It was a perfect day for the American Fork boys tennis team and their entourage to spend at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City on Saturday.
The weather was beautiful and the Cavemen had waltzed their way to a big lead at the 6A state tournament in Thursday’s first-round play. Then on Saturday, American Fork continued what it started and coach Jason Herrud admitted he never felt worried about giving up that lead.
He even spied his players getting the tub of water ready to douse him with a traditional “Gatorade” bath, and he took it in stride.
It was welcomed in the warm afternoon after Caden Hasler started by winning the No. 1 single title, and the Cavemen collected four other division crowns and finished second in the other.
After the bath, the Cavemen graciously accepted the school’s first boys state trophy and will soon place it in the already-cramped trophy cabinet.
“The kids have been putting in a lot of work and today we finished it off,” Herrud said. “We made a run at it last year, but this year’s team was very deep and the kids sacrificed individually to make our team better.”
American Fork finished with 24 points. Lone Peak had 16, and Corner Canyon and Farmington tied for third place with 11 points.
For the fourth straight year (since the creation of a 6A division), Region 4 had the top three teams, but Herrud said Hasler’s confidence as a senior spread to the team, and that’s what carried the Cavemen to the top.
“His experience boosted everyone and the tennis is competitive you can’t guarantee anything,” Herrud said.
“You never know how the ball is going to bounce but this time it bounced our way.”
Said Hasler, the son of BYU women’s tennis coach Holly Parkinson-Hasler: “I had a lot of energy. I definitely felt the nerves, but after the first one or two games, it went away and it means the world to us to win this.”
Playing in No. 1 singles, Hasler won every match in straight sets, including the finale against Farmington’s Josh Jones 6-3, 6-1.
Griffin Karras and Antoni Ramon also earned singles titles for the Cavemen, but the competition from Justin Steed of Farmington and Corner Canyon’s Spencer Willes made the championship matches more interesting.
In doubles play, the sixth-seeded team of Derek Larson and Luke Rich came through and finished a perfect weekend with a win over Nathan Ashton and Abram Robbins of Lone Peak in a close match.
The only breakthrough of the day by a non-American Fork athlete came, not surprisingly, from the Knights in No. 2 doubles, where Lucas Jackson and Simon Bliss edged their Cavemen opponents in the finale.
6A boys state tennis tournament
At Liberty Park, Salt Lake City
1. American fork, 24.
2, Lone Peak, 16.
3, Corner Canyon, 11.5
3. Farmington, 11.5
5, weaver, 4.
6, Bingham, 3
6. Fremont, 3
6. Riverton, 3
6. Skyridge, 3
6th west, 3rd
Saturday’s individual results
- Caden Hasler (American Fork) def. Jeffrey Kulsomphob (West) 6-2, 6-1.
- Josh Jones (Farmington) def. Kingsley Hoang (Bingham) 6-3, 6-1.
- Hasler def. Jones 6-3, 6-1.
- Griffin Karras (American Fork) def. Boston McFarland (Fremont) 6-2, 6-2.
- Justin Steed (Farmington) def. Beau Welker (Corner Canyon) 7-5, 6-4.
- Karras def. Steeds 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.
- Antoni Ramon (American Fork) def. Isaac Downs (Lone Peak) 6-0, 6-3.
- Spencer Willes (Corner Canyon) def. Gabriel Olson (Weaver) 6-2, 6-0.
- Ramon def. Willes 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4).
- Cole Jenkins-Charlie Jenkins (Corner Canyon) def. Spencer Ostermiller-Nathaniel Bullard (Farmington) 6-2, 6-2.
- Nathan Ashton-Abram Robbins (Lone Peak) def. Derek Larson-Luke Rich (American Fork) def. 7-6(4), 7-5.
- Ashton-Robbins def. Jenkins Jenkins, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6
- Carson McBeth-Sam Jensen (American Fork) def. Max Ericksen-Cade Sperry (Skyridge) 6-1, 6-7(4), 6-4.
- Lucas Jackson-Simon Bliss (Lone Peak) def. Kayden Smith-Bridger Hunt (Layton) 6-0, 6-1.
- Jackson Bliss def. McBeth-Jensen 6-3, 6-2.