High school boys tennis: Skyline ‘did what we came to do,’ wins 5A state title by holding off region rival Brighton

Skyline’s Ethan Green plays against Brighton’s Hardy Owen in the 5A boys tennis No. 1 singles championship match at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 22, 2021.
Skyline’s Ethan Green plays against Brighton’s Hardy Owen in the 5A boys tennis No. 1 singles championship match at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 22, 2021. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

The Skyline Eagles looked to be in good shape after the first two rounds of the 5A boys state tennis tournament Thursday.

When matches resumed Saturday at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, and the remaining players had a day to think about it, Skyline coach Lisa Coleman-Taggart admitted, however, that the outcome sometimes looked sketchy.

In the short run — perhaps. However, overall, the Eagles settled their coaches’ nerves by earning three of five individual championships and scored 26 points to outdistance Region 6 foes Brighton (18) and Olympus (9). Orem had seven points and Park City four.

It was clear that the team title was always going to be a Skyline-Brighton battle, and the outcome was finally decided when Skyline’s Michael Cherchio and Gunnar Woller rolled to singles crowns, and the team of Sam Stewart-Drew Waldrop won the No. 2 doubles title. In the other classifications, the Eagles finished second.

“We did what we came to do,” said Coleman-Taggart. “It started with the kids being prepared by playing in a tough region and accomplishing their personal goals. There were a few ups-and-downs and some matches were make-or-break.”

The team title was Skyline’s second straight — with last year being cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic — and Brighton won in 2018. The Bengals came close again, riding the impressive talent of junior Owen Hardy, who was never really challenged en route to winning his second straight No. 1 singles crown. His younger brother, Ford Owen, teamed with Owen Hopkin to get his team more points and take No. 1 doubles.

Every individual title was won by either a Skyline or Brighton athlete and none lost a single set. However, Cooper Jenkins of Wasatch, Farmington’s Chuck Frey and Josh Jones, Orem’s Solomon Jones, Park City’s Coen Woolley and doubles teams from Spanish Fork and Olympus put up a fight on Saturday.

Hopkin and Ford Owen had one of the most competitive matches, edging the Skyline team of Kyle Rasmussen-Dean Weaver 7-6 (15), 6-2 and George Goodson-Jake Fankhauser of Olympus downed Spencer Hall-Will Clawson of Highland in semifinal matches, 7-6 (5), 0-6, 6-2.

“It’s a game of momentum and energy,” said Coleman-Taggart, who formerly coached at Olympus. “It’s also a mental game and you can’t get down on yourself. You have to stay consistent and confident and just keep going. Success sometimes happens when you just outlast everybody.”

5A boys state tennis tournament

At Liberty Park, Salt Lake

Saturday’s results

Team scores: 1, Skyline 26. 2, Brighton 18. 3, Olympus 9. 4, Orem 7. 5, Park City 4. 6, Alta, Farmington, Highland, Viewmont, Wasatch, Woods Cross 3. 12, Bountiful, Salem Hills, Spanish Fork 2. 15, Box Elder, Maple Mountain 1.

Individual results

No. 1 singles

Semifinals: Ethan Green (Skyline) def. Cooper Jenkins (Wasatch) 6-2, 6-0. Hardy Owen (Brighton) def. Josh Jones (Farmington) 6-2, 6-0.

Championship: Owen def. Green 6-2, 6-1.

No. 2 singles

Semifinals: Michael Cherchio (Skyline) def. Chuck Frey (Farmington) 6-3, 7-6 (4). Parker Hopkin (Brighton) def. Matt Holmes (Olympus) 6-3, 6-1.

Championship: Cherchio def. Hopkin 6-3, 6-4.

No. 3 singles

Semifinals: Solomon Jones (Orem) def. Davis Turley (Brighton) 7-5, 6-4. Gunnar Woller (Skyline) def. Coen Woolley (Park City) 6-4, 6-3.

Championship: Woller def. Jones 6-1, 6-0.

No. 1 doubles

Semifinals: Owen Hopkin-Ford Owen (Brighton) def. Milo Headden-Oscar Smith (Olympus) 6-4, 6-2. Kyle Rasmussen-Dean Weaver (Skyline) def. Christian Buss-Jace Fleming (Orem) 6-0, 6-1.

Championship: Hopkin-Owen def. Rasmussen-Weaver 7-6 (15), 6-2.

No. 2 doubles

Semifinals: Sam Stewart-Drew Waldrop (Skyline) def. Andrew Huish-Skyler Rigtrup (Spanish Fork) 6-1, 6-4. George Goodson-Jake Fankhauser (Olympus) def. Spencer Hall-Will Clawson (Highland) 7-6 (5), 0-6, 6-2.

Championship: Stewart-Waldrop def. Goodson-Fankhauser 6-4, 6-2.