PCHS boys’ tennis takes second at state
All season long, the Park City High School tennis team has battled Grantsville for Region 10 supremacy. After beating the Cowboys once and tying with them once during the regular season, Grantsville bested the Miners in the Region 10 championships.
Going into the 3A state championship match in St. George May 13-14, the Miners were eager to prove that they were not only the best team in their region, but in the state as well.
When the dust settled and the final matches were over, the Miners found themselves in second place with 17 points. Juan Diego claimed the 3A crown with 19 points and Park City’s region foe Grantsville finished third with 13 points.
Park City Coach Tamarin Espinoza said she believed the Miners could contend for a top-four finish after their performance in the region finals but, behind title-match victories from No. 1 doubles team Charlie Lambert and Spencer Kunkel and No. 2 doubles team Brennan French and Jack Lecher, the Miners were able to climb the ladder and finish second overall.
For Lecher, who was in his first year playing tennis, the result was something he couldn’t have dreamed of coming into the year.
"I definitely wasn’t expecting it," he said. "I came into the season looking to just have fun and see how it went. I started playing JV and then got moved up to playing with Brennan. We just went into this tournament trying to win, but not really expecting a lot."
Lambert and Kunkel picked up a 7-5, 6-4 title victory against a Grantsville squad with whom they’ve become quite familiar. Saturday’s final was the fifth time the two teams met this season.
"Honestly, it’s extremely fun playing those guys," Lambert said. "Every time we got on the court playing them, we were all really friendly and had a good time."
But, after losing to Grantsville in the region finals, Kunkel said this time around he and Lambert were ready.
"We looked at their strategies and countered with a new strategy of our own," he said. "They were attacking the net player, so we just kind of decided to stand back a little bit. It was about whoever could adjust better to the strategy of their opponent."
"From region, when they beat us, Spencer and I talked about what to expect and how to handle it," Lambert added. "We went into the match more prepared and knowing we had to play a different game."
Lecher and French took down a Dixie duo in their final match, winning 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. French said it was nice to finish strong against a team he had lost to earlier in the year.
"I’ve played them before when we went to St. George the first time this year," he said. "They beat us 8-0, but I was playing with Hans [Nilsson] at the time, not Jack. I kind of knew their skill level."
French said the No. 2 doubles title was the perfect ending to his high school tennis career.
"It’s my senior year and it’s a great way to go out," he said. "I’m just excited we were able to pull it off."
Park City’s No. 3 singles player, Connor Burke, finished second, falling to Juan Diego’s Ben Argilius in the final. No. 1 singles player David Payne fell in the first round to a Logan player and No. 2 singles player Cole Lee lost to Juan Diego’s Connor Kempin in the second round.
French, a senior, and Lecher, who will be graduating a semester early next year, won’t return to the PCHS squad next year, but Lambert and Kunkel will be back. They said they’re eager to get going on the 2017 season.
Kunkel is already working out at the PC MARC and Lambert will pick up his racket again once finals are over.
"I just show up every day I can, except Sundays pretty much," Kunkel said.
"I’m taking a little week break and then I’ll get right back into it," Lambert added.
The Park City High School girls golf team took second in the Class 4A state championship tournament on Thursday. It was the team’s fifth consecutive time as runner-up.