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High school tennis: 4A state tournament features numerous contenders

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Jeffrey D. Allred,

I wouldn’t be surprised if the winning team has 14 points because there’s going to be a lot of balance. I don’t see any team winning more than two finals. – Pine View coach Dow Christensen

Heading into this weekend’s 4A state tennis tournament at Liberty Park, there are more parity and uncertainty than there’s probably ever been.

For starters, many teams in 4A this year were in separate classifications last season, so there’s not a lot of familiarity with the programs. And secondly, there’s depth within most of the regions so no one is rolling into the state tournament with five No. 1 seeds and a clear path to a championship.

It might only take 14 points to capture the team title according to Pine View coach Dow Christensen.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the winning team has 14 points because there’s going to be a lot of balance. I don’t see any team winning more than two finals,” said Christensen. “Every match counts. One point could decide it early on.”

Without a juggernaut for anyone to deal with, the title is anyone’s for the taking with the 4A tourney getting underway on Thursday. When the championship matches roll around on Saturday, the teams most likely to still be in the title hunt are Bonneville, Green Canyon, Orem, Pine View, Dixie and Desert Hills.

Orem qualified the most No. 1 seeds for the state tournament with four, led by senior Kaden Craig at first singles. He’s one of four standout first singles players who Christensen calls “monsters.”

An injury last year kept Craig from competing in singles, but he’s healthy this year and undefeated in all matches heading into state.

He’s anchored a strong Orem team, which coach AJ Young is confident in heading into state.

“We were able to win a lot of matches this year in our region and got a lot of No. 1 seeds and that was really big for us,” said Young.

The other three “monster” first singles players are Stansbury’s Erik Leary, Green Canyon’s Ryan Jeppson and Dixie’s Stefan Balian. Any of the four are capable of capturing maximum team points and winning the title.

Green Canyon and Bonneville both earned three No. 1 seeds at the state tournament. Green Canyon coach Camille Jeppson had a hunch the Wolves could be a strong team in their inaugural season, but every time her team swept a region dual meet she was surprised.

It wouldn’t have been so each for Green Canyon in Region 12 had Bear River’s top two players from a year ago elected not to just play in national tournaments this season.

Green Canyon is a No. 1 seed at first and second singles and then first doubles, and Jeppson said her team is staying focused despite great region success.

“We’re not expecting to win the whole thing by any means, we’re hoping to go really far in all our positions. That’s as far as we want to look. We don’t want to assume anything,” said Jeppson.

Bonneville won the Region 11 title by earning No. 1 seeds at second singles, third singles and second doubles.

All seven of Bonneville’s state tourney participants are underclassmen, and all but one was a participant last year. Coach Katy Hall believes that tourney experience is an advantage.

“That experience at state is none other, you can’t replicate that kind of pressure. So having been there and seeing what it’s like, I think they’re prepared to do that they have to do,” said Hall.

Park City has three No. 2 seeds from Region 11 and then a top seed in first doubles and could play a factor in the team race.

Ridgeline could make some noise as well with a No. 1 seed at third singles and second doubles, and then two other No. 2 seeds.

While all the northern regions champs earned at least three No. 1 seeds each, that’s not how things played out in Region 9. In fact, eventual region champ Desert Hills doesn’t have a No. 1 seed as it rode its depth to the league title.

Dixie owns the No. 1 seed at first and third singles, while Snow Canyon sophomore Taylor Heinz is the No. 1 seed at second doubles.

Pine View’s two doubles teams are No. 1 seeds, and Christensen hopes that gives his team a decent path to 12 team points which would put his team within striking distance of the title.

“Our second doubles came together late, but we thought best shot as a team was to put those kids together late,” said Christensen about the pairing of Mitchell Erekson and Hyrum Sorensen.

The list of contenders is long this year which should make for an exciting two days at Liberty Park.

