Spencer Smith defeated teammate Keaton Cullimore to earn the Fall Classic singles title. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – In a matchup between teammates, junior Spencer Smith defeated freshman Keaton Cullimore to win his first Utah Fall Classic singles title, Saturday at the BYU Outdoor Tennis Courts.
“I was really proud of Spencer,” said BYU men’s tennis head coach Brad Pearce. “Being the No. 1 seed and one of only a few upperclassmen, it was a tournament where he had everything to lose and not a lot to gain so I think that was great for him at the end of the day to come out with the championship.”
No. 1 seed Smith and Cullimore, who Smith narrowly lost to in the doubles final Friday, battled for more than two hours in the three-set thriller.
Cullimore claimed the first set before Smith won the second. Cullimore jumped out early in the final set before Smith won three straight games to take the lead 5-3. Cullimore ended the streak with his won game before Smith went on to win the set and the match 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
“It’s always difficult playing against a teammate because there’s a competitive thing inside the team,” Smith said. “Keaton played really well. He made me work for every point. He’s going to be a great addition to our team.”
This is the fifth consecutive year a BYU player has won the Utah Fall Tennis Classic singles title.
Sophomore Patrick Kawka topped freshman Francis Sargeant to earn third place in the tournament, 7-5, 6-3.
Cullimore and John Pearce, son of coach Brad Pearce, took the doubles title Friday for the second year in a row after beating Sargeant and Smith, 9-7.
“We had an all-BYU singles semifinals and an almost all-BYU doubles finals so I think that bodes well for this upcoming season,” Pearce said. “But we have a lot of hard work ahead of us so we need to continue to build on this week throughout the rest of the year. “
The Cougars now prepare for the ITA All-American tournament, which will begin Oct. 1 in Tulsa, Okla.
For more information on the Utah Fall Classic and a complete tournament bracket, click here.