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Sandy Journal

Freshman Buxton turning heads for Jordan boys tennis

May 07, 2024 10:26AM ● By Josh McFadden

JT Buxton, a freshman on the Jordan High school boys tennis team, is the top player on the team. He is hoping to make a deep run in the state tournament this May. (Photo courtesy of Alex Buxton)

The future looks pretty solid for the Jordan boys tennis team at the first singles slot. The present has been great for the Beetdiggers too. 

The first singles position features the top player on a team. Often, you’ll see a junior or senior occupy the slot, while younger players may play junior varsity or start at a second or third singles position. At Jordan High School, a freshman emerged this season as the team’s No. 1 player. 

JT Buxton impressed head coach Matthew Bell right away, to the point Bell was confident the ninth grader would “go really far this season.” Buxton hasn’t disappointed, as he has performed well, typically against older players. The young player has been composed throughout the year, helping the team battle against Region 10 competition. 

Buxton may be younger than many of his peers and opponents, but he doesn’t lack experience. 

At the age of 5, long before a lot of young players pick up a racket, Buxton began the sport. Not surprisingly, it was a family member who helped spark some interest in the game for him. 

“What first got me started was seeing my brother Charlie and my dad play in the morning before he went to school every day, and so I wanted to start doing the same thing,” Buxton said.

Since then, Buxton has spent many hours on the court, honing his talent and improving his skills. He has no shortage of passion for tennis either, but the aspect of playing that he loves most is the relationships he has made along the way. He said it’s gratifying to play alongside his Jordan teammates and spend time with them on and off the tennis court. This camaraderie is one of the things that makes being on the Jordan team so special, he said. 

“The thing I enjoy the most about tennis is all the friends I have made through tennis and all the fun memories that came from matches and practices,” he said. “The best part of being on the Jordan tennis team for me is how everyone on the team are friends and how I have a personal connection with all my teammates.”

Bell said Buxton has a great all-around game, which makes it difficult for opponents to beat him. He’s also an unselfish teammate and a leader, which can be uncommon for a freshman. Bell said Buxton is happy to help other players and that he is an excellent role model. 

Buxton is humble and knows that though he has great skills and abilities, he has some things to work on. He wants to get better every day. Specifically, he is hoping to increase his strength. He also wants to enhance a few other aspects of his game as the season winds down and as his career progresses. 

“As I get bigger and stronger, I hope to get a more powerful serve as well as a better net game,” he said. 

Like his coach, Buxton believes he has a “well-rounded game.” He said his biggest strength is his groundstrokes. 

The regular season is just about in the books, but the most important part of the season awaits: tournament time. The Region 10 and state tournaments await. The region tournament will determine which players qualify for and advance to state. Buxton figures to earn his spot in the 4A state tournament, which will take place May 10, 11 at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City. Last season, the Beetdiggers qualified two players for state in the 5A tournament, with both players losing in the first round. 

Buxton is optimistic about his and his team’s postseason chances.

Individually, my goals for this season are winning region and hopefully making it far into state, and possibly winning the whole thing,” he said. “For the team, I hope that we can all do well at region and that as a team we can do well at state.”

Of course, nothing will come easy at the state tournament, where Buxton will see some outstanding competition from fellow 4A players, some of whom he might not have faced this season. But the young player is confident that he can perform well. Plus, he has three more years after this season. Seemingly, the sky’s the limit for him.

Buxton has dedicated a lot of time and effort to playing. He acknowledges that his success and accomplishments could not have come without a lot of help and mentoring. He’s grateful for his coaches and influential family members, who have taught him, supported him and been there for him every step of the way in his tennis playing. 

“I have had many different coaches and mentors over my tennis career, but two of my biggest influences have been my dad, Alex, and my older brother Charlie,” he said. “Coach Bell has also been awesome this year.”

Many matches lie ahead for Buxton, whose progress should continue the next few years at Jordan. He’s not looking too far ahead just yet, though he does have some long-term goals. Buxton wants to serve a volunteer mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after high school. When he returns from his mission, Buxton hopes to attend college on a tennis scholarship where he can continue his career at the next level. Between now and then, he’ll refine his game and continue to develop the skills he needs to be successful.  λ