lone Peak vs. Kendall Smith, Hunter
Bryan Guo, Hillcrest vs. Caleb Youlton, Bingham
Parker Haarbrink, Riverton vs. Travis Anderson, Layton
Travis Simmons/Nate Colton, Copper Hills vs. Ben Roper/Cade Condie, American Fork
Braedon Iverson/Hudson Schenck, Weber vs. Luke Johnson/Tony Sao, Cyprus
Alex Elbel/Alan Zhao, Hillcrest vs. Tate Fisher/Kelson McConkie, Fremont
Alex Miller/Josh Weichers, Lone Peak vs. Marcus Newton/Ian Moore, Taylorsville
Peyton Lindsey/Christian Roberts, Granger vs. Hunter Adams/Bronson Shaw, Layton
Josh Peterson/Cody White, Bingham vs. Nate Bennett/Zach Juretich, Herriman
Andrew Driggs/Berkley Day, Riverton vs. Derek Church/Brigham Porter, Pleasant Grove
Spencer Cox/McKay Renstrom, Davis vs. Cooper Condie/Gavin Gee, Hunter
David Church/Reed Miles, Taylorsville vs. Thomas Sanders/Sam Isom, HunterComment on this story
Nate Ashton/Brayden Blodgett, Lone Peak vs. Will Gunther/Isaac Peterson, Weber
Spencer Groll/Brayden Groll, Davis vs. Jacob Wimmer/Johnny Dibb, Pleasant Grove
Dallin Griffith/Zach Eccles, Granger vs. Brock Johnson/Hunter Davis, Herriman
Eric Merkley/Riley McRae, Fremont vs. Benjamin Crane/Austin Burton, Bingham
Anthony Eibel/Ian Zhao, Hillcrest vs. Aaron Schindler/Jack Bryner, Copper Hills
Jeremiah Stone/Brett Gowan, Riverton vs. Peter Kirkendall/Brady Fish, Cyprus
Josh Taggart/Bryce Bringhurst, American Fork vs. Jordan Fong/Preston Kennelly, Syracuse