Bingham boys tennis takes second at state
Jul 06, 2017 04:20PM
● By Billy Swartzfager
The Bingham boys tennis team holds the second-place trophy after the 2017 state championship tournament (Steve Peterson/Bingham Head Coach)
The Bingham High School boys tennis team capped off a fantastic season with a lot of prestigious hardware. The Miners finished second in the 5A state tournament as a team, racking up a lot of team points in second and third singles as well as both doubles divisions.
“This was the deepest team I have coached, as far as talent goes,” Bingham head coach Steve Peterson said.
Bingham’s fist doubles pairing, seniors Jared Tobler and Nathan Balls, who rolled through region adversaries all season long going undefeated, remained perfect throughout the state bracket to take home the title as best doubles team in the state. The two began the tournament as the top seed from Region 3 and never faltered at the sport’s highest prep level at Liberty Park in late May.
Not to be outdone by first doubles, Bingham’s second doubles duo, senior Jesse Ntawutarama and Austin Cox, a junior, took state as well, after earning another top seed from an undefeated season in region play and storming through a state tournament bracket the two owned from the very first set.
It was the first time Bingham has ever won two of the five varsity positions at the state tournament, according to Peterson. The Miners also saw great performances from many of their singles players too. Second singles player, Stockton Aubrey, a senior, played well until he lost a close match in the semifinals to top seeded Niles Cochran from Lone Peak. Cody White, a freshman at third singles, also played well during the season and during the state tournament. White made it into the semifinal round as well, where he was ousted by Danny Zlotnick of Davis High School. Senior transfer, returning state champion and first singles player Ben Agrelius was defeated in the tournament’s second round by top-seeded Micah Heimuli of Lone peak.
In all, Bingham pulled together for 17 team points, which was good for second place on the podium. Lone Peak totaled 19 team points, just edging Bingham from the top spot. Next year, the team will be led by Cox and White, who will have learned from their experiences during 2017.
On top of the success the Miners saw at the state tournament, a few of the team’s leaders were recognized within the region for their play, and two were recognized at the state level for their play on the court paired with their performance in the classroom. Balls was awarded All-Region honors and also earned Academic All-State accolades. Tobler earned an All-Region nod as well. Ntawutarama was awarded the other Academic All-State honor. Bingham also had six young men receive recognition for earning spots on the Academic All-Region.
2017 was a culmination of years of hard work for most of these boys. Balls and Tobler played at Bingham all four years. Ntawutarama played at Bingham for the past three years, and Cox has been playing since junior high school. Some of them had been waiting for this year for a long time.
“I looked forward to this year,” Tobler said. “We had a dang good team. We were really close, I love those guys. It was just a great team, honestly.”
The closeness of the team was a high point from the season from the coach’s perspective as well. According to Peterson, the team focused on supporting one another from early in the spring and was very pleased to see how far it progressed and believes that the team’s unity had a lot to do with their ultimate success, something he hopes to carry on for the future, as do his players.
“We’re going to work hard through the summer and hopefully make a run at another title,” Cox said.