Fruita Monument putting emphasis on regional tourney
The Fruita Monument boys tennis team has one eye on its next opponent and another on a date down the road.
When the Wildcats open the boys tennis season today against Montrose, they will be the first Grand Valley team to start building toward the regional tournament in early October.
“We want to learn and get better,” Fruita Monument coach Clint Davis said. “The regional tournament is all that matters. It’s a process throughout the whole season preparing for that weekend, because that’s what it’s all about.”
Davis is in his first year as the boys head coach, but has been the girls coach for the past six seasons along with serving as the boys junior varsity coach during that time.
Davis is familiar with the players, and has high expectations for his first season.
“We want to get as many to state as we can,” Davis said. “Being my first year, I’m not quite as knowledgeable about the opposition. We know Junction will be great and beyond that it’s just a big question mark.”
Davis does get the benefit of having returning players from last year’s varsity team, including No. 1 singles player Tristan Beck and Antonio Pestello at No. 2 singles.
“The boys got right back to work,” Davis said. “They challenge each other to play better every day.”
Davis said the Wildcats played during the summer to make themselves better players, including Pestello. The junior said he repaired the weakest part of his game leading up to this season.
“My backhand was awful last year, and now it’s a lot better,” Pestello said. “I have improved a lot in my serve and forehand, too.”
Pestello finished last season 5-5 in the regular season, but fell short at the regional tournament. Entering his second year playing singles, Pestello said he has a lot more confidence about his play on the court.
“I feel pretty confident at any singles spot,” Pestello said. “Honestly I think I would do my best at the No. 3 singles spot, and that’s where I would have my best chance to go to state.”
If Pestello is to make it to the state tournament, it will probably have a lot to do with his serve. Pestello said it’s the best part of his game.
“I really like my serve,” Pestello said. “I have a good second serve, I rarely double-fault, and my first serve is really improved where it has a lot more on it.”
After Montrose, Fruita Monument plays Central on Sept. 1. The Warriors begin their season Saturday morning against Montrose. Grand Junction’s first match is Thursday at Montrose.