Tennis team will start season with new players in top positions
Park City High School’s boys tennis team has a few aces up its sleeve.
This season, it has a new coach in Dillon Bunt, who has assisted both the boys and girls varsity teams for the past two years, as well as two new standouts.
“It’s looking like a really talented and deep squad,” Bunt said.
One of the newcomers to the boys team, freshman Dylan Applegate, is a nationally ranked junior.
Bunt struggled to find words to describe the Applegate’s quality of play in the interview.
“He’s, uh, yeah; he’s tremendous,” Bunt said.
The freshman takes online classes for PCHS, allowing him more flexibility to develop his tennis skills.
“He’s going to be a really important part of the team,” Bunt said.
Bunt added that the freshman has an aggressive playing style, without many obvious weaknesses.
“He’s really just a solid all-around player,” he said. “And he’s got a lot of experience for his age. He’s competing at national events, at events pros played at when they were kids.”
The other is Tucker Lee, a sophomore transfer from Rowland Hall, where he went undefeated in 3A in the second-singles position. His brother, Cole Lee, played No. 1 singles for the Miners, where he took second in state his senior year (2017) and helped the team finish third overall.
It could hardly be a more fortuitous start for the Miners, who performed well last season but didn’t threaten to take the state title, and also for Bunt, who is hoping to ease into his new position as head coach.
Applegate and Lee secured their positions as first and second singles for the Miners through challenge matches – staving off teammates who sought the spots. The result is that they pushed the Miners’ would-be premier athletes down the roster, making it considerably deeper.
The No. 3 singles position, for example, is more contested and will likely fluctuate throughout the season as players challenge each other.
For example, on Thursday night, sophomore Will Efrusy defeated Junior Alex Burkemper to take the position going into the next round of games.
Efrusy was part of last season’s second doubles team alongside senior Ethan Davis, which was eliminated in the first round of the state championship.
Burkemper played second singles for the Miners last season, where he reached the semifinals before falling to eventual champion Jason Cheney of Desert Hills.
He and Efrusy are two of three returning varsity players competing for the position, alongside junior Quinn Dicesaris.
Dicesaris was half of the state champion No. 1 doubles team last season, alongside the now-graduated team captain Charlie Lambert, and will likely play in that position again this season.
“We are really looking for him to lock it down there,” Bunt said of Dicesaris. “That’s really strong to return somebody like that.”
Freshman Dallen Dicesaris will likely play on the team’s second doubles team, along with the possibility of playing with his brother, Quinn.
Bunt said Dallen doesn’t have the experience that some players have, but at 6-foot-2 the left handed player shows considerable talent.
Aside from his brother, Dallen could also play alongside Chris Bratcher, a junior transfer from ThunderRidge High School in Highland Ranch, Colorado, or senior Colton Stephens.
Bunt doesn’t want to get ahead of himself in making specific predictions about the season during his debut year, but he said he feels that the Miners are lucky to have the squad it has.
“I think this is a really good team and the sky is the limit for them,” he said.
The Miners steamrolled most of their region foes last season, and took the court with the requisite panache in this season’s opener on March 5, dismantling the Juan Diego Soaring Eagle at the PC MARC with wins across the board. The team plays in a tournament at Mountain View High School on Saturday in Orem, and is scheduled to take on Wasatch on the Wasps’ home courts in Heber on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m., weather permitting.
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The Miners ended up on the wrong side of a close game on senior night but are still fighting for playoff seeding.