Cool weather with occasional showers put a wrinkle into the boys state tennis tournament Saturday, and the group of championship-caliber teams did the rest to make the final 5A matches one to remember.

The tourney had to be moved from Liberty Park to the Salt Lake Tennis Club a few miles away to take advantage of its indoor courts, and the Brighton Bengals ended up being the school celebrating loudest. The Bengals had just one individual title, but Owen Hopkin’s win in No. 2 singles proved to be decisive. Hopkins earned 14 points in the two-day tourney as Brighton edged rival Skyline 40-37. Highland finished third with 29 points, followed by Woods Cross (28), Viewmont (25) and Olympus (20). 

“(We) didn’t know until the end of the day (that we won),” said Hopkin, who didn’t lose a single set in his four tourney matches. “It was electric. It was sweet. I played great. I kept it level. My opponents were phenomenal, but I was fine in back and made lot of plays rushing the net.”

Starting the day (before the raindrops arrived), at least four schools had a chance to take home the trophy. Brighton was seemingly in the best position, but lost a healthy advantage when top-seeded Ford Owen was beaten by No. 3 Griffin Schroeder of Alta in No. 1 singles. Then, it was an all-out battle to earn wins when everyone had to move four miles away to the club. 

After the break, Brighton finished on top by taking advantage of a victory by Woods Cross over Skyline in No. 1 doubles. The Wildcats’ team of Jake and Caleb Richards enjoyed the extra large cheering section and rallied for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory. If the match against Skyline’s Dean Weaver and Weston Stutznegger had gone the other way, the Eagles would have won their third straight crown.

“The whole day was exciting. I was with my players on the court until the bitter end,” said Brighton coach Jason Newell, a 1989 Brighton grad who was part of two state titles. “I didn’t know the exact (team) scores, but knew what had to happen for us to win.”

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The final scenario looked like this: Brighton held an eight-point lead, but the Bengals’ Cameron Grass was facing Skyline’s Drew Wardrop on one of the club’s indoor courts, while Weaver and Stutznegger were about 50-100 feet away on an outdoor court.

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Neither could see each other, but Brighton had a group of players and fans on their feet at each event, knowing the Eagles had to win both to have a chance. Wardrop was never threatened, and things looked good initially for the Eagles when Weaver and Stutznegger claimed a comfortable first-set win. 

However, Woods Cross changed the momentum and moved up in the team standings with its comeback win, and that helped offset a doubles loss earlier in the day that ended its title hopes.


5A TEAM SCORES:

1, Brighton 40. 2, Skyline 37. 3, Highland 29. 4, Woods Cross 28. 5, Viewmont 25. 6, Olympus 20. 7, Alta 17. 8, Wasatch 14. 9, Bountiful 10. 10, Maple Mountain, Springville 9. 12, Orem, Spanish Fork 8. 14, Timpview 6. 15, Lehi, Park City 5. 17, Provo, Salem Hills 4. 19, East 3. 20, Box Elder, Murray, Payson, Timpanogos 1.

Saturday’s results

First singles 

Nathan Tullis (Viewmont) def. Oliver Mesicek (Highland) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Griffin Schroeder (Alta) def. Ford Owen (Brighton) 7-6 (1), 6-3. Championship: Tullis def. Schroeder 6-3, 6-4.

Second singles 

Owen Hopkin (Brighton) def. Kyle Rasmussen (Skyline) 6-0, 6-4. Timo Van Beurden-Brugnoli (Highland) def. Michael Tullis (Viewmont) 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. Championship: Hopkin def. Van Beurden-Brugnoli 6-4, 6-3.

Third singles 

Drew Wardrop (Skyline) def. Dylan Corfield (Springville) 6-2, 6-0. Cameron Grass (Brighton) def. Cooper Fletcher (Highland) 2-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4. Championship: Wardrop def. Grass 6-1, 6-3.

First doubles 

Dean Weaver/Weston Stutznegger (Skyline) def. Thomas Cardon/Harrison Roney (Maple Mountain) 7-5, 6-1. Jake Richards/Caleb Richards (Woods Cross) def. Cole Ritchie/Tyler Jones (Wasatch) 6-3, 6-3. Championship: Richards/Richards def. Weaver/Stutznegger 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Second doubles 

Barrett Jeppsen/Isaac Fox (Olympus) def. Ilario Noyes/Jonah Watt (Highland) 6-1, 6-3. Ryker Iverson/Andrew Harrison (Woods Cross) def. James Covey/Maxwell Pohlman (Brighton) 6-4, 6-4. Championship: Jeppsen/Fox def. Iverson/Harrison 6-1, 6-2.