Double the fun: Prinster, Pond epitomize Tigers’ success at doubles
Success in doubles has a lot to do with finding two players who mesh, even if they have different demeanors.
Grand Junction High School tennis coach Carol Elliott thinks she has that with the No. 2 doubles team of Margeaux Prinster and Kylie Pond.
In Thursday’s first day of the Class 5A Region 1 tennis tournament at Canyon View Park, Pond and Prinster fought their way into the championship match.
The Tigers first defeated Overland’s Janelle Haynes and Natallia Prapisnova 6-0, 6-1, then knocked off Durango’s Kelsey Smith and Gina Gates 6-0, 6-2.
“They’ve had a great season and have gotten better and better,” Elliott said. “They are a positive group of young ladies.”
Prinster and Pond are an interesting pair. They have different backgrounds and each brings something unique to the court.
Prinster, a senior, played her first year of high school tennis last year, serving as an alternate to the varsity team. Even when she didn’t play, she usually provided some of the loudest encouragement from the sidelines.
Pond, a sophomore, finished fourth in last season’s state tournament at No. 4 doubles.
This season, Pond’s on-court experience and Prinster’s enthusiastic approach has made them tough to beat. They went 9-1 in duals.
“I was excited to play with Kylie, and I knew it was going to be a big step up from alternate,” Prinster said. “But Kylie had that experience on the court and that helped me adjust early on.”
Prinster has been a leader on the court with her positive approach to the game.
“I was excited to play with Margeaux because we all know how she’s so happy and bubbly,” Pond said. “That’s been really fun, and allowed us to play well together.”
The two can clinch a berth in the state tournament at 10 this morning by defeating Arapahoe’s Kelly Ervine and Rachel Severson in the championship match.
Pond was in this position last year and said it’s important to play confident at this point of the season.
“We have to be focused and be confident,” Pond said. “We can’t second-guess ourselves, and we have to be really aggressive on the court.”
Their first-day execution reflected a Grand Junction team that came in prepared to win. The Tigers made the finals in six brackets, including Alex Proietti at No. 2 singles and Samantha Weinberg at No. 3 singles.
The Tigers were in second place in the team scores with 45. Arapahoe is in first with 53.
“We had a really good day,” Elliott said. “Our goal was to get stronger and stronger, so tomorrow we are going to have an even better day.”
The only spot Grand Junction didn’t make the finals was at No. 1 singles, where Maddie Hayduk lost to Fruita Monument’s Janine Kirtland 6-2, 6-2 in the first round. Kirtland defeated Central’s Aimee Basinski 7-5, 6-4 in the semifinals. Kirtland faces Arapahoe’s Sarah Ray in the final.
“You have to respect your opponent and I’ve heard she’s good,” Kirtland said. “But I’m good too, so it should be a good match.”
Kirtland led the way for the Wildcats who had an overall disappointing day.
Fruita Monument, which won the Southwestern League title, had three of its four doubles teams lose three-set matches in the semifinals.
“When you go three sets it can go either way, and we’ve been coming out on top in most of those situations,” Fruita Monument coach Clint Davis said. “We didn’t today, but there is still tennis to be played, and we still have the goal to get everyone to state.”
The other Fruita Monument team to make it the finals is the No. 3 doubles team of McKenzie Kimball and Emily McGovern, who defeated Central’s Jenna Purdy and Brittany Audino 6-3, 6-4 in the semis.
“Central has been tough both times we’ve played them at No. 3 doubles,” Davis said. “But they played well and we are happy they are moving on.”
Kimball and McGovern face Grand Junction’s Nicky Arja and Emma Holt in the finals.
All of today’s finals at Canyon View Park will begin at 10 a.m.
CLASS 4A REGION 8
Montrose’s No. 1 singles Jessica Vickers took down Hadley Hanson of Hotchkiss and Glenwood Springs’ Courtney Bender 6-0, 6-2 to work her way into today’s finals at Mesa State College. Vickers will match up with Vail Mountain’s Shannon McNamara.
At No. 2 singles, Steamboat Springs’ Kylee Swiggart won two 6-0, 6-0 matches on her way to the championship match. Swiggart faces Annika Trapness of Vail Mountain.
In doubles, Kaitlynn Wieland and Marcia Wanner of Montrose will face Alli Lowrie and Ali Diehl of Steamboat Springs in the No. 2 doubles finals.
All of finals begin at Mesa State College at 9 a.m.