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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Brighton tennis brings home another state trophy

Jun 02, 2023 09:46AM ● By Jerry S. Christensen

The 5A boys state tennis tournament on May 14 had some cool weather and occasional showers that changed things up a bit. 

Because Liberty Park was a rainout, the finals matches were moved to Salt Lake Tennis Club where they have indoor courts. Every set mattered. The pressure mounted. At the end of it all, the Brighton Bengals were the ones who had cause to celebrate their 15th boys state title. They won the 5A state championship by just three points over a surging Skyline squad. The win was secured in large part to Owen Hopkin's state championship in No. 2 singles. 

Hopkin was the only Brighton player to win an individual title. His victory earned the team 14 crucial points. And even though he didn't drop a set in his four matches, the team outcome was still in doubt. "We didn’t know until the end of the day if we had the team title,” Hopkin said. "My opponents were phenomenal, but I held it together and made good plays rushing the net.” 

Brighton finished on top with 40 points, followed by Skyline with 37, Highland with 29, Woods Cross with 28, Viewmont with 25 and Olympus with 20.

This finish was a bit of revenge for the previous years when Skyline edged Brighton out of high school tennis' highest honor. In 2019, Brighton lost to Skyline 19 points to 20 points. In 2020, events were canceled because of Covid with Brighton boasting a strong senior-rich team. In 2021, Brighton lost to Skyline. In 2022, Brighton lost to Skyline 20 points to 21 points after Brighton won individual championships in three of the five positions.

“My boys were so hungry for this title, they will be feasting on this victory for a long time," said veteran head coach Natalie Meyer. “I am so proud of this team for all of their hard work and accomplishments despite the hurdles. It takes a village to bring home a state title. We are a Brighton family and we hang together through everything."

That village includes a cast of supportive parents and talented coaches: Meyer, Jason Newell, Austin Newell, Brandon Owen and Mike Grass. 

Team captains Jared Adams and Brandon Bell led the brigade in shoveling out the tennis facility multiple times so the courts would be playable. They showed supportive leadership of this team and rallied home a region and state trophy.

Each point earned in this championship was earned by players returning to next year’s team:

Ford Owen, a junior who took second in state at first singles and was a doubles state champion as a freshman and Owen Hopkin, a junior and second singles state champion of whom his coach says he is "one of the most poised players at handling pressure that I have ever seen." 

There’s Cameron Grass, a junior who made it to the state semifinals at third singles after a grueling three-hour match against Highland. Redd Owen, a decorated Brighton tennis alumni, said about Grass: “The Earth is covered with 70% water and the rest is covered with Grass.”

Talbot Ballstaedt, a junior, and Henry Owen, a freshman, lost to the team that became state champions at first doubles—Woods Cross. 

Max Pohlman and James Covey, both sophomores gave much needed points at second doubles.

Overall, Brighton has won 30 state tennis titles (15 girls and 15 boys). Additionally, they also own 15 second-place finalist trophies.

Canyons District posted on social media: “Brighton might have to get another trophy case” as the state champions were announced. This championship is the 122nd first-place state trophy the school has won. The school has an entire hall—the Hall of Champions—dedicated to state finalists. The 2023 trophy will be in good company. λ