Miners beat Bulldogs in nail-biter
The Park City – Judge Memorial tennis match-up couldn’t have come at a better time. The two 3A schools stand as dominant leaders in Region 10. And they are on a collision course that will pair them up again this weekend at the Region 10 championships, so Thursday’s regular season match provided a needed warm-up.
Relegated to the Park City Racquet Club indoor courts and the outdoor "bubble" structure due to yet another spring storm, the Miners had a bit of an advantage after spending most of the season practicing indoors.
In the No. 1 singles spot, Taylor Smith took on the Bulldogs’ imposing six-foot nine-inch Noel Hollingsworth. Smith said it took a while to adjust to Hollingsworth’s enormous wingspan and the coverage his size afforded him. Still, Smith won the first set 7-5, and soon settled in for the match, winning the second set 6-2.
It’s kind of challenging," Smith said. "He can stretch to get a lot of balls."
Hollingsworth also has an off-beat hitting style that gave Smith an added challenge.
"I’m used to guys with more power behind their shot," Smith said.
Smith said that he thinks Judge’s No. 1 and No.2 singles players are some of the strongest in the region and he sees the Judge team as one of Park City’s biggest foes in the state tournament.
Still, he isn’t too worried about what will happen this weekend. He says that, now that he is prepared for Hollingsworth’s size and unique style, winning the region title is definitely attainable.
"I feel pretty confident," he said.
Park City lost to the Bulldogs at the No. 2 and No. 3 singles position, but No. 3 Jack Burrus lost only after taking Judge’s Andrew Lam to three close sets, 2-6, 6-4, 4-6.
In doubles action, the win was swift and easy for the duo of Beau Freckleton and John Patterson, who won in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1.
"It was a good match," Freckleton said. "I was really impressed with John. He really stepped up to the plate and did a good job."
Freckleton is still recovering from a wrist injury suffered earlier this year, but says it won’t stop him from playing tennis through the 3A state tournament. He is also excited for the state finals where he will receive an award for being named to the state 3A Academic All-State team for his strong work in the classroom.
"It’s pretty exciting," he said. "It’s pretty tough to get Academic All-State."
The drama then, was focused on the No. 2 doubles match. Partners Eric Pace and Tommy Clark played a long and difficult match with the Bulldogs’ Lucien Taillae and David McCoy, which ultimately determined the winning team. Clark and Pace dropped the first set 5-7, but fought back to win back-to-back sets 6-3, 6-3, to give Park City the victory.
It will be more of the same this weekend at the region championships with the two teams battling it out for the title and the top seeding heading into the 3A state championships. The Miners, who are hosting the region finals, will have the added bonus of home-court advantage. The action will start Friday at noon and continue Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Park City Racquet Club.
Becca Gerber, a first-term member of the Park City Council who is seen as bringing a younger person’s perspective to the Marsac Building, will seek reelection this year.