On Tuesday, April 23, the boys played South Sevier and Richfield, losing both matches 3-2.
Against South Sevier, senior Kris Kemp lost his No. 1 singles match in three sets. Sophomore Elijah Stocks continued his impressive winning streak, topping his No. 2 singles match opponent easily. Freshman Tommy Dewitt also easily won his No. 3 singles match.
“I was really amazed,” said coach Ed DeFrancia, speaking about Dewitt’s performance. “It was really pretty neat.”
GCHS senior Macrae Olsen and sophomore Alec Tatton played No. 1 doubles but lost in three sets. “They were playing really well,” said DeFrancia, “but their competition has been super tough all year.”
Freshmen Derek Johnson and Mack Sherryll lost their No. 2 doubles match against the Wolves.
“I think they were evenly matched, but they just weren’t playing well,” said DeFrancia.
“Richfield had the same results” said DeFrancia, speaking about the boys’ second competition of the day, “except that Kris [Kemp] got a win, which was very nice.”
In addition to Kemp’s victory in No. 1 singles, Stock added another win in No. 2 singles in what was his toughest match of the season so far.
“Elijah had his toughest match by far … but he won in three sets,” DeFrancia said. “I think that’s the first set he’s lost [in region] all season. But, it was good for him.”
Dewitt lost at No. 3 singles in two sets.
Olsen and Tatton had a close match in No. 1 singles, losing 6-4, 6-4.
“They were really close,” said DeFrancia, “and that score is just the difference between one break and one serve.”
Sherryll and Lawley played No. 2 singles and lost 4-6, 6-0, 0-6.
“I don’t know how they did it,” said DeFrancia. “They lost 6-4, they won the second set 6-0, and lost the third set 6-0.”
The coach laughed and added, “So they won six consecutive games and then Richfield won six consecutive games. I don’t know what happened there; they don’t even know what happened their … consistency was down again.”
On Thursday, April 25, the Red Devils lost 4-1 to the San Juan Broncos.
In No. 1 singles, Kemp won his first set and then lost the next two.
“He should have won, but he didn’t” said DeFrancia.
In No. 3 singles, Dewitt lost both his sets in what DeFrancia noted was “a really tough match.”
Olsen and Tatton lost their No. 1 doubles match, while Johnson and Lawley played No. 2 doubles and lost in two close sets.
“They did well,” said DeFrancia, “they lost 7-5 and 6-3, which is pretty good. It was an even match all the way, which I think was really nice.”
Grand’s only victory came from Stock, who DeFrancia said “won his match easily,” winning both sets 6-2. This victory makes Stock undefeated in region varsity play, placing him as the No. 1 seed in the upcoming region tournament.
That region tournament will be held in Manti on Friday, May 5.
“Elijah [Stock] is starting as the No. 1 one seed,” said DeFrancia, “and he actually gets a bye, so his first match is in the semifinals already. He just needs that win and he’ll be playing for the championship, and the way things have panned out so far I think he’s got a really good shot … I think he is definitely the player to look for.
“Kris [Kemp] will probably surprise some people. It’s happened several times in years past, where he’s been struggling and then suddenly started to play really well and then pulled an upset or two and qualifies for the state tournament, which is what we’re shooting for. And I think he does have a shot at that. He’s lost a couple matches in three sets here, which is improvement and I think he’s starting to come around here.
“Tommy [Dewitt] … there’s an outside chance. It kind of depends on his attitude, but he is very young with very little experience. [Olsen] and [Tatton] probably have the toughest job … just because the doubles competition this year has probably been the stiffest we’ve ever had, just across the board, but they’ve had a couple of wins. [Johnson] and [Sherryll] are going to be in No. 2 singles, and I think they’ve actually got a good shot, if they just step it up and play well here.”
The region meet will be followed the subsequent weekend by the state tournament in Salt Lake City.
DeFrancia noted that he considers the season a success because “they’re still enjoying this. They’re still out there having fun and that’s what we strive for: go out there, play well and have fun, and everything else will take care of itself.”