Crimson Cliffs boys tennis team wins state championship

Crimson Cliffs players and coaches with 4A state championship trophy, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 15, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Crimson Cliffs Athletics, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Crimson Cliffs boys tennis team won the 4A state high school tennis tournament Saturday, sweeping all three singles brackets in a decisive fashion.

In two years of existence, the Washington City school has already won four state titles, with the Mustangs winning girls tennis last fall and the boys state golf championships in 2019 and 2020.

Liam Duffin of Crimson Cliffs serves during the 4A state tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah. May 15, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Crimson Cliffs Athletics, St. George News

Playing at Salt Lake City’s Liberty Park, the Crimson Cliffs trio of Max Miner, Zach Sodorff and Liam Duffin each won their respective state matches in straight sets, just as they had done at the Region 9 seeding tournament in St. George the previous weekend.

Miner, a freshman and the Mustangs’ No. 1 singles player, first ousted Cedar’s Calvin Beck, then swept Uintah’s Josh Speirs in the second round on Friday. Then, in Saturday morning’s semifinals, Miner defeated Ridgeline sophomore Thatcher Ellis, 6-1, 6-0, setting up a finals rematch with sophomore Jaden Wittwer of Desert Hills, with Miner winning 6-0, 6-1.

In second singles, Sodorff capped off his stellar senior season by successively sweeping four Northern Utah opponents at state. Sodorff defeated opponents from Stansbury and Ridgeline on Friday, then beat Logan junior Ashton Xu in the semifinals Saturday morning, 6-4, 6-1. In the finals that afternoon, Sodorff defeated Green Canyon senior Calvin Felt, 6-2, 6-0, to claim first place.

Then, in No. 3 singles, junior Liam Duffin completed the singles bracket trifecta for Crimson Cliffs as he cruised past his four state opponents, all of whom happened to be from Region 11.

After taking care of opponents from Mountain Crest and Green Canyon on Friday, Duffin swept Ridgeline sophomore Davis Low, 6-0, 6-1 on Saturday morning, putting him in the finals against Logan senior Paul Miller, also a No. 1 seed. In the finals match, Duffin prevailed 6-2, 6-3 as he handed Miller his first loss of the season.

Pine View’s first doubles team of Coby Christenson and Kaden Koch, flanked by coaches, hold up their winning bracket, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 15, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Pine View Athletics, St. George News

At the end of the first day, Logan had held a slight 10-8 edge in team points over Crimson, as it had advanced to the semifinals in all five brackets, compared to Crimson’s four.

Crimson Cliffs coach Colin Brown said he still had a high level of confidence in his players.

“Obviously, Logan has a great team,” he said. “That first day they came out on top, we weren’t really that worried, just looking at their draws and who they had to play.”

In just its second year of existence, Crimson Cliffs now has a set of bookend state trophies in tennis, with the boys’ hardware on Saturday joining that of the Mustang girls team, which won the state title this past fall, also under head coach Brown.

Region 9’s Pine View also fared well at state, winning one doubles bracket and finishing second in the other en route to a third-place team finish. 

In first doubles, Pine View’s Coby Christenson, a senior, and Kaden Koch, a junior, teamed up to win all four of their matches in straight sets. They defeated opponents from Hurricane and Mountain Crest on Friday, then made it past Logan, 6-3, 6-2, in the semifinals. Their finals match was against their Region 9 rivals from Dixie, seniors Brady Madrid and Josh Barney, who had earned the region’s No. 2 seed at state. Christenson and Koch won the final 6-0, 6-4.

Pine View’s second doubles team, made up of seniors Benson Parry and Tayen Clark, had a No. 2 seed in the state bracket. They made it past Uintah, Ridgeline and Mountain Crest, respectively, winning each match in straight sets. That put them in the finals against Logan’s freshman twins, Phillip Xu and Caleb Xu. Parry and Clark dropped the first set to the Xus, 3-6, but came back to win the second set 6-1. In the third and deciding set, the twins prevailed, 6-2.

Pine View’s second doubles team of Benson Parry and Tayen Clark after their semifinal win over Mountain Crest in 4A state tournament, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 15, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Pine View Athletics, St. George News

“Logan came out and started quick, and we just came out a little flat,” Pine View head coach Dow Christenson said, adding, “Then we tried to get it going and just couldn’t get it going in the third set.”

Still, coach Christenson had high praise for Parry and Clark, who despite being seniors, had not played high school tennis before this season.

“If you had told me I’d have two first-year players go out and make it to the state finals, I would have told you, ‘You’re crazy!’ But they did.”

The state tournament marked a strong showing for Region 9, which had four of the top six team finishers.

For complete official results of all five brackets and team scores, click here.

4A state boys tennis tournament, top 6 team scores

  1. Crimson Cliffs,  20
  2. Logan, 16
  3. Pine View, 10
  4. (tie) Dixie 9
  5. (tie) Green Canyon, 9
  6. Desert Hills, 8

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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