Grand Junction No. 2 doubles team proves its worth against tough competition at Western Slope Invita
Even though Grand Junction’s No. 2 doubles team of Jake Frankhouser and Greg Coleman lost, the defeat was the verification they needed.
The pair fell to Fairview’s Will Lindsay and Christopher Cartwright 6-2, 7-5 in the No. 2 doubles final in the Western Slope Invitational on Saturday at the Elliott Tennis Center at Mesa State College.
“This shows me we can compete with the top competition,” Coleman said. “It also lets the other teams know that we are here. Sometimes Western Slope teams get overlooked.”
Frankhouser and Coleman played well at times during the match, but unforced errors cost them at certain moments in the match. The pair won the first game in both sets but couldn’t capitalize off the momentum.
“Fairview had a strong team and our kids played well but just made a few mistakes we can’t afford to make,”
Grand Junction coach Carol Elliott said. “But we are right there with some of those top doubles teams so we are pretty excited about that.”
Although the pair didn’t get it done Saturday, they are in their second year of playing doubles together.
Between Coleman’s offense prowess and Frankhouser’s senior leadership, the two have heightened expectations for this season.
“They struggled a lot last year with each other,” Elliott said. “This season they have done a lot better picking each other’s games up.”
Making the team’s run to the championship match more impressive, they did it against teams from the Front Range. Friday, Frankhouser and Coleman defeated Ralston Valley 6-0, 6-0, then took down Air Academy 6-4, 6-2 and defeated Cherry Creek two 6-3, 3-6, 10-4 to make the championship.
“This was a warm-up for state,” Frankhouser said. “We know now what to look for.”
The No. 2 doubles team was Grand Junction’s top finisher in the tournament, but Elliott said she was overall happy with her team’s performance from the weekend. The Tigers finished seventh as a team with 96 points.
“I thought everyone played well. The singles are up against some high-caliber kids but the fact we go out there and compete is exciting to see,” Elliott said. “We have some things we have to correct and we got about three to four weeks to get that done and we will.”
In other championship matches, Heritage’s Zach Pendleton took home the championship at No. 1 singles defeating Cherry Creek’s Harry Jewett 6-3, 6-2. The two have played and practiced against each other so the match became taking advantage of the few mistakes that were made.
“I had played Harry before so I went in there and knew I had to play tough,” Pendleton said. “Knowing I was going to have to scramble and get my shots in. I had to focus on what I had to do and focus on me.”
Pendleton, like most other players who did well at the tournament, said the success at the Western Slope Invite will give them a boost of momentum as the season continues.
“I take away a lot of confidence,” Pendleton said. “I came to this tournament looking to show up and play pretty good. I walk away winning it and have a real confidence booster. I see how hard I have to work.”
While the Bruins lost the No. 1 singles title, Cherry Creek won the team title with a team score of 250. Taylor Sargent won at No. 2 singles and Connor Macey took home the No. 3 singles title.
“There is a lot of pressure to try and carry the tradition (of the school),” Sargent said. “Thirty-four out of 36 championships, there is pressure to keep that going so everyone does they best they can.”
Cherry Creek also won the No. 1 doubles and No. 3 doubles titles.
“We had just lost to Kent (Denver) which was a big blow so we needed this as a reassurance we could play,” Sargent said.
Fairview came in second with 183 team points, Heritage finished third at 136.