The Desert Hills boy’s tennis team won every set it played against Pine View Tuesday afternoon in gusty conditions, as the Thunder ready themselves for this weekend’s region tournament.
“When it’s windy like this, tennis becomes more mental than physical,” Desert Hills head coach Dow Christensen said. “Tennis is a mental game as it is, but when it’s this windy, it becomes a matter of focusing.”
The Thunder will have their final tune-up against Snow Canyon today in a battle of the top teams in Region 9. If the Thunder do claim region, it may well be because of an off-season reorganization of the Thunder’s lineup.
Desert Hills benefited from junior Gabe Anderson’s decision to play for the Thunder this season. Anderson didn’t play during his first two years of eligibility, choosing instead to play in USTA events.
But the pull of varsity became too great for him to resist.
“I thought it would be nice to get some recognition for my accomplishments, so I decided to play,” Anderson said.
Anderson’s first season has been a good one, but he has a budding rivalry against Dixie’s Tevan Balian, with whom he has split so far this season.
On Tuesday, Anderson decisively dispatched the Panthers’ Nathan Obray, 6-1, 6-1, at first singles.
“I just went out and played like I know how,” Anderson said. “I was aggressive on my forehand, and I was good on getting my returns.”
Anderson’s arrival on the Thunder squad dislodged Desert Hills’ first singles player of a year ago, Clay Hardy.
Hardy was far from disappointed about the decision. He was thrilled to make the move to first doubles where his chances of winning were increased.
“I like winning,” said Hardy, explaining his decision to go to doubles. “First singles is really competitive, particularly at state.”
Christensen said Hardy was played at first singles last year to give him a chance to develop his game.
Hardy was paired with a two-time state doubles champion in Christian Davis, who was more than thrilled to have the former first singles player as his doubles partner.
“I knew we’d play well together when he decided to play doubles.” Davis said.
Hardy and Davis admitted they struggled with the windy conditions Tuesday, but they still won their match easily over Pine View’s Nate Jones and Bryce Jones, 6-0, 6-2.
In the other matches, Braden Evans downed Hunter Kinney, 6-1, 6-1 in second singles.
“He’s got a great stroke,” Christensen said of Evans. “It’s just a matter of believing in himself, because he can beat anyone in this region at second singles.”
At third singles, Desert Hills freshman Connor McArthur downed PV’s Isaac Reed, 6-1, 6-0.
“He’s just a freshman,” Christensen said. “We’re happy with how well he’s played. He just needs more match experience, and he’s getting it.”
In second doubles, Preston Parmenter and Austin Hardy defeated Pine View’s Austin Morris and Marshall Maxwell, 6-3, 6-0.
Anderson believes the doubles teams are the Thunder’s strength.
“I think we’re playing pretty good (as a team),” Anderson said. “Our doubles are in pretty good shape heading into state. If we can get enough points in singles, we could finish pretty high at state.”
FLYERS 5, REDMEN 0
Dixie’s Tevan Balian defeated Cedar’s Zac Coonen, 6-0, 6-0 in first singles action Tuesday, while the Flyers Micah Alba defeated Matt Stewart, 6-2, 6-0 in second singles. In third singles, Dixie’s Luke Heaton completed the singles sweep for the Flyers with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Cedar’s Cade Sivertsen.
In double action, the Flyers’ Avery Cope and Aren Balian defeated Cedar’s Brayden Boone and Nate Bauer, 6-2, 6-1. Dixie also topped the Redmen in second singles, when Caleb Featherstone and Scott Tew defeated Kam Sivertsen and Dallin Rice, 6-0, 6-1.
FALCONS 3, TIGERS 2
Canyon View edged out Hurricane in local tennis action Tuesday, as the Falcons swept the singles action while the Tigers dominated in doubles play. At first singles, CV’s Derek Dunnell defeated Zac Pickering, 6-2, 7-5, while Cord Johnson topped Jon Payne, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in second singles. Job Huxford finished out the Falcons’ singles sweep with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Hurricane’s Josh Parker.
In doubles action, the Tigers’ duo of Ben Perkins and Lincoln Last edged out CV’s Josh Neilson and Spencer Hignight, 6-2, 7-5 in first singles, while JD Gates and Blake Lawrence topped the Falcons’ Matt Pearson and David Hafley, 6-0, 6-4.