Timpview’s Josh Pearce says Utah Valley Ashton Invitational boys tennis tournament is glimpse of BYU future
Timpview senior Josh Pearce has played a tremendous amount of tennis during the last decade. Most of the time he has been on his own, playing in individual tournaments.
He has found ways to cope with the strain and the atmosphere, developing a demeanor that Thunderbird head boys tennis coach Andy Collins calls, “stoic.”
“He’s played tennis his whole life and it can be a bit of a lonely sport,” Collins said Friday. “You are out there alone and in junior tennis coaches can’t go out on the court and coach. The guys who play are stoic.”
Many of those high-level players don’t need to play high school tennis, since college recruiting is often done at regional tournaments.
But they do it because competing with a team can be so rewarding.
“I love playing as a team,” Pearce said. “It’s like college, where I will be going since I have signed to play with BYU. I love being a part of a team, however we do, whether it is a win or a loss. It’s different for me, but I like it.”
Pearce and his Timpview teammates are competing at the Utah Valley Ashton Invitational this weekend, a tournament that features just about all of the top tennis teams in the state from all classifications.
But it is a team event, where a team wins or loses together.
Pearce won his No. 1 singles match Friday at Skyridge High School, holding off a determined effort by Waterford’s Shilp Shah (6-4,6-2) — but the Thunderbirds ended up falling to the Ravens, 4-3.
Even though things didn’t go Timpview’s way, the Thunderbird players were engaged and supportive of their participating teammates, joking to relax them, urging them on to give them a jolt of adrenaline or encouraging them not to dwell on mistakes.
“The boys give all they have here,” Pearce said. “They are all fighting for the team win, just as I am with them. I love how they give it all to help each of us win our matches.”
That’s one of the reasons that Collins said Pearce loves the team atmosphere.
“There is nothing like team tennis,” Collins said. “He feeds off it, whether he knows it or not. Team tennis is fantastic. He loves it.”
Pearce isn’t the loudest player on the team but Collins said he’s also not one to retreat to focus just on himself.
“Josh is a quiet leader,” Collins said. “He lets his play dictate. We don’t see Josh every day at practice but he will come and hit with our guys, give advice. At a match the other day, our assistant coach wasn’t there and I was talking to someone. He’d finished already and was over talking to our No. 3 singles guy. Most guys don’t have a teammate of Josh’s caliber, so that’s something really good.”
As Timpview and the other boys tennis teams start turning their attention to the postseason, this is the time for them to realize their importance to the team.
Pearce will be taking in the best individual players Class 5A has to offer and he holds himself to a high standard.
“I’ve lost three times in the final,” Pearce said. “I played good players and there are a lot of good players this year again. I just want to do the best I can to help my team win. That’s my goal. If I get the win, that’s good. If the team gets the win, that’s great.”
The Ashton Invitational, which features 16 top teams, helps drive home the message that every match is important — a message that has to be understood going into the state tournament.
“It’s a great tournament,” Collins said. “You are playing against really great teams and that sets you up for state. Sometimes the first round is easy but you are looking at a lot of tough matches. Guys like Josh aren’t going to lose to guys they’re not supposed to lose to, but I told our kids that if we want to win state we have to find a way to get a point.”
The Ashton Invitational will conclude Saturday with the championship matches scheduled to take place at Pleasant Grove High School at 2 p.m.
For the complete details, go to http:// uvtennisinvite.co m.