Coming through for the team: Hegstrom helps GJ win Western Slope Invitational title
He dealt with the pressures of taking the ACT on Saturday morning, but Parker Hegstrom faced another pressure situation a few hours later that affected more than himself.
The Grand Junction High School senior played in the No. 2 singles championship match of the Western Slope Invitational at Canyon View Park, with Tigers needing his win to clinch the team title.
Hegstrom came through, defeating Taylor Williams of Denver East 6-4, 5-7, 11-9 to give the Tigers 263 points. Chatfield took second with 261, Denver East placed third (246) and Heritage was fourth (223).
“I had no idea my match decided it,” Hegstrom said. “I’m glad I didn’t. It’s a relief I won knowing it affected the team. It’s great that I won, but the fact I made the whole team win makes it exponentially better.”
Grand Junction and the Chargers each had three champions, but the Tigers had one runner-up, two third-place finishers and a fourth-place finisher compared with Chatfield’s three third-place finishers and a fifth place.
“Honestly I think we won it because we’re a team,” Grand Junction coach Carol Elliott said. “We’re so close, we’re not playing for ourselves, we’re playing for each other. I think that really carries you and that’s what won it for us.”
The Tigers outscored Chatfield at the top position, No. 1 singles, with Grand Junction sophomore Spencer Weinberg winning the championship. It was his first Western Slope Invitational title. He placed sixth in last year’s tournament at No. 1 singles.
“I had a couple close sets (Friday), so my confidence was up,” Weinberg said. “My goal was the semis then the finals. Winning it was definitely a dream come true.
“This is definitely a big stepping stone for me. I’m trying to work my game and keep improving.”
He defeated Steamboat Springs’ Keegan Burger 6-1, 6-1 in the final. Burger is playing No. 1 singles in place of Jamie Swiggart, who is out for the season with a back injury, Steamboat coach John Aragon said.
“Spencer is very mature for his age,” Elliott said. “He knows what he needs to do out there. He has all the strokes. He can mix things up. He has an all-around game, but not just that. He has the mental part. He’s fun to coach and works hard.”
Chatfield’s top singles player placed fifth.
The Tigers’ Jeffrey Hansen and Matt Prinster won the No. 4 doubles title. The duo defeated Luke Vellone and Brock Winch of Heritage 6-2, 6-2.
Grand Junction’s No. 1 doubles team of Gabe Campos and Felix Reinermann took second place, losing to Heritage in the final.
The Tigers’ No. 2 singles player, Luke Ledebur, and No. 3 doubles team of Jake Filutze and Daniel Ness placed third. The No. 2 doubles duo of Tate Hegstrom and Caleb Gartner took fourth.
Fruita Monument’s No. 1 doubles team of Ryan Hautzinger and Tanner McKenzie took fifth place to lead the Wildcats to ninth as a team. No. 3 singles player Cody Iden placed sixth and the No. 3 doubles duo of Levi Kramer and Matt Scofield took seventh.
Central’s Drake Giese placed eighth at No. 3 singles and Logan Emmert and Caleb Brown took eighth at No. 1 doubles. The Warriors placed 11th as a team.
Montrose finished 14th, led by an eighth-place finishes by the No. 2 doubles team of Zach Decker and Doug Hallenborg and the No. 3 duo of Ty Sköe and Rusty Penasa.