Park City boys tennis finishes fifth at state championships
Miners wrap up first full season under coach Justin DeLong
Park City’s young and embattled boys tennis team went to the Class 5A championships last week in search of one last thrill ride, but they returned home empty-handed.
The Miners finished in fifth place with four points, but given the roller coaster-esque highs and lows of the season, there are worse places to be.
Sophomore Coen Woolley had Park City’s best run in the state tournament this year. Playing in the third singles bracket, he easily dispatched his first two opponents before meeting Skyline’s Gunnar Woller in a battle between the top third singles players from Region 8 and Region 6, respectively. Woller eliminated Woolley 6-4, 6-3 before dropping only one game in the finals.
“I think it was one of the best matches that Coen has ever played, even though he lost,” DeLong said. “He played a really great match.”
Senior Will Efrusy, who won the state championship at third singles as a sophomore, spent four years working toward playing first singles. But his high-school career had an anti-climactic end, as he fell in the first round to Viewmont freshman Nate Tullis by a score of 6-2, 6-3.
“I think it was tough, but, you know, Will’s got a really good attitude about this stuff, and he knows that he played a really good match and lost against a tough opponent,” DeLong said. “Stepping up and being the No. 1 guy for our team was definitely a heavy load for him, but he played well and he had a great season, so I’m proud of him.”
Park City sophomore Dominic Jamrich rolled through his first-round matchup in the second singles bracket against Timpview’s Cameron Boyle and met Matt Holmes of Olympus in the second round. Jamrich lost the first set 6-3 and narrowly lost the second set 7-5.
Park City’s only doubles team, the first doubles duo of senior Drew Neff and sophomore Kaj Christensen, dropped only two games in the first round. Against Orem’s first doubles team in the second round, the Miners dropped the first set but fought back with a 6-4 win in the second set. But they couldn’t carry over any momentum in the third set and lost 6-3.
“I thought we were kind of rolling going into the third but had a letdown and just couldn’t execute some of our put-away shots in that third set,” DeLong said. “It was a tough one, the guys are definitely bummed because they felt they could have, you know, won the tournament, but that’s how it goes.”
DeLong feels the pressure of delivering a competitive team for a school like Park City that has historically competed for titles, including a championship in its last year in Class 4A in 2019. But the Miners suffered plenty of hardship this year. Park City was down to just 12 players by the time the state playoffs rolled around — a decrease from 25 the year prior. Throw in the fact that it’s the Miners’ first season both in Class 5A and with DeLong at the helm, and it’s not hard to see why DeLong feels good about where his team is at.
“Generally, I think Park City has a solid tennis team and expects a lot out of the tennis, so this year probably would be, you know, considered an average year,” DeLong said. “But considering that, you know, we had a lot of our potential top guys — well, two of our top guys and a couple other guys who would have maybe played varsity — all not be able to play for various reasons, I feel like the guys stepping up and competing the entire season and ending up with a fifth-place finish was pretty good.”
The good news for the Miners is that plenty of younger players gained experience that they can learn from moving forward, like Jamrich, Woolley and Christensen. DeLong expects a heated battle between Jamrich and Woolley for the No. 1 spot next year and Christensen playing on the singles side. Plus, DeLong and his team will have a “normal” offseason this year compared to last year.
“We’ll certainly, you know, put more work into the offseason when the rules allow us to and we’ll be even more prepared for next year,” he said. “And the team will be better next year, having, you know, all these sophomores on the team. So, they’re going to be juniors and they’ll be stronger and fitter and just more experienced tennis players, so, yeah, I look forward to next season because we will be a tougher squad.”
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