PCHS tennis squad finishes fourth at state
May 15, 2015
The Park City High School boys’ tennis team entered last weekend’s 3A state tournament with high expectations. The Miners finished second at the Region 10 tournament earlier in the season and had their sights set on finishing higher than last year’s sixth place at state.
By the end of the title matches, held at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, the Miners had accomplished their goal of finishing higher than sixth, but were still left wanting more. Though Park City earned fourth place overall, Park City Coach Tamarin Espinoza said the boys would have liked to do better.
"I don’t think the boys were happy with fourth place, which is good," she said. "I’m glad they’re hungry. They saw what’s out there and they saw how close they were."
Snow Canyon, a relative unknown for Espinoza and the Miners, swooped in to win the 3A championship. Four of the five Park City players lost to Snow Canyon at various points in the tournament.
"They had tough draws," Espinoza said. "We met Snow Canyon in a lot of places. [No. 1 singles] Rawson [Simmons] met them first round, [No. 2 singles] David [Payne] met them second round and [No. 3 singles] Connor [Burke] got lucky and didn’t meet them at all. No. 1 doubles met them in the semifinals and No. 2 doubles met them in the second round."
Espinoza said she knew the southern region had several tough teams, but she didn’t think Snow Canyon would be among the toughest.
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"We were expecting a few teams to be tough down south, but Snow Canyon was not one of them," she said. "Those kids came out of nowhere and they were strong. They came in swinging. I knew teams down south were going to test us and I thought it was going to be Dixie, but it wasn’t."
Finishing fourth in a tough field is something to be proud of, Espinoza said. She added that the quality of tennis in the state has been on the rise.
"The tennis is tough all around 3A," she said. "It’s gotten significantly better the past few years. A lot of coaches and programs are putting a lot more time into tennis and the kids are finding their way. It’s nice to see the sport grow.
"To finish two spots higher than they were in last year is huge with the competition they faced."
Burke was the only Miner to reach the finals, where he met a familiar foe in Juan Diego’s Ben Agrelius. Burke defeated Agrelius in a regular-season match and again in the Region 10 tournament, but didn’t have his best day in the state title match, falling to his rival when they met for the third time.
"He met a very different player," Espinoza said. "Ben was ready for him this time. He didn’t let Connor do his thing, which is what a lot of players get sucked into. It was a good match to watch, though. Connor still played well, he just couldn’t get in a groove."
Though the results weren’t what Park City was hoping for, Espinoza said all the players battled hard and played exciting matches.
"I am very happy with the way they all played," she said. "[No. 1 doubles] Cole [Lee] and Brennan [French], that duo, and David Payne had a heck of a tournament. No one went out there and gave up and gave it away — they all fought hard."
Espinoza said Lee is already preparing for next season, even though this year just ended.
"Cole didn’t take a day off," she said. "He was here on Monday with the attitude of, ‘I don’t like to lose and I don’t want to lose. Let’s get better.’"
The Miners should be threats to win a region title and to do well at state again next year, as only Simmons and No. 2 doubles player Max Beringer graduate from the starting seven. With another year of experience under their belts, the remaining five starters should be poised to perform well in 2016, Espinoza said.
"It’s nice to have that much experience coming back," she said.