The 5A state tournament kicks off this Friday at Liberty Park, and because of UHSAA realignment there’s more uncertainty than there’s been in recent years.
Many of the teams are familiar with each other, but Brighton and Viewmont dropping down a classification certainly changes the landscape. In fact, it’s created a new front-runner as Brighton opens the tournament as the slight favorite.
Brighton qualified three of its positions as the No. 1 seed — including last year’s 5A first singles champion Redd Owen — and then the other two as No. 2 seeds.
Brighton got plenty of competition from Timpview in region play, as the teams split their region duals, with Brighton then winning the pseudo-tiebreaker at region.
Outside of Region 7, Brighton coach Natalie Meyer acknowledged that her team isn’t too familiar with the other regions.
“Only preseason we played was Lone Peak, and they’re in 6A. We know of some of the players because they travel to some of the tournaments like my top players,” Meyer said.
One of those top players is Skyline’s Connor Robb-Wilcox. He won the 4A first singles championship as a freshman last season, but unfortunately he won’t be defending his title this week.
Robb-Wilcox is skipping this year’s state tournament to participate in a national tournament in Oklahoma this weekend.
“It’s kind of a bummer and he feels really bad. But when you get into these national tournaments and you’re trying to go for a full-ride scholarship to colleges, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” said Skyline coach Lani Wilcox, who is also Robb-Wilcox’s mother.
His absence isn’t the only reason Skyline isn’t a threat to repeat after winning last year’s state championship. Skyline’s first doubles team didn’t qualify for state because both competitors missed last weekend’s region tournament because of AP and IB testing.
Those two voids make repeating next to impossible, but coach Wilcox expects her remaining players to compete against anyone, “because I always stress having fun first.”
Despite Robb-Wilcox’s absence, Brighton’s Owen should still get some tough competition at first singles. On his half of the bracket is a talented freshman from Woods Cross, Spencer Johnson, who went 8-0 in region play. Another threat is Maple Mountain senior Daniel Blonquist.
In the lower half of the bracket, Provo’s Gutavo Kerber went undefeated in region play and is a very talented player. Two other players who could make some noise are Corner Canyon’s Jenson Rideout and Timpview’s Josh Pearce, who finished second and third respectively at Region 7 behind Owen.
As a team, Woods Cross qualified all of its positions as the No. 1 seed from Region 5, and it might have the best chance at upsetting Brighton. It’s not the only potential contender, though, as Olympus, Timpview and Maple Mountain all have strong teams that hope to compete.
5A state tournament
Friday at Liberty Park
Drew Hartsfield, Olympus vs. Austin Beckstead, Timpanogos
Redd Owen, Brighton vs. JD Gardner, Box Elder
Spencer Johnson, Woods Cross vs. Nicholas Colt, Jordan
Daniel Blonquist, Maple Mountain vs. Daichi Masuki, Highland
Nate McDonald, Viewmont vs. Josh Pearce, Timpview
Gustavo Kerber, Provo vs. TBD
Ethan Dubil, West vs. Phoenix Hafen, Wasatch
Jenson Rideout, Corner Canyon vs. Sam Stobbe, Bountiful
Saul Esplin, Timpview vs. Aiden Chenney, Murray
Tennyson Whiting, Maple Mountain vs. Trent Cannon, Box Elder
Jakob Kempema, Woods Cross vs. Jackson Harris, Timpanogos
Parker Warner, Olympus vs. Tristan Buckner, Corner Canyon
Colton Christensen, Viewmont vs. Cooper Jenkins, Wasatch
Adrian Wilde, Skyline vs. Ryan Woodhead, Alta
Mitch Smith, Brighton vs. Chase Peterson, East
Ethan Bird, Springville vs. Jason Murdock, Bountiful
Derek Turley, Brighton vs. Garrett Lindsey, Springville
Holden Iverson, Woods Cross vs. Will Dale, Highland
Cole Marshall, Olympus vs. Carter Ellis, Box Elder
Caden Petersen, Provo vs. Tyler Easton, Corner Canyon
Grant Wilkinson, Viewmont vs. Brad Smith, Skyline
Cadyn Brown, Timpview vs. Ben McCullough, Wasatch
Hudson Roney, Maple Mountain vs. Jacob Beck, Alta
Paul Parkin, East vs. Bennett Thompson, Bountiful
Hayden Carter/Will Kendall, Skyline vs. Trevor Bond/Carson Clark, Wasatch
Parker Watts/Jared Hunt, Brighton vs. Andrew Wood/Jordan Carr, Box Elder
Peter Richards/Josh Lewis, Woods Cross vs. Rhet Turley/Ashton Renfro, Alta
Jake Prothero/Emmitt Pigott, Maple Mountain vs. Tanner Hunt/Michael Jewkes, Murray
Stephen Gutke/Jaden Hodges, Viewmont vs. Max Roberts/Drew Osbourne, Corner Canyon
Jake Lambert/Seth Lambert, Skyridge vs. Abram Toronto/McKay Bradford, Highland
Robbie Ballam/Ellis Ivory, Olympus vs. Allen Otterstrom/Johnny Astle, Provo
Emmet Hart/Jorun Christianson, Timpview vs. Jens Mickelson/Mitchell Felix
Blair Glade/Justin Allen, Brighton vs. Zach Moore/Mike Grant, East
Garrett Rusick/Carson Stagg, Skyridge vs. Scott Black/Segio Alba, Box Elder
Tyler Cowley/Mason Cowley, Woods Cross vs. Chandler Dukes/Kade Thompson
Jake Bauman/Cole Smith, Highland vs. RJ Bonds/William Pearson, Alta
Ryan Trump/Isaak Getz, Viewmont vs. Sam Lindsey/Andrew Hammond, Springville
Ethan Stanger/Sawyer Peterson, Olympus vs. Caleb Wiggins/Jason Fridley, Jordan
Barrett Kawa/Jake Larsen, Timpview vs. Colton Rodgers/Alex Smith, Murray
Andrew Cardon/Jake Fryer, Maple Mountain vs. Alex Eyring/Michael Ebert, Bountiful