LIBERTY PARK — With gusty winds and threatening weather in the air, Natalie Meyer's Brighton Bengals find themselves in a familiar spot. Despite a youngish roster with two freshmen playing major roles, the Bengals lead the 5A state tennis tournament with nine points following the first day of action at Liberty Park.

Skyline, with a roster loaded with freshman, is tied with 2018, 5A runner-up Corner Canyon. Both teams advanced most of their team to Saturday's finals, scoring eight points to trail the Bengals by a single point.

“We have some freshmen that are seasoned tennis players but on the state court for the first time and they played solid tennis and handled themselves so well,” Meyer said.

Leading the charge for Brighton is defending first singles champ Redd Owen. Brighton's leader dropped just one game in two matches against opponents from Murray and Timpanogos.

Meyer called Owen a truly gifted player who wants to be part of something special.

“It's great to see these elite players come from their high schools and be part of a team,” Meyer said. “There is a level of excellence with my kids, they want to be the best, they support each other and you can see that as they go from court to court to cheer each other on.”

First singles semifinals are loaded:

Three of the four semifinalists from a year ago advanced to Saturday's semifinals. Owen will take on Farmington freshman Tony Jones. 2018 5A runner-up Brad Pearce will meet Woods Cross freshman Spencer Johnson, who lost to Owen, 6-4, 6-2 in last years semifinals.

“I really worked on my serve this year,” Johnson said. “I'm making fewer errors from the baseline and coming forward a lot smarter and taking my time.”

Woods Cross advanced both doubles teams to Saturday's finals along with the third singles player, freshman Spencer Willes.

Skyline's second and third singles players, freshmen Michael Cherchio and Ethan Green, both advanced to Saturday's semifinals. Green outlasted Brighton's Mitch Smith, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in a thrilling second-round match.

For Skyline, fight was the theme of the afternoon. Late in the day, the second doubles team of Will Kendall and Carter Brindley found themselves in a grinder. After winning the first set against the Cottonwood tandem of Britton Jenson and Taylor Young, the pair lost a second-set tiebreak. With an enthusiastic Skyline team/crowd behind them, Kendall and Brindley advanced with a 6-4 third-set victory.

“I tried to be mean to them, I tried to be nice to them, I tried to light a fire under them and you know what, they came through in the end.”

Action resumes Friday at Liberty Park with the first rounds of the 6A tournament. The 5A and 6A semifinals and finals take place Saturday, also at Liberty Park.

Class 5A State Tournament

Thursday’s first round at Liberty Park

First singles

Upper bracket

Josh Pearce, Timpview def. Jake Bauman, Highland 6-0, 6-0

Tennyson Whiting, Maple Mountain def. Trent Cannon, Box Elder 6-1, 6-0

Spencer Johnson, Woods Cross def. Matt Landon, Provo 6-0, 6-0

Jensen Rideout, Corner Canyon def. Stewart Goodson, Olympus 6-3, 6-0

Lower bracket

Josh Jones, Farmington def. Cooper Jenkins, Wasatch 6-4, 6-1

Body Widerberg, Cottonwood def. Connor Robb-Wilcox, Skyline 6-7, 6-3, 6-3

Redd Owen, Timpview def. Paul Parkin, East 6-0, 6-0

Austin Beckstead, Timpanogos def. Sam Stobbe, Bountiful 6-4, 6-0

Second Round

Pearce def. Whiting 7-5, 7-6(4)

