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Boys' tennis: Patient approach works beautifully for Viewmont's Taylor

Published May 11, 2017 10:36 pm

Boys' tennis • Senior was the runner-up at No. 1 singles last year.
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When Jack Taylor lines up on the opposite side of the net, opponents of the Viewmont senior should know that he doesn't mind taking his time.

On the tennis court and maybe even off it to some extent, Taylor seems prone to playing the waiting game. It's worked out pretty well so far.

With the boys' state tennis championships set to begin Friday with Class 3A matches, Taylor is among a select few expected to contend for a championship in the Class 5A's No. 1 singles field. It's a place Taylor went far last year, advancing to the title match before falling to Lone Peak's Brocton Andrus.

Taylor has the ability to put some extra zip on a passing shot if a foe advances to the net, and shows it several times a match.

But more often than not, he exchanges strokes from the baseline — until the other player makes a mistake.

"I just try to work a lot on consistency, go into my matches just rallying a lot," Taylor said. "If I have someone who's going to miss after a couple of shots, I just keep it going."

Taylor outlasted Pleasant Grove's Ty Harris 2-6, 7-6, 7-5 in a semifinal in last year's state tournament. Taylor, Harris, Brighton's Redd Owen, Lone Peak's Micah Heimuli and Bingham's Ben Agrelius are all expected to contend this year.

Harris "knew exactly how to play me. He would kick-serve high to my backhand, come in and just finish at the net. After the first set, I just tried to rally back and did somehow," Taylor said about last year's tourney.

"There are a lot of super-good kids [this year]. I wouldn't put myself ahead of anybody else."

Taylor was also a point guard in the Viewmont basketball program and played in 10 games as a junior in 2015-16. But he made the decision to concentrate on tennis for his senior year.

"A lot of my friends play basketball, and I've been playing basketball my entire life. I've only taken up tennis seriously, with tournaments and everything, this past June," Taylor said. "Basketball was my main focus for a long time, until this year."

When it comes to plans for after high school, Taylor said he's undecided on whether to go on a church mission or immediately go to college.

If it's the latter, he hasn't decided where that will be — not just yet, anyway.

"I've still got to figure it out. I'm going to be going on a mission, I just don't know when yet," said Taylor, whose graduation ceremony is scheduled for June 2.

Viewmont tennis coach Mark Burningham thinks that Taylor has the skills necessary to be an important asset for a collegiate program if he continues to play tennis.

"He plays with enthusiasm, he's got the fire, even though sometimes you don't see it," Burningham said. "He's not like a lot of players with his ability. He hasn't played a lot of matches — a lot of junior tournaments.

"But he is very coachable, not only with his mentality, but physically. He knows how to adapt his body to what he's supposed to do. You ask him to do something and he puts it in motion. I think he'd be a great athlete at the next level." —

5A state tourney

When • May 18 and 20

Where • Liberty Park tennis courts, Salt Lake City

Defending team champion • Lone Peak

4A state tourney

When • May 19 and 20

Where • Liberty Park tennis courts, Salt Lake City

Defending team champion • Timpview

3A state tourney

When • Friday and Saturday

Where • Liberty Park tennis courts, Salt Lake City

Defending team champion • Juan Diego

2A state tourney

When • Saturday

Where • Liberty Park tennis courts, Salt Lake City

Defending team champion • Waterford






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