SALT LAKE CITY — It was all on the line as Skyline freshman Michael Cherchio battled Brighton freshman Parker Hopkin over on Court 7 at the Eccles Tennis Center at the University of Utah late Saturday afternoon.
The two schools had gone back and forth in the team standings for two days of the tournament and now at the end of a long two days of play, delayed because of two days of rain, the winner of the match would win the state championship for his school.
In the end it was Cherchio who came through with a 6-1, 6-3 victory in the No. 2 singles to give Skyline the 5A title by the slimmest of margins over the Bengals. The Eagles finished with 20 points to the Bengals’ 19, while Corner Canyon came in third with 12.
“I felt the pressure,” said Cherchio. “I play competitive tennis, but I haven’t felt the pressure like that before. I just tried to breathe and calm down. It feels good that everyone came through and focused and hung together.”
“We’re excited -- it feels really good,” said Skyline coach Lani Wilcox, who won a title with the Eagles two years earlier. “My boys worked hard. It was a lot of pressure.”
Just as big as Cherchio’s win at No. 2 singles was the win at No. 1 doubles in the semifinals that Wilcox called “huge” when Gunner Woller and Sam Stewart outlasted Brighton’s Parker Watts and Hardy Owen in a three-set thriller 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 that was decided 7-5 in the third-set tiebreak.
Wilcox’s son, Connor, was the Eagles’ No. 1 player, but didn’t compete this weekend because he had to go play in a national tournament, so the Eagles had no players at the No. 1 spot yet still came through with the victory.
Brighton’s Redd Owen won No. 1 singles for the third straight year, defeating Woods Cross’ Spencer Johnson 6-4, 6-4 in the finals. Although he never lost a set and won his two previous matches 6-0, 6-0 and 6-1, 6-0, you’d never know it from talking to the humble Owen.
“I got lucky this time,” said Owen, who has a scholarship to play for BYU. “It came down to focusing and I got lucky on a couple of big points. It was a hard-fought match and I was fortunate to come out with a win this week.”
Skyline freshman Ethan Green won No. 3 singles and the Eagles’ Woller and Stewart won No. 1 doubles, while Brighton’s Justin Allen and Jacob Simmons won No. 2 doubles.
5A Tennis results
Team scores: 1. Skyline 20: 2. Brighton 19; 3. Corner Canyon 12: 4. Woods Cross 9; 5. Olympus 6; 6. Maple Mountain 5; 7. Timpview 4; 8. Skyridge 3; 9 (tie) Cottonwood, Farmington, Highland, Provo 2.
No. 1 singles
Redd Owen, Brighton def. Josh Jones, Farmington 6-0, 6-3
Spencer Johnson, Woods Cross def. Josh Pearce, Timpview 6-3, 6-1
Owen def. Johnson 6-4, 6-3
No. 2 singles
Michael Cherchio, Skyline def. Holden Iverson, Woods Cross 6-4, 7-6
Parker Hopkin, Brighton def. Hudson Roney, Maple Mountain 6-3, 6-2
Cherchio def. Hopkin 6-1, 6-3
No. 3 singles
Spencer Willes, Corner Canyon def. Peter Richards, Woods Cross 6-2, 6-2
Ethan Green, Skyline def. Cadyn Brown, Skyridge 2-6, 6-1, 6-1
Green def. Willes 6-4. 6-1
No. 1 doubles
SemifinalsComment on this story
Max Roberts & Drew Osbourne, Corner Canyon def. Sawyer Peterson & Oscar Smith, Olympus 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
Gunner Woller & Sam Stewart, Skyline def. Parker Watts & Hardy Owen, Brighton 6-7, 6-4, 7-6
Woller-Stewart def. Roberts-Osbourne 6-1, 6-2
No. 2 doubles
Justin Allen & Jacob Simmons, Brighton def. Will Kendell & Carter Brindley, Skyline 6-2, 3-6, 7-5
Milo Headden & Chuck Nadauld, Olympus def. Charlie Jenkins & Tyler Easton, Corner Canyon 7-6, 6-3
Allen-Simmons def. Headden-Nadauld 3-6, 6-0, 6-3