Bingham boys tennis sends entire varsity squad to state tournament
May 20, 2019 11:49AM
By Josh McFadden
Bingham’s boys tennis team had a strong showing at the Region 4 tournament, qualifying all of its varsity players for state. Pictured, from left: assistant Coach Dave Fonda, coach Steve Peterson, Benjamin Crane, Josh Peterson, Cody White, Caleb Youlton, Jeremy Christensen, Ethan Snow, assistant coach Mark Smith. (Photo by Debby Peterson)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
Like in any other high school sport, when tennis teams get to the state tournament, they see the most talented players and squads. The Bingham boys had great preparation playing in Region 4.
The Miners more than held their own in what other coaches say may be the top region in Utah. At the region tournament, held May 10–11, Bingham did well enough to qualify all of its varsity starters for the Class 6A tournament.
At first doubles, the tandem of sophomore Josh Peterson and junior Cody White (who happen to be cousins) claimed the top seed going into the region tournament. The two players performed like No. 1 seeds, defeating Pleasant grove 6-2, 6-0 in the semifinals and outlasting Lone Peak 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 to win the title.
“That position was the most competitive within the region,” head coach Steve Peterson said. “All matches throughout the season were very close, and most went three sets. [The championship match] was a battle, and our boys needed to play their very best. Our boys wanted to capture a No. 1 seed going into the state tournament, which they did. Josh and Cody have been playing together for a few years now. They know each other’s strengths and work very well together on the court. They play many USTA tournaments together and have seen lots of success. We are fortunate that both of them are so young and will be back next year. They are among the very best in the state.”
Second doubles players Benjamin Crane, a junior, and Austin Burton, a senior, entered the region tournament as the second-seeded team. They fell to American Fork in three sets in a hard-fought semifinals match before beating Pleasant Grove for third place.
“[Crane and Burton] have only been playing together for one year but have come a long way learning how to play together,” Steve Peterson said. “They won some very tough matches during the regular season. They are a strong team, and we expect them to perform well at state.”
Seniors Ethan Snow, Jeremy Christensen and Caleb Youlton qualified for state in the singles positions.
“We are excited that the entire varsity team qualified for state this year,” Steve Peterson said. “That doesn’t always happen.”
The Miners’ head coach was pleased with the players’ and the team’s development throughout the season. He saw marked improvement from the first practice through the region tournament. He’s also optimistic about the future of the program, especially as he watched the JV team have success this season. He highlighted the play of Josh Christensen, who took second in singles in the JV division, and Dannion Nelson.
“I feel that we have improved significantly,” he said. “We have had a lot of players step up and play well when they needed to. It has been especially fun for me to see how much they have developed. We also have a very good JV team, and many of them will be competing for varsity spots next year. I believe those players will continue to improve and become significant contributors at the varsity level in the near future.”
Bingham will say goodbye to seven seniors from this year’s squad, including Jake Stutz and Mason Driscoll. Steve Peterson said the pair doesn’t get all the accolades, but he has loved watching them work hard and give it their all.
“Often, it’s our other seasoned players that help build the entire team,” he said. “Jake and Mason have done that over the years and have shown tremendous dedication and leadership in so many ways. They played lots of singles and doubles positions for us over the years.”