Spend just a few moments on court with tennis-playing brothers Brendon, Ryan and Conner Kempin, of Sandy, and you'll see exactly why each is the state's top-ranked tennis player in his age group.
Hit what you think is a sure winner and 15-year-old Brendon and his cat-like reflexes is likely to track it down. Stand behind the baseline, and 13-year-old Ryan is sure to bury you with deft drop shots. And dismiss 12-year-old Conner because of his stature, and you'll likely see balls whizzing past with dizzying regularity.
The Kempin name is well known among Utah tennis circles, but 15-year old Brendon put his stamp on the high school scene by finishing second in the 3A No. 1 singles competition last May for Juan Diego. While that loss announced his arrival, it's also driving him to new heights.
"Losing actually gave me confidence that I could compete at that level," Brendon Kempin said. "I've been doing a lot of off-the-court stuff this summer like weights, and speed and agility training."
Most high school tennis players, just glad for the season to be over, take a break, but not the Kempins. The boys have had a busy summer playing tournaments in the intermountain region, trying to take their games and rankings to new levels.
"I love competing and just knowing I'm getting better," said Ryan Kempin. "Brendon has taught me not to leave the ball short and to just try and be consistent."
With a family full of tennis prodigies, parents Kevin and Darlene Kempin have toyed with the idea of sending their kids to an academy like Nick Bollettieri's school, where stars such as Andre Agassi honed their craft.
"We've decided not to interrupt the golden years," said Kevin Kempin, the boys' father. "We take them to camps in California and tournaments all over, but at the end of the day we want them here to be together as a family."
Each of the boys played other sports during their ascension to the top of Utah tennis. Brendon quarterbacked his Juan Diego squad to a seventh-grade state football title, and Ryan was a national champion in 3-on-3 soccer.
While Brendon and Ryan have narrowed their focus to just tennis, 12-year-old Conner dabbles in cross-country, basketball, football and, for family bragging rights, table tennis. Dominant trio
• Tennis-playing brothers from Sandy, Brendon, Ryan and Conner Kempin are all ranked #1 in their respective age divisions in Utah.
• Brendon Kempin finished as runner-up in the 3A, No. 1 singles competition while a freshman at Juan Diego High School.
• All three Kempin brothers spend about 20 hours per week practicing their craft at the Salt Lake Swim & Tennis Club.