PCHS boys’ tennis squad starts season strong
Though the Park City High School boys’ tennis team got strong play from No. 1 singles player TJ Mayo and No. 2 singles Rawson Simmons last year, it was a rebuilding year in many ways, with several new players gaining their first varsity experience.
This year, the Miners return an experienced squad, with Simmons in the No. 1 spot after Mayo’s graduation. With most of the lineup set behind Simmons, Park City is looking to make some noise in 3A this season.
Through three matches, the Miners have looked strong, defeating both Stansbury and Corner Canyon at the PC MARC.
In a 4-1 win against Corner Canyon last week, Simmons was the only player to lose his match for Park City. But, according to Coach Tamarin Espinoza, Simmons showed how far he’s come during the narrow loss to one of the top players in the state.
"Rawson played awesome," she said. "He lost 7-5, 6-3, but it was a great match. It was nice to see him play so well. No. 1 singles isn’t easy — he’s got a tough road ahead of him and it’s nice to know he’s there."
Behind Simmons is junior David Payne at No. 2 singles. Espinoza said that was a fun battle to watch during tryouts.
"[Rawson]’s been working very hard and so has David," she said. "I was actually really interested to see what would happen with them, but I like where they’re at. David’s still got a lot of growth and I think, next year, as a senior, he’ll come in and be No. 1."
Returning at the No. 3 singles spot is Connor Burke, now a sophomore. Espinoza said Burke is perfectly suited for the style of No. 3 singles.
"He was No. 3 last year and he was just solid," she said. "He’s a robot — he’s a wall. He’s amazing out there and has a good head on his shoulders. He’s a thinker and he’s interesting to coach — I’ve got to put my thinking cap on when I go out there to talk with him."
In the No. 1 doubles spot, the Miners feature longtime friends Cole Lee and Brennan French, who grew up playing lacrosse together. Espinoza said their chemistry will be a big benefit this year.
"They play really well together," she said. "Brennan is very precise and Cole has arms for days — his wingspan is insane. He can get anything and he has no fear. While Brennan is very precise, he also takes some risks, but Cole is definitely the risk-taker in that duo."
The only spot where the Miners’ lineup isn’t settled is at No. 2 doubles. Espinoza has a couple options and hopes to make a permanent decision following this weekend’s tournament in St. George.
"No. 2 doubles is still being figured out," she said. "We’ve got two freshmen who are pretty good — Charlie Lambert and Spencer Kunkel. But we still have Kade Townsend and Henry Stoddard, who dabbled in varsity last year."
This weekend’s tournament will help Park City see where it stands among the top competition in 3A and at all levels across the state, Espinoza said.
"We’ll get to see Dixie, Desert Hills and some bigger schools as well," she said. "The format is more like region and state, so we’ll see a lot of different action."
No matter the results this weekend, though, Espinoza expects this year’s squad to be much stronger than last year and to challenge for a 3A title.
"We have a really good chance," she said. "Last year was kind of a rebuilding year, but we have a few returners this year. We’re definitely going to place higher than we did last year."
As far as Region 10 goes, Espinoza expects Juan Diego to be the Miners’ toughest challenger this season. The Soaring Eagle return a strong squad, but the Miners will have to wait until their final regular-season match on April 22 to see how they stack up against their rivals.
The Miners’ next home match is scheduled for Wednesday, April 1, at the PC MARC. Park City will take on Uintah in the Region 10 opener.
PCHS Boys’ Tennis Schedule
March 27-28 — at St. George Invitational
April 1 — vs. Uintah
April 3 — vs. Morgan
April 13 — at Rowland Hall
April 16 — at Union
April 20 — at Mountain Crest
April 22 — at Juan Diego
May 1-2 — Region 10 Tournament
May 8-9 — 3A State Tournament
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