At the end of the first day of the Class 5A boys’ tennis state tournament, the team championship is up for grabs.
Brighton has won six straight titles, but this could be the year that the Bengals get dethroned. Davis and Viewmont are tied with Brighton for first place with 9 points each. The tournament continues Saturday at 9 a.m. at Liberty Park.
The championship for No. 1 singles is just as wide open as the team title, but it is certain that Brighton will not be claiming another trophy at this spot. Viewmont sophomore Sam Tullis ousted Brighton junior Cody Crandall with a 6-4, 6-4 victory in the quarterfinals. Tullis will face Lone Peak senior Scott Bohne in the semifinals.
“Last year, I didn’t know what to expect,” Tullis said. “I feel a lot more comfortable this year. I did a good job pushing through mentally.”
The other No. 1 singles semifinal will be one of the most intriguing matches of the tournament. It will pit Cottonwood senior Zeke Richards against Davis senior Spencer Hafen. Richards cruised through the first two rounds, winning 6-0, 6-0 ,6-2, 6-0. Hafen earned an easy 6-2, 6-0 win in the first round. He then defeated Riverton sophomore Tyler Burke, 6-4, 6-4, in the second round, but Burke made Hafen work for every point.
When Hafen and Richards take the court against each other Saturday morning, it will not be the first time.
“He is one of my best friends,” Hafen said of Richards. “I have been playing against him my whole life. When I was 8 years old, we played each other in the championship of a tournament right here [at Liberty Park]. It’s crazy to see how far we’ve come.”
Davis’ team score would benefit greatly from a Hafen win in the semifinals, just as Viewmont’s would if Tullis can get by Bohne. Both Davis and Viewmont were excited about the way things went Friday, but they both know the tournament is only getting started.
“I always see these tournaments where you go in with a share of the lead, but there are a lot of points on Saturday,” Viewmont coach Mark Burningham said.
R Alta sophomore Conner Pulsipher loses the first set in both the first and second rounds of the No. 2 singles tournament, but he comes back to win both matches to advance to the semifinals.
• Cottonwood senior Zeke Richards drops just two games in his first two matches. He will face Davis senior Spencer Hafen in the No. 1 singles semifinals.