Dominant GJ

Tigers sweep through regional tennis tournamentNew Cal 2 column format

Grand Junction’s Spencer Weinberg returns a shot Friday in his 6-1, 6-2 victory over Dakota Ridge’s Adam Rivera in the Class 5A Region 5 tournament. Weinberg is headed to state for the fourth consecutive year.



Make it four in a row for Spencer Weinberg.

The Grand Junction High School senior and two-time state finalist won his fourth regional title Friday at Colorado Mesa University’s Elliott Tennis Center.

And the Tigers won a regional championship as well, tallying 84 points and winning all seven flights ­to qualify 11 players for state.

Fruita Monument was second with 42 points and will be represented in four flights at the Oct. 11–13 CHSAA Class 5A state tournament at Denver’s Gates Tennis Center.

Heritage placed third Friday with 38 points, and Central was fourth, finishing with 18 points.

But the day was about Grand Junction dominance.

“From the beginning of the season to the end, we want everybody to improve,” Tigers coach Carol Elliott said.

The Tigers’ three singles players all overcame something fairly significant to qualify.

Weinberg did not play tennis for sixth months earlier this year as he rehabilitated from tendinitis in his right wrist. He defeated Dakota Ridge’s Adam Rivera, 6-1, 6-2, in the regional final.

“It feels good as a senior, going out with a bang,” Weinberg said. “I helped the team out and played great.”

At No. 2 singles, freshman Jacob Lapkin was gaining his first experience playing team tennis. And Elliott said he improved throughout the year, ending with his 6-3, 6-4 win over Fruita Monument sophomore Matt Harris in the final.

“He’s real good,” said Harris, who qualified for state for the first time. “He’s becoming more consistent, and he was hitting more winners. He’s been coming to the net more, but not too much.”

At No. 3 singles, the Tigers’ Caleb Gartner was making a jump from No. 1 doubles. He defeated Heritage’s Ben Blea 6-2, 7-5 in the final

“Caleb’s never played singles before,” Elliott said. “He’s been getting comfortable on the court by himself and learning how to play singles points.”

And the singles players’ success, Elliott said, trickled down to the doubles teams, starting with No. 1 doubles players Tate Hegstrom and Jacob Filutze.

Hegstrom qualified for state last season at No. 3 singles; Filutze played No. 1 doubles with Gartner.

“We’re going for the gold, and we’re ready, mentally and physically,” Hegstrom said.

The Tigers’ other doubles state-qualifying teams are Aaron Gossage and Max Proietti at No. 2, Matthew Prinster and Brian List at No. 3, and Matthew Ness and Charlie Ruckman at No. 4.

In addition to Harris, Fruita qualified doubles teams at No. 1 (Kelson Reimer and Taylor Scofield), No. 3 (Matt Bishop and Colton Reimer) and No. 4 (James Stagg and Sam Graf).


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