Davis and Fremont High’s battle for first place at Friday’s Region 1 boys tennis tournament came down to the final two singles matches.
As dramatic as it was when Davis’ Jace Harris outlasted Fremont’s Isaac Clarke at No. 3 singles to clinch the region title, it was also slightly unexpected.
They’ll take it, though.
“Well, I’m just thinking when I was on the court, just thinking I can’t screw this up with everyone watching. That would be kind of embarrassing,” Harris said.
“It was awesome and incredible that I won it, but it made it that much better that it was shared by each of my teammates.”
Harris won in three sets, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Harris’ playing style is self described as one built around doing whatever is humanly possible to get the ball over the net.
In tennis terms, that’s called being a “pusher.”
“All you have to do is get it in one more time than the other guy and you win. It’s simple, it doesn’t matter how hard it is, doesn’t matter how crazy the shot is, as long as it’s over the net and in and you can keep doing that, you’re going to win,” Harris said.
It’s a very frustrating playing style. Ask anyone who’s ever played tennis and they might groan when asked about playing against pushers. Harris knows it all too well from both sides.
“I think everything about my playing style just pisses off my opponent, I swear, you get my on a court with Ghandi and by the end of it he’ll be trying to kill me,” he said.
As for the unexpected part of Davis’ region title, that was because Layton beat everybody in dual matches this season.
But the Lancers faltered and the door opened for the Darts and Silver Wolves, who had actually beaten Davis in the regular season.
The final two matches that were playing (No. 2 and No. 3 singles) presented all sorts of incredibly thin margins that ended with Davis taking first as a team with 19 points, Fremont getting second with 17 and Layton ending up third with 16.
Harris said that although the Darts lost to both Layton and Fremont in the regular season, he thought Davis had the potential to win the region title.
Early in the finals, Davis scored two wins to put pressure on Fremont. At first singles, Danny Zlotnick led Layton’s Walker Kemp 4-3 in the second set when Kemp retired due to injury.
Zlotnick won the first set 6-1, capitalizing on errors and keeping the ball in play long enough to force some of those errors.
The Darts’ freshman duo of Braydon and Spencer Groll dealt a blow to Fremont’s region title hopes with a 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 2 doubles.
Fremont then got a little help from Weber.
The Warriors’ No. 1 doubles team of Hudson Schenck and Braedon Iverson beat Spencer Cox and McKay Renstrom in straight sets to make a close gap between Fremont and Davis even closer.
But after Harris came into his singles match with an intense attitude, he was “stiff” in the first set against Clarke.
Once he regrouped and figured, hey, let’s have some fun, then things started going his way and, eventually, the Darts’ way.
No. 1 singles: Danny Zlotnick (Davis) def. Walker Kemp (Layton); 6-1, 4-3 (ret.)
No. 2 singles: Tanner Armstrong (Fremont) def. Jesse Denhalter (Layton); 7-5, 7-6 (2)
No. 3 singles: Jace Harris (Davis) def. Isaac Clarke (Fremont); 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
No. 1 doubles: Hudson Schenck and Braedon Iverson (Weber) def. Spencer Cox and McKay Renstrom (Davis); 6-3, 6-3
No. 2 doubles: Braydon Groll and Spencer Groll (Davis) def. Eric Merkley and Riley McRae (Fremont); 6-3, 6-4
1. Davis, 19
2. Fremont, 17
3. Layton, 16
4. Weber, 10
5. Syracuse, 4
6. Northridge, 3
7. Clearfield, 2