SALT LAKE CITY – Sam and Jake Tullis each repeated as two-time individual champions in the state 5A tennis tournament at Liberty Park last weekend.
The pair’s individual championships, coupled by a pair of second place finishes in third singles and second doubles, gave the Vikings enough of a cushion to beat Brighton for the state 5A boys’ tennis title.
“It was very exciting; it was something I had never done before,” said coach Mark Burningham. “It was a tremendous opportunity to see the kids play their best matches.”
The Vikings swept four out of five brackets during Friday’s competition and was tied with Brighton entering Saturday’s semi-finals and finals events.
Sam and Jake Tullis and Jack Taylor, the Vikings three singles players, won each of the first two matches in a two-set sweep.
“At that point we all felt a little more confident that we had a good chance at winning,” Burningham said. “We dominated our way through and we knew that we were in a tie for first or in first place with Brighton at that point.”
Sam Tullis, playing first singles, lost only two games en route to his semi-final appearance against Lone Peak’s Brocton Andrus.
Tullis beat Andrus in straight sets, setting up a finals match with Riverton’s Ty Burke.
Tullis lost only four games to Burke and claimed his second consecutive individual title for the Vikings.
Younger brother Jake Tullis also dominated his way to the semi-finals, losing only one game to set up a meeting with Brighton’s Anthony Panuzio.
Tullis beat Panuzio in straight sets, then beat Lehi’s Keaton Mathis to capture his second straight singles title as well.
The brother’s dual championships gave the Vikings eight critical team points, which proved to be beneficial in the final standings.
In third singles, Jack Taylor won both his opening matches in straight sets, and then beat Lone Peak’s Sam Johnson 6-0, 6-2 to reach the finals against Brighton’s Jared Mansell.
Mansell won the match in three sets, and his older brother Mitchell Mansell helped the Bengals win a doubles title over Viewmont’s Jens Filmore and Henry Blackburn.
“They played one of the best matches of the year leading up to that final,” said Burningham of Filmore and Blackburn. “They even won the first set in the championship round before falling. It was a great performance by both of them.”
Brighton picked up two more points when its second doubles team made the semi-finals, but they were derailed by Davis High School’s McKay Bruse and Braydon Barlow, who won in straight sets over Colton Kasteler and McKay Dalgleish to claim Davis’ only individual title.
“It would have been interesting if our guys had made it to the finals against (Davis),” Burningham said.
Looking forward to next season, Burningham said he’s just as excited to see a good group of players returning to the tennis court next year.
Only two regular starters, Sam Tullis and Preston Hymas, are graduating, giving Burningham five state tournament competitors returning for Viewmont in 2015.
“Each year it’s only going to get tougher and tougher,” he said. “But I’m excited at what I will have for next season.”
Brighton finished second overall with 17 points. Davis moved up from fifth place to third place.
In the 4A tournament, Austin Creer and Taft Holzer won a doubles title for Woods Cross, which finished tied for third overall.