Johnson def. Rideout 6-0, 6-1

Jones def. Widerburg 6-0, 6-4

Owen def. Beckstead 6-1, 6-0

Second singles

Upper bracket

Tristan Buckner, Corner Canyon def. Brock Golding, Skyridge 6-1, 6-4

Holden Iverson, Woods Cross def. Ethan Stanger, Olympus 6-1, 6-0

Michael Cherchio, Skyline def. Zachary Olson, Farmington 6-0, 6-2

Emmet Hart, Timpview def. Sam Lindsey, Springville 6-3, 6-1

Lower bracket

Erik Marchant, Murray def. Jason Murdock, Bountiful 6-1, 6-4

Parker Hopkin, Brighton def. Caden Petersen, Provo 6-3, 6-1

Hudson Roney, Maple Mountain def. Stran Tassainer, Cottonwood 6-1, 6-0

Jaden Greenberg, Highland def. Brian Gutke, Viewmont 6-3, 6-3

Second Round

Iverson def. Bucker 7-6(7), 6-2

Cherchio def. Hart 6-2, 6-0

Hopkin def. Marchant 6-1, 6-0

Roney def. Greenberg 6-3, 6-2

Third singles

Upper bracket

Daniel Wilcox, Provo def. Cole Smith, Highland 6-4, 6-4

Spencer Willes, Corner Canyon def. Isaak Getz, Viewmont 6-4, 6-1

Peter Richards, Woods Cross def. Tanneer Farnsworth, Jordan 6-0, 6-1

Jake Prothero, Maple Mountain def. Matt Holmes, Olympus 7-5, 6-1

Lower bracket

Nate Gregory, Timpview def. Charlie Henderson, Farmington 7-6(4), 6-1

Cadyn Brown, Skyridge def. Brad Baker, Murray 6-0, 6-1

Ethan Green, Skyline def. Jase Greenwood, Wasatch 6-0, 6-0

Mitch Smith, Brighton def. Alex Eyring, Bountiful 6-2, 4-6, 6-2

Second round

Willes def. Wilcox 6-3, 6-2

Richards def. Prothero 6-3, 6-2

Brown def. Gregory 6-1, 6-2

Green def. Smith 6-2, 4-6, 6-2

First doubles

Upper bracket

Max Roberts/Drew Osbourne, Corner Canyon def. Will Olsen/Isaac Brickey, Highland 6-3, 4-6, 6-2

Trevor Bond/Carson Clark, Wasatch def. Mitchell Felix/Michael Ebert, Bountiful 7-6(2), 6-2

Josh Lewis/Jack Hinckle, Woods Cross def. Ethan Chudleigh/Ethan Miles, Timpanogos 6-0, 6-2

Sawyer Peterson/Oscar Smith, Olympus def. Rhett Turley/Ashton Renfro, Alta 6-4, 6-1

Lower bracket

Kade Thompson/Chandler Dukes, Provo def. Brixton Perez/Joseph Lemmon 6-4, 6-2

Gunnere Woller/Sam Stewart, Skyline def. Barrett Dawa/Jake Larsen, Timpview 6-0, 6-3

Parker Watts/Hardy Owen, Brighton vs. Jake Spencer/Mikee Grant, East def. 6-4, 6-2

Wade Hicks/Jake Fryer, Maple Mountain vs. Reagan Call/Jaxson Malmrose, Viewmont 6-3, 6-4

Second round

Roberts/Osbourne def. Bond/Clark 6-4, 6-4

Peterson/Smith def. Lewis/Hinckle 3-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(5)

Woller/Stewart def. Thompson/Dukes 6-0, 6-3

Watts/Owen def. 6-2, 6-3

Second doubles

Upper bracket

Justin Allen/Jacob Simmons, Brighton def. Andrew Cardon/Ryan Hicks, Maple Mountain 6-3, 7-6(4)

Soren Mickelson/Bennett Thompson, Bountiful def. Alex Smith/Isaac Hunter, Olympus 6-0, 6-0

Will Kendell/Carter Brindley, Skyline def. Parker McMillan/Brayden Allen, Woods Cross 6-1, 6-4

Britton Jenson/Taylor Young, Cottonwood def. Nathan Gordon/Lucas Silva, Provo 4-6, 6-4, 6-4

Lower bracket

Abraham Toronto/Will Dale, Highland def. Jackson Hodges/Matt Barlow, Viewmont 6-7(3), 6-3, 7-6(4)

Charlie Jenkins/Tyler Eaton, Corner Canyon def. Ben Hilliam/Jared Bennion, Wasatch 6-3, 6-0

Logan Kirkman/Mac Rowland, Skyridge vs. Matt Collins/Justin Castle, Timpview 6-2, 4-6, 6-2

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Milo Headden/Chuck Nadauld, Olympus vs. Kaden Rawlings/Walker Tracy, Farmington 6-4, 6-2

Second Round

Allen/Simmons def. Mickelson/Thompson 7-5, 6-3

Kendall/Brindley def. Jenson/Young 6-0, 6-7(5), 6-4

Jenkins/Easton def. Toronto/Dale7-6(2), 6-3

Headden/Nadauld def. Kirkman/Rowland 6-4, 6-2

Team points: Brighton 9, Corner Canyon 8, Skyline 8, Woods Cross 7, Maple Mountain 5, Olympus 4, Timpview 4, Skyridge 3, Cottonwood 2, Farmington 2, Highland 2, Provo 2, Bountiful, Murray, Timpanogos and Wasatch (all with 1)