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3A boys' tennis: Rigby appreciates second title more, helps lead Bear River to team crown

Published May 13, 2017 8:22 pm

3A boys' tennis • He helps Bears win team crown.
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Bear River's Steffen Rigby entered the Class 3A boys' tennis state tournament as the reigning champion at No. 1 singles, but he knew some business still needed to be resolved.


Because of how the championship match ended a year ago.

Rigby won the 2016 crown when Juan Diego's Ryan Kempin withdrew with an injury late in the second set. Rigby was ahead 5-1 in that set, but Kempin had taken the first.

Rigby went the distance to defend his title this year at Liberty Park. He ousted Park City senior Cole Lee in the championship 6-3, 6-3 to repeat at No. 1 singles.

"You know, it feels real good actually to come back and repeat," Rigby said. "Last time, he [Kempin] did forfeit kind of, so it was kind of like, 'Did I really win it?' It was good to get one where it went to the end."

Rigby had some trouble getting his lob to land inside of the baseline at times. But the Bears sophomore resolved that situation by encouraging Lee to come forward to the net even more. And those trips to the net became more and more frustrating for Lee as Rigby's accuracy over the top improved.

"I actually tried to bring him in a little more and plan those lob shots earlier rather than have him attacking," Rigby said.

Lee said: "I was really applying pressure, but I think his experience gave him the match today. I was able to get to the ball a lot, but then he lobbed it up. His lobs are deep, and it's hard to win points off of him."

Rigby jumped to a 5-1 lead in the second set but then dropped a couple of games before closing it out.

"I think I might have eased up a little, let my guard a little bit and he got pumped up and started playing well again," Rigby said.

Lee played No. 2 singles a year ago and fell to Juan Diego's Connor Kempin. Lee played Kempin again this year, but Lee edged him in the quarterfinals Saturday.

"It was definitely a step up. The loss to Connor was kind of my fuel, and I beat him, so that showed that I've improved since last year," Lee said.

Rigby's younger brother Keanu also was an individual champion, winning the No. 2 singles title.

Ridgeline's Jaxon Brenchley, who led the Riverhawks to the Class 3A boys' basketball state title, won at No. 3 singles, while Snow Canyon took both of the doubles championships — Matt Morgan and Broden Lund at No. 1 and Tanner Deal and Cade Thorkelson at No. 2.

Morgan advanced to the semifinals at No. 1 singles last year before falling to Rigby 6-4, 6-3. He opted for doubles this year.

"We researched what other teams were doing up north. My coach is very good at statistics and finding what points people will get," said Morgan, who helped Snow Canyon accumulate 13 points for second place — four behind team champion Bear River.

"First time for us doing this good," Rigby said about the Bears' team title. "It means a lot to us." —

Class 3A state title matches

No. 1 singles • Steffen Rigby, Bear River, def. Cole Lee, Park City, 6-3, 6-3

No. 2 singles • Keanu Rigby, Bear River, def. Connor Burke, Park City, 6-1, 6-1

No. 3 singles • Jaxon Brenchley, Ridgeline, def. Rayden Ogborn, Bear River, 6-3, 6-0

No. 1 doubles • Matt Morgan/Broden Lund, Snow Canyon, def. Conner McArthur/Josh James, Desert Hills, 6-2, 6-7, 6-4

No. 2 doubles • Tanner Deal/Cade Thorkelson, Snow Canyon, def. Noah Thompson/Ethan Anderson, Desert Hills, 6-0, 7-5

Team standings • 1. Bear River 17; 2. Snow Canyon 13; 3. Park City 12; 4. Desert Hills 10; (tie) Ridgeline 10.




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