tennis teaser

Logan senior Paul Miller advanced to the 4A state championship match at No. 3 singles. Miller helped the Grizzlies finish second in the final team standings.

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It wasn’t the trophy the Grizzlies were hoping for, but it certainly doesn’t detract from a very successful season for the Region 11 champions.

Logan captured the second-place trophy at the 4A Boys Tennis Championships, which concluded Saturday afternoon at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City. Region 9 champ Crimson Cliffs was able to use its star power to rally past the Grizzlies on Day 2 of the tournament.

The Mustangs swept all three singles titles on their way to 20 points. Logan easily outpointed Pine View for second place, 16-10. Green Canyon and Dixie tied for fourth with nine points each, while Ridgeline was seventh with six. Mountain Crest tied for ninth with three.

Had Crimson Cliffs lost one semifinals or finals match, or had Logan prevailed once more Saturday, the two programs would have shared the title.

“It definitely hurts to not reach our goal and leave Liberty Park as state champions, but even to come away with a second-place trophy with only one state champion position shows how solid our boys were at every position,” Logan head coach James Larsensaid. “It’s definitely not an easy thing to do when almost 20 schools are competing for points at the state tournament.

“Gotta give Crimson Cliffs credit, though. They were extremely tough at every singles position. Overall, I’m very pleased with how our team played this weekend. Proud of every one of them.”

Indeed, it was a valiant effort by what is a pretty young Logan squad. The Grizzlies had three freshmen and one sophomore in their varsity lineup this spring and will welcome back five varsity mainstays next season.

Two of those freshmen, twin brothers Caleb and Phillip Xu, displayed a great deal of mental toughness and physical endurance on their way to capturing a 4A championship at second doubles. The brothers resumed their rivalry with Green Canyon’s Jeff Huband and Luke Olson in the semifinals and came away with an epic 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (5) victory. The two doubles teams split their matches during the regular season and both went three sets.

Phillip and Caleb then fought their way to a 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 triumph over Benson Parry and Tayen Clark of Pine View in the finals. Clark and Parry dispatched of Mountain Crest’s Mark Davis and Isaac Parker in a competitive two-set match in the semis.

“So proud of those boys,” Larsen said of the twins. “I’ll tell ya, they won every match this year that they didn’t beat themselves in. Very talented young tennis players and they had streaks where their age showed, but each time they came back with mental toughness beyond their years. They had to play in some very scary pressure points that two freshman have no business winning, but they performed under pressure and pulled out some very tough W’s today.”

Two other Cache Valley athletes made it to the championship round in singles players Calvin Felt of Green Canyon and Paul Miller of Logan.

Felt defeated an opponent from Dixie by a 6-1, 6-3 scoreline at No. 2 singles to advance to the finals against Crimson Cliffs star Zachary Sodoroff. Sodoroff beat Felt in straight sets, just like he did against Logan’s Ashton Xu in the semifinals and Ayden Rupp of Ridgeline in the quarters.

Miller wasn’t tested in either of his first three matches and neither was his opponent, Liam Duffin of Crimson Cliffs. After all, Duffin and Miller only lost two games apiece en route to the finals. Duffin prevailed in the championship round 6-3, 6-2 and handed Miller his lone loss of the season. The senior went 22-1 during the 2021 campaign.

Two other local athletes who made it to the semifinals were No. 1 singles players Thatcher Ellis of Ridgeline and Kimbal Ricks of Logan. Ellis lost to eventual champion Max Miner of Crimson Cliffs, while Ricks fell to Jaden Wittwer of Desert Hills. Miner proved he was hands down the best player in the tournament as he only dropped three games in four matches.

Logan’s No. 1 doubles tandem of Dohoon Kwag and Junsung Lee also competed in the semifinals, where they lost to the eventual champions from Pine View, 6-3, 6-2. The Grizzlies were the only team in the tourney to go undefeated on Day 1.

Jason Turner is a sports reporter for The Herald Journal. He can be reached at jturner@hjnews.com or 435-792-7237.

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