4A state tournament

Thursday at Liberty Park

First singles

Upper bracket

Ryan Cheney, Ridgeline vs. Seth Jones, Spanish Fork

Stefan Balian, Dixie vs. Spencer Kunkel, Park City

Erik Leary, Stansbury vs. Josh Sodorff, Snow Canyon

Tanner Nicholls, Salem Hills vs. Caden Fricke, Mountain Crest

Lower bracket

Britton Hoskins, Cedar vs. Caden Heaton, Bonneville

Ryan Jeppson, Green Canyon vs. Ryan Craig, Payson

Kaden Craig, Orem vs. Dylan Jenkins, Logan

Sam Nelson, Juan Diego vs. Mitchell Wade, Pine View

Second singles

Upper bracket

Alex Burkemper, Park City vs. Max Christensen, Spanish Fork

Logan Nielson, Green Canyon vs. Ben Cooper, Dixie

Taylor Heinz, Snow Canyon vs. Jacob Olsen, Bear River

Jason Cheney, Salem Hills vs. Cooper Jones, Ogden

Lower bracket

Jonathan Fairbanks, Pine View vs. Boston Hellstern, Sky View

Christian Craig, Orem vs. Nathan Leary, Stansbury

Brecken Benard, Bonneville vs. Landon Kunz, Mountain View

Adam Nasar, Mountain Crest vs. Sergio Garcia, Cedar

Third singles

Upper bracket

Bauti Mantoni, Park City vs. Jack Clifton, Logan

Carson Bottema, Dixie vs. Hunter Larson, Lehi

Tanner Reese, Orem vs. Jared Sudweeks, Pine View

Calvin Felt, Green Canyon vs. Luke Davis, Ogden

Lower bracket

Cole Peterson, Payson vs. Levi Saylor, Canyon View

Erik Ellis, Ridgeline vs. Jace Anderson, Stansbury

Andrew McCall, Bonneville vs. Ethan Coombs, Sky View

Matt Seegmiller, Desert Hills vs. Booker Ward, Salem Hills

First doubles

Upper bracket

Matt Ensign/Decker Robinson, Ridgeline vs. Riley Lewis/Sam Sorensen, Salem Hills

Porter Aitken/Gibson Crawford, Pine View vs. Carl Raddatz/Brandon Wong, Tooele

Charlie Lambert/Quin Dicesaris, Park City vs. Jackson Last/Preston DuCrest, Hurricane

Preston Quittner/Tayt Kearl, Payson vs. Paul Miller/Kimbal Ricks, Logan

Lower bracket

Josh James/Noah Thompson, Desert Hills vs. Gavin Kofford/Hudson Iverson, Bonneville

Cake Henline/Jason Broadbent, Green Canyon vs. Logan Peterson/Logan Mahrt, Uintah

John McCann/Wilson Greer, Orem vs. Nathan Black/Isaac Canon, Bear River

Scott Ruebush/Brady Kimberling, Stansbury vs. Austin Meyer/Broden Lund, Snow Canyon

Second doubles

Upper bracket

Will Efrusy/Ethan Davis, Park City vs. Ian Chiniquy/Hunter Chiniquy, Orem

Landon Brenchley/Kaleb Buchmiller, Ridgeline vs. Tanner Beckstrom/Rigby Pelton, Dixie

Mitchell Erekson/Hyrum Sorensen, Pine View vs. Jarden Larsen/James Nasar, Mountain Crest

Ben Boyack/Tyler Thompson, Spanish Fork vs. Lance Hardy/Carl Jackson, Stansbury

Lower bracket

Jake Hardy/Justin Davidson, Desert Hills vs. Monson Brown/Nic Colton, Logan

Jacob Montgomery/Trevor Wilcox, Payson vs. Brandon Day/Justin Kennison, Tooele

Sam Hendrickson/Rhett Kelton, Bonneville vs. Kaiden Shelley/Andrew Thomson, Salem Hills

Isaac Olsen/Kade Pierson, Green Canyon vs. Zac Maag/Sam Hallowell, Hurricane