The opening round of the 5A state tennis tournament at Liberty Park on Thursday featured plenty of great matches and a bunch of upsets that have blown the brackets wide open heading in Saturday’s final two rounds.

Of the five positions, at least one seeded player outside of the top four advanced to the semifinals. That includes No. 12 seed Seth Meservy of Salem Hills in second singles, No. 6 seed Brayden Allen of Woods Cross in third singles, a No. 9 and No. 6 seed in first doubles and a No. 8 and 10 seed in second doubles.

The result is a very tight team race heading into the final day, with Skyline narrowly in first place with nine points followed by Brighton and Woods Cross tied with eight points.

Heading into the tournament, Brighton was the perceived favorite with the top seed in four of five positions. Defending champion Skyline, meanwhile, had seeds of a 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10 and a repeat seemed like a long shot.

Don’t tell that to Skyline’s doubles teams. In a first doubles quarterfinal, Skyline’s Michael Cherchio and Gunnar Wollar upset Brighotn’s Ford Owen and Owen Hopkin 6-4, 7-6.

Skyline’s second doubles team of Kyle Rasmussen and Sam Stewart duplicated that quarterfinal upset as it bounced Brighton’s No. 2 seeded team of Davis Turley and Cameron Grass, 6-0, 6-1.

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For Brighton, even though its doubles teams can’t score any more points, its first, second and third singles players are all in great shape after dominant first round and quarterfinal wins.

First singles senior star Hardy Owen didn’t drop a game in a pair 6-0, 6-0 wins on Thursday. At second singles, Brighton senior Parker Hopkin won both his matches 6-1, 6-0. Freshman Ty Parrish cruised to 6-0, 6-0 win in his first match and a 6-1, 6-0 win in the quarterfinals.

The trio has Brighton in good shape at trying to win its first state title since 2018.

“I’m proud of how we played today. We are excited for our singles players to continue in the semi-finals on Saturday,” said Brighton coach Natalie Meyer.

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For either Skyline or Woods Cross to hold off Brighton, they need to have a near-perfect day on Saturday.

Neither Skyline nor Woods has a position going head-to-head with Brighton in the semifinals on Saturday, but they go head-to-head in a pair of Saturday morning matches that will determine if either has a pathway to the title.

At third singles, Skyline freshman Tai Jansen will square off with Woods Cross senior Brayden Allen. In second doubles, Skyline’s team of Rasmussen and Stewart will face the Woods Cross duo of Andrew Harrison and James Thomson.

Neither of the two teams have squared off this spring.

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