American Fork’s boys tennis team is closing in on a breakthrough performance.
The Cavemen have never won a state title dating back to the first event back in 1963, but the program is in great shape after a terrific opening day of the 6A state tournament at Liberty Park on Thursday.
American Fork advanced all five of its positions into the semifinals and leads the tournament with 10 points.
Region foe and defending state champion Lone Peak sits in second with eight team points, followed by Corner Canyon with seven points.
The UHSAA used RPI rankings to seed the state tournament this year for each position, and American Fork qualified as the No. 1 seed in four of five spots.
The only team that didn’t earn the top seed ahead of the state tournament was American Fork’s first doubles team of Derek Larson and Luke Rich, which qualified sixth. Seeding didn’t matter on Thursday as it won its Round of 16 and Quarterfinal match in straight sets to advance to the semifinals.
It will face No. 10 seed from Lone Peak, Nathan Ashton and Abram Robbins, a big match that could go a long way in determining the team title. A year ago Ashton teamed with Brayden Blodgett to win the first doubles state title, so he knows what it takes to close things out on championship Saturday.
American Fork’s top three singles players, Caden Hasler, Griffin Karras and Antoni Ramon all won in straight sets, as did its No. 2 doubles team of Carson McBeth and Sam Jensen. Karras won the third singles state title as a freshman last year, but did so at Lone Peak.
One of the biggest matches of the tournament on Saturday will be the third singles semifinal between American Fork’s Ramon and Lone Peak’s Isaac Downs.
Lone Peak no longer has a participate in first singles and to keep its title hopes alive it needs to deny American Fork any points it possibly can in head-to-head match-ups.