St. George • His younger brother may have had an edge in the personal competition at the Class 3A boys' tennis state tournament Saturday, but Juan Diego junior Brendan Kempin didn't really care about that part of the day on the courts at Green Valley Resort.
What really mattered was that the Soaring Eagle were the ones holding up the championship trophy at the end, even if little brother lost fewer games along the way.
Both Kempin brothers junior Brendan and freshman Ryan led a sweep of the singles titles as Juan Diego held off Desert Hills to win the 3A team crown with 21 points, four better than the Thunder, who won both doubles titles and finished second for the second year in a row.
While Brendan beat Dixie's Tevan Balian 6-2, 6-2 to win his second straight No. 1 singles championship, Ryan made an even bigger splash by sweeping aside the Flyers' Micah Alba 6-0, 6-0 for the No. 2 singles title. Brenton Reyner completed the winning trio by beating Snow Canyon's Logan Wrigley 6-4, 6-0 at No. 3.
Although Balian stayed on serve with the older Kempin, who has already committed to play tennis for Notre Dame, through the early stages of the second set, Brendan nailed a winner at 3-2 to get the break of Balian's serve, then won win final three games of the match.
"[Balian] played well, but I never had any doubt I was going to lose the match," Brendan said. "I was pretty confident."
While big brother lost only six games in winning his title, Ryan dropped just three. There weren't any big state secrets as to why the freshman was so successful in his state tournament debut.
"It's just been a lot of hard work in preparing for this," Ryan said. "Both of my coaches really helped with their positive attitudes today. I really wanted to win it for the team."
After seeing Region 10 rival Park City win the 3A title in 2012, Soaring Eagle coach Arthur Miyazaki said the team commitment was what carried the Soaring Eagle to the top this time around.
"These guys live and breathe tennis," Miyazaki said. "The team's always motivated. Whether it's No. 1 singles or No. 2 doubles, all points count the same. While our singles players won, our doubles contributed, too."
Team points • Juan Diego 21, Desert Hills 17, Snow Canyon 11, Dixie 10, Spanish Fork 6, Judge 5, Park City 5, Grantsville 4, Wasatch 4, North Sanpete 2, Uintah 2, Cedar City 1, Hurricane 1, Ogden 1
No. 1 singles
• Tevan Balian, Dixie, def. Nick Chingas, Spanish Fork, 7-5, 6-2
• Brendan Kempin, Juan Diego, def. Clay Hardy, Desert Hills, 6-0, 6-1
• Kempin def. Balian 6-2, 6-2
No. 2 singles
• Micah Alba, Dixie, def. Rawson Simmons, Park City, 6-3, 6-1
• Ryan Kempin, Juan Diego, def. Micha Gaelwiler, Desert Hills, 6-0, 6-1
• Kempin def. Gaelwiler 6-0, 6-0
No. 3 singles
• Logan Wrigley, Snow Canyon, def. Justin Ericksen, North Sanpete, 6-0, 6-0
• Brenton Reyner, Juan Diego, def. Devin Orgill, Grantsville, 6-0, 6-0
• Reyner def. Wrigley 6-4, 6-0
No. 1 doubles
• Mason Ford/Christian Davis, Desert Hills, def. Zach Staheli/Avery Cope, Dixie, 6-0, 6-2
• Brandon Reemsnyder/Luke Ropner, Judge, def. Dalton Roth/Josh Hunt, 6-3, 6-1
• Ford/Davis def. Reemsnyder/Ropner 6-2, 6-2
No. 2 doubles
• Preston Parmenter/Ryan McGinnis, Desert Hills, def. Nick Fuller/Dylan Zeiger, Juan Diego, 6-1, 6-1
• Nate Utley/Hunter McAurthur, Snow Canyon, def. Robby Dixon/Aaron Startup, Spanish Fork, 6-2, 6-3
• Parmenter/McGinnis def Utley/McAurthur 6-4, 6-1