Head coach Ed DeFrancia says the team currently has 13 players, none of whom are seniors.
“We have five juniors, seven sophomores, plus one freshman,” DeFrancia said. “But despite being young, we do have playing experience.”
Leading the way at the likely No. 1 singles spot will be junior Elijah Stock, who won his opening-round match at last year’s state tournament. The remaining Red Devil players are battling each other for the No. 2 and No. 3 varsity singles slots, as well as the four varsity positions in No. 1 and No. 2 doubles.
“Practices are competitive right now, as the boys are all trying to get those varsity spots,” DeFrancia said.
In addition to Stock, the team includes four other juniors: Austin Bridges, Dallin Porter, Mack Sherrill, and Alec Tatton. The seven sophomores on the team are Austin Aubry, Tommy DeWitt, Sammy Hansen, Derek Johnson, Cody Jones, Josh Lawley, and River Murdock. The team’s lone freshman is Nolan Beeman, who is nevertheless expected to make an impact, DeFrancia said, noting that Beeman has several years of playing experience.
Joining Grand in the seven-team 2A Southern Division this year will be Delta, South Sevier, Manti, Wasatch Academy, San Juan, and Gunnison. Two previous divisional opponents are out of the picture, with Richfield having moved up to the 3A classification and Parowan dropping their program this year due to lack of a coach, DeFrancia said.
“It could be a tough division,” DeFrancia said.
After Grand’s first match against Carbon at Moab on March 25, the Red Devils will travel to St. George for the annual St. George Invitational tournament on March 28 and 29.
“The Carbon match will be a nice warm-up for us to start off our season, and then when we get to St. George, we’ll see some even tougher competition against larger schools,” DeFrancia said. “We’re looking forward to what should be a fun and competitive season.”