Team-focused Miners stay undefeated in region play
Head Coach Hunter Nicholas cites hard work for success
Unlike football or basketball, tennis is an individual sport. A player will compete by his or herself in each match, and while coaches and teammates can bark orders or encouragement from the side, it ultimately comes down to that one person.
For the Park City High School boys’ tennis team, however, that’s not how it is. Sure, they compete individually on the court, but each Miner puts the team first.
“We demand that, for them to be teammates and to throw egos aside and understand that they are part of something bigger right now,” Head Coach Hunter Nicholas said. “It’s cool in tennis to make this individual sport a team-oriented sport. It yields some of the most fun atmospheres tennis has to provide.”
The team’s attitude has bought an undefeated start to region play this season, including a 6-0 win over Grantsville at the PC MARC on Thursday afternoon. The Miners have dealt with some lineup changes this season, but Nicholas said the players are taking them in stride.
“Ultimately, the guys are happy to move around and willing to find what is best for the team,” Nicholas said. “Everyone’s been a good sport about it and it’s been fun for us.”
Leading the way in the No. 1 singles spot was Cole Lee, who won his match handily 6-2, 6-2. Connor Burke (6-1, 6-0) and Alex Burkemper (6-1, 6-2) both won their matches in the No. 2 and 3 singles slots to sweep the singles play. Burkemper is a freshman on the team not normally in the starting singles lineup, but Nicholas wanted to see what he could do.
In doubles play, Charlie Lambert and Spencer Kunkel, the defending No. 1 doubles state champions in 3A, got back together for the first time this season in order to steal the first doubles point, 6-1, 6-1. The duo of David DiCesaris and Colten Stephens (6-2, 6-2) secured the No. 2 double point, while Trevor Feldkircher and Samuel Rafferty (6-0, 6-1) completed the sweep for Park City in the third spot.
The way these Miners have been playing this year, there’s reason to believe that they’ll be competing for the UHSAA 3A title once again this year after finishing as the runner-up last season, Nicholas said. But the head coach would prefer the statements to be made on the court.
“Certainly, we take pride in it,” Nicholas said of being one of the best teams in 3A. “Whatever other people want to say about us is fine. Ultimately, at the end of the day, we’re going to play our best and be the best team that we can be and kind of let the results take care of itself.”
Nicholas said if the Miners continue to be as hard-working as they have been, the success should continue coming, adding that this group is one of the hardest-working ones he’s had at Park City. In a game of inches, that goes a long way, he said.
“That extra work makes the extra difference,” Nicholas said. “The harder you work, the more things are going to go your way. … They’re willing to go the extra mile just for that extra inch. That makes all the difference. We’ve been lucky.”
Next up, Park City will endure its busiest part of the season. While the team has the rest of the week off due to Spring Break, it will partake in seven matches in the following two weeks. The Miners will play on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week, including a doubleheader with Tooele on April 19.
It’ll be busy, but Nicholas and company plan on using this time to hone their craft as the region season begins to wind down.
“It’ll be good,” Nicholas said. “These guys need more matches.”
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