Young Miners’ tennis team takes third
A Park City High School boys’ tennis team that featured just one senior got off to a smashing start at last weekend’s state championships in Provo, putting Class 3A on notice about the team’s potential for future seasons.
Desert Hills won the state championship with 26 points, Juan Diego – which edged Park City in Region 10 and 11 Divisionals at the Racquet Club – took second with 19, and the Miners scored eight to finish third among 16 teams.
"That’s where I placed us as a coach, knowing the ability of the team," said PCHS head coach Jessica Watts. "There are a lot of good teams. We competed against 16 teams, and it’s nice to finish at the level I expected of them."
Every Park City player reached the quarterfinals, both doubles teams made semifinals, and junior Jackson Engen took second place overall at No. 3 singles – losing to Joe Salemi of Desert Hills in a three-set final, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
"Jackson’s been very consistent, and he’s 100 percent committed to the team," said Watts, who added that Engen has a high GPA and also competes for the swim team. "He just kind of hit a wall (in the final). This was a new experience for him as well."
Playing in sunshine uncharacteristic of the 2010 spring season, Engen won his first round match 6-0, 6-1 against Canyon View, then needed the minimum 12 games to pass Delta for a semifinal bid.
Engen won that match 6-2, 6-2 against Desert Hills, and battled back bravely in the final before finally running out of steam in the third set.
"He never throws in the towel," Watts said. "He’s a good role model for other players. He carries that attitude through every aspect of his life."
In Friday’s opening action, No. 1 singles player Tyler Carpenter beat Cedar’s ace 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. It became the senior’s final high-school win, however, after he lost 6-0, 6-0 to a Judge opponent in the quarterfinals.
Park City sophomore Sam McMahon also advanced into the final eight with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Delta, but the Miners were again ousted by Judge in the quarterfinals.
At No. 1 doubles, sophomores Caleb Wray and Stefan Dancy teamed up for a 6-2, 6-0 first-round win and a 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 quarterfinal victory.
Freshman Matt Groy and sophomore Kasra Motaghed followed suit at No. 2 doubles, dropping no games against Canyon View in the opener and beating Judge soundly, 6-4, 6-4 in the quarters – despite being the youngest team in the draw.
Both doubles teams bowed out in the semis, however, with Wray and Dancy getting beaten convincingly by Juan Diego and Groy and Motaghed on the short end of a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 thriller.
"They’re definitely going to be teams to contend with," Watts said. "They have quite a career ahead of them, whether they stick together or not. It’s really commendable that they both played well through the state semis."
Jackson said she was proud of her entire team for showing such poise and demonstrating Park City’s immense promise.
"The teams that beat us were just stronger teams," she said. "They had a lot of depth and experience. There were a lot of nerves out there. Luckily we battled on the first day, but the nerves started to set in on the second day. I think they’re going to learn from it."
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