Fruita’s extra No. 4 doubles makes finals
Alyssa Bohrer and Jillian Caldwell entered the Western Slope Open as Fruita Monument’s sixth doubles team.
Keep in mind girls tennis has four flights of doubles, then do the math. The duo didn’t rate a varsity start in a normal meet.
But, when Air Academy didn’t make the trip to Grand Junction to play in the tourney, other teams filled the open spot in each flight with reserves, and Fruita Monument provided an extra doubles team at No. 3 and No. 4 doubles.
So much for Bohrer and Caldwell being the Wildcats’ second-best No. 4 doubles team. When the smoke cleared Saturday, they were the second best No. 4 doubles team in the tournament.
Bohrer and Caldwell rallied to beat Grand Junction’s Sara Perez and Taylor Rivas 1-6, 6-2, 10-7 in the semifinals, then bowed 6-4, 6-2 to Ralston Valley’s Adrienne Horowitz and Hayley Weidemann in the championship match.
Bohrer and Caldwell, both juniors, played together for the first time in doubles, a pairing made by Fruita coach Clint Davis on a bit of a whim.
“He’s like, ‘Well, let’s try you,’ ” Bohrer said. “We’ve never been partners before, and we ended up doing well together.”
Caldwell added, “I don’t think we have a specific thing that clicked. ... It was just both of our skills together.”
The duo won its first three matches, then opened the final with a 3-0 lead before Ralston Valley took over to win six of the final seven games in the first set.
Winning the title would have been nice, but Bohrer said, “I’m just happy we took second. ... We didn’t expect to be there. Our coach didn’t expect us to be there.”
Davis chuckled before talking about what the two accomplished, then said, “I’m not surprised at all that they played the way they played. Our spots seven through 12, or seven through 13, are really, really even. They played how I know they can. Hopefully they can build on it.”
Asked if that means the two will remain a doubles team going forward, Davis was noncommittal. He’s been switching doubles combinations like a mad scientist throughout the first few duals of the season.
“We’re running out of time to keep mixing things up,” he said. “But never say never.”
And more specifically about Bohrer and Caldwell, he said, “I’m sure with the confidence they gained, they’re going to want to challenge for 4 doubles.”
The Western Slope Open as a whole was a good experience for all of the Wildcats’ doubles teams, Davis said.
“They all played well, all improved, and we’re looking pretty good doubles-wise,” he said.
District 51 schools had one other finalist: Central senior Hannah Keeling, who finished second at No. 3 singles.
Keeling turned back Fruita’s Shannon Hautzinger 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals, then bowed 6-1, 6-3 to Pueblo West’s Caitie McCarthy in the final.
Grand Junction’s best finish in the tournament was third place by No. 1 doubles pair Jordin Early and McKenna Brooks. The duo lost 6-1, 6-2 against the eventual champion from Heritage, then defeated Fruita’s Sarah Cesark and Lyric Fortson 8-3 for third.
The Tigers tallied the most team points of the local schools in the 15-team field, finishing seventh with 118 points, three points out of fifth place.
“We did all right,” Grand Junction coach Carol Elliott said. “Nothing spectacