After five years — half a decade — there is some hope within the Class 2A tennis community.
In that time period, Rowland Hall has been the neighborhood bully, with a seemingly annual appointment to hoist the state title trophy and the talent and depth that has been almost unbeatable.
That may change this season. It may not change, but at least there is hope. When the tournament starts on Saturday morning at BYU, several teams, including Waterford and Manti, are thought to have a chance to defeat Rowland Hall for the team title.
The top singles title is expected to go to Waterford’s Jay T. Anderson, who has been one of the top individual players across classifications this season.
"I think it’s always nice to have a competitive situation," St. Joseph’s head coach Gary Griffinehan said. "It’s still going to be an uphill climb, but it’s good for the sport to see a competitive tournament."
The question is depth, and whether schools the likes of Manti have it in all the required areas. The Templars are expected to make an impact in doubles play, as well as No. 3 and No. 4 singles. They have a senior-laden squad, the experience to play well during crucial times and the experience of playing at the Class 3A level, a step above in competition.
Still, Rowland Hall has won five consecutive state titles for a reason. Bryce Baker, Matt Zubair and the doubles duo of Karim Shaaban and Aaron Friedman highlight a talented and deep cast for the Winged Lions. Scott Treiman, the No. 2 singles winner last season, is stepping up to the No. 1 slot, although asking him to take down Anderson may be a bit much.
"It’s going to be a good tournament, a fun tournament," Griffinehan said. "Rowland Hall probably has the depth to win. But there are teams out there that can make a run at them."
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