Brendan Amland moved to Scottsdale from Seattle at a particularly awkward time: his senior year.
However, the Scottsdale Desert Mountain senior quickly found a niche for himself and proved to be the final cog needed to help the Wolves capture their second straight state 5A-II boys tennis title.
Second-seeded Desert Mountain defeated top-seeded Phoenix North Canyon 5-1, capping a season that had only two losses, both to 5A-I power Phoenix Brophy.
For Amland, who will join teammate and senior Andrew McCurdy as top seeds in 5A-II doubles competition this weekend, the state championship was a “nice way to finish a senior year.”
“Tennis out here is much different than it was in Washington,” Amland said. “First, you can play all year, and here, the players are just better. It improved my game. It always helps improve a player when you are around better players.”
Desert Mountain coach Dan Lefevre said Amland was a welcome addition to his team.
“When (Brendan) arrived and he was just as tough and as good as our number one (Andrew McCurdy), I kind of had a feeling we would be in good shape,” Lefevre said. “This is my fourth year, and I feel this is the best team that I’ve had. We had a very deep team this year.”
North Canyon’s only win came at the hands of Joseph Adewumi, who is expected to repeat as 5A-II state individual champion.
Adewumi defeated McCurdy 6-0, 6-1. Amland won his match against Sean Sehorn 6-3, 6-2.
Lefevre loses just two players next season, but those players are McCurdy and Amland.
However, his fourth and fifth players — Jeremy Shapiore and Brian Merdinger — are both freshmen.
“It’s always hard to replace players like Andrew and Brendan, but our freshmen will continue to improve,” Lefevre said.
Tucson Salpointe won its fourth straight title, defeating Phoenix Mountain Pointe 5-2.
The Pride made it a bit interesting as Andy Nguyen and Salpointe’s Cameron Ahari went nearly three hours in their top-seed battle. Ahari won 6-4, 6-7, 6-1.
Mountain Pointe’s Erik Sheldon and Tyler Petcher, who as a doubles combination got the Pride into the championship, each won their individual matches on Tuesday.
Nguyen, a senior, the 5A-I top seed, has one more shot for a title as the top seed in the 5A-I individual championships this weekend. Sheldon, the third seed, will see how far his fortunes carry him.
“It was just an amazing season,” Mountain Pointe coach Dan Ray said. “It was a dream to get into the doubles matches and make it close against a powerhouse like Salpointe.”