Tennis coach John Condes said before the season started that having sophomores in the final three spots of Salpointe’s six-man playing ladder was a question mark and that it would make it difficult for Salpointe to win its fifth consecutive big-school state championship.
“Well, they must have been better than I thought,” Condes said while preparing Salpointe for the Class 5A Division I team tournament, which opens with the first two rounds Monday and Wednesday on the campus of the higher seeds. Salpointe hosts Mesa Mountain View Monday at the Tucson Racquet Club.
The tournament then moves to Glendale’s Paseo Racquet Center for next Monday’s quarterfinals and next Tuesday’s semifinals and finals.
“I think we have a chance,” Condes said. “It seems in general that the field is stronger than in the past – at least the last couple years. I expect tougher matches.”
The first two rounds of the 5A-II team tournament also begin Monday and Wednesday and conclude with the quarterfinals, semis and finals next Monday and Tuesday at Paseo.
Salpointe – led by Cameron Ahari, who is ranked in the top 50 nationally – enters the tournament seeded No. 3 in the AIA’s power-point system, trailing No. 1 Tempe Corona del Sol and No. 2 Phoenix Brophy Prep. Brophy beat Corona 6-3 early in the season, and Salpointe defeated Brophy 7-1 in a national tournament in California.
Similarly in 5A-II, Avondale Westview is 14-1 and ranked No. 1, but its only loss came to No. 2 Phoenix North 6-3. Actually, 12-3 Phoenix Horizon (No. 3) probably deserves the favorite’s role because of a much tougher schedule. Its losses come against 5A-I powers Brophy, Phoenix Desert Vista (No. 4) and Phoenix North Canyon (No. 6).
“They should use the power points as a guideline and then let the coaches seed the teams in a conference call, like we used to do,” said Condes, whose team could meet Brophy in the semifinals.
“It was seeded better then.”
Condes also cautions to not read much into his team’s victory over Brophy, saying it was done with Brophy’s No. 2 player, Lorenz Laurel, out of the lineup because of wrist surgery.
Laurel is not completely healed, and Brophy coach Bill Woods said he is leaving it up to Laurel and his parents to decide if he will play.
Ahari, defending 5A-I champion Andy Nguyen of Phoenix Mountain Pointe, Corona’s Garret Dunn and North Canyon’s Joey Adewumi are the favorites in singles, and Tempe Marcos de Niza’s Sean O’Grady hopes to defend his 5A-II singles crown.
The first three rounds of the singles and doubles competition in 5A-I and 5A-II will be Friday and Saturday, with the 5A-I at Paseo and 5A-II at Gene Autry Sports Center in Mesa.
The quarterfinals, semifinals and final for both 5A-I and 5A-II singles and doubles will be held April 25 and 26 at Paseo.
MONDAY’S HS TENNIS SCHEDULE
Boys Class 4A region tournaments
Gila Region: No. 4 Catalina at No. 1 Sahuarita, 3 p.m.; No. 3 Douglas at No. 2 Amphi, 3 p.m.
Sonoran Region: No. 4 Marana at No. 1 Catalina Foothills, 3 p.m.; No. 3 Pueblo at No. 2 Canyon del Oro, 3 p.m.
Kino Region: No. 4 Desert View at No. 1 Nogales, 3 p.m.; No. 3 Sahuaro at No. 2 Sabino, 12:30 p.m.
Boys Class 5A state tournament
5A Division I: No. 14 Mesa Mountain View at No. 3 Salpointe, 3:30 p.m.
5A Division II: No. 9 Rincon/University at No. 8 Marana Mountain View, 3:30 p.m.; No. 12 Glendale Ironwood at No. 5 Ironwood Ridge, 3:30 p.m.
Girls Class 4A region tournaments
Gila Region: No. 4 Amphi at No. 1 Sahuarita, 1 p.m.; No. 3 Catalina at No. 2 Douglas, 3 p.m.
Sonoran Region: No. 4 Pueblo at No. 1 Catalina Foothills, 3 p.m.; No. 3 Canyon del Oro at No. 2 Marana, 3 p.m.
Kino Region: No. 4 Sahuaro at No. 1 Flowing Wells, 3 p.m.; No. 3 Nogales at No. 2 Sabino, 3:30 p.m.
Girls Class 5A state tournament
5A Division I: No. 14 Glendale Mountain Ridge at No. 3 Salpointe, 3:30 p.m.; No. 11 Casa Grande at No. 6 Mesa Red Mountain, 3:30 p.m.; No. 10 Sierra Vista Buena at No. 7 Gilbert Highland, 3:30 p.m.
5A Division II: No. 13 San Luis at No. 4 Ironwood Ridge, 3:30 p.m.