Miners head into tennis postseason
For a second on May 4, the Park City High School tennis team thought they might lose a match.
It was a great feeling.
Two weeks ago, the Miners, the team to beat in the state, faced 5A Brighton in a match much more challenging than expected.
Although Park City won the match, 5-0, every player, from the No.1 singles position to the No.2 doubles, had their hands full with the Bengals. Head coach Warren Pretorius said that such a challenging matchup right before the state tournament is exactly what his team needed.
"It was a good reality check," Pretorius said. "There are some good teams out there. Not all will be walk-overs."
Pretorius said he had no idea how talented Brighton was when he originally scheduled the team, but now expects the Bengals to win the 5A state title.
" I thought Brighton was the toughest team we played this year and maybe in the last couple of years," Pretorius said.
At the No. 2 doubles slot, the Park City duo of Hunter Nicholas and Tyson Smith lost the second set of their match and rallied to win the third, an accomplishment that Pretorius saw as monumental in their development.
"Winning or losing is not as important as learning something," Pretorius said. "There’s nothing like losing and turning around. It was good for them."
The ability to play with momentum and confidence despite the situation is a part of a philosophy that Pretorius preaches to his team. He demands that his team worry about their performance, not the outcome of any match.
Their outcome is nothing to worry about anyway.
The doubles second-set loss was the varsity team’s first of the season and in the last four years, the Miners are a dominating 63-1.
With the win against Brighton and another challenging one against Skyline last week, the Miners are ready for the postseason. This weekend they will host the Region 10 Championships at the Park City Racquet Club and then head south to the 3A State Championships next week in St. George.
Park City is seeming to be the team to beat in both region and state competition, so Pretorius is expecting his players to perform at their best.
In Region 10, rival Judge Memorial is the No. 2 seed, and Pretorius expects to see the Miners and the Bulldogs battle it out at each position in the finals.
The competition will mark the last time many of the varsity players will play before the hometown crowd before graduating. The top four players, Nick Perez, Nick VonDerAhe, Matt Kunkel and Davis Marsh, are all seniors and all looking to wrap up what has become a dynasty for the Park City program. All four have won individual state titles and the overall state title in each of the last three years and hope to cap their prep career with crowns this year.
Even with such a legacy, Pretorius is not putting any pressure on the Miners to win — just play their best.
"If we lose, it was just this day," Pretorius said. "A fourth state title will cap off their careers, but it’s only a small part of what we’ve accomplished up until now."
Other teams that might challenge Park City are few, but Pine View is ranked No. 2 in the state and should field very good doubles teams. Dixie and Judge are also perennial contenders.
The Region 10 finals will be held at the Park City Racquet Club on May 13 beginning at 9 a.m. 3A State competition will be held in St. George, May 19-20.
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