Prep tennis: Phonharath steady force for Hunter
Junior Cody Phonharath has been one cool customer for the Hunter boys tennis team.
Though he shows no emotion on the court, he has turned into one of the top tennis players in Region 2. His ability to keep his cool has gotten him to that place.
"Nobody really wins when they're mad," Phonharath said. "If I'm not doing that great, I try to stay calm and that helps me a lot."
Phonharath played No. 2 singles last season and was quite successful. He took second place in Region 2 and advanced to the quarterfinals in the state tournament. That success prompted Hunter tennis coach Terry Cummings to bump him up to No. 1 singles this year. Phonharath's dominance has not been affected by the stiffer competition.
"He's level-headed and he never gets rattled. He doesn't get excited when he does well and he doesn't get down on himself when something doesn't go his way," Cummings said. "He unnerves opponents with his calm demeanor."
With that composed attitude, Phonharath went 8-2 in region play this season, which was second only to Sam Tullis from Viewmont. Tullis is the only Region 2 player to defeat Phonharath in the past two seasons. In fact, he's the one who knocked Phonharath out of the state playoffs last year.
In this season's campaign, Phonharath is looking to build upon his solid region play by making a deeper state tournament run.
"My biggest goal at state is to make it to the second day," Phonharath said. "Our No. 1 singles last year didn't do that, so I would be the first in a while to do that."
Phonharath has a shot because Tullis is on the opposite side of the bracket. The two would not face each other until the championship.
"Sam [Tullis] is a good guy. He's not a jerk like some guys," Phonharath said. "If I play my best, I have a chance against him. When we last played, I told him 'I'll see you at region, and at state.' "
Cummings agreed that Phonharath has a chance against anybody when he is at his best.
"Cody's style gives him a chance," Cummings said. "He is steady in all aspects of the game and he doesn't have a weakness, so you never know."
Big player • Hunter baseball senior Jared Hancock. Hancock hit his third triple of the season against Kearns last week. He is second in Class 5A in triples and he is eighth in doubles.
Big number • 8. The Tooele softball team won its eighth straight game on Friday. The Buffaloes were 3-9 before that.
Big game • West at Taylorsville boys' soccer, Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. In this season finale, the two squads will be vying for Region 2's second seed.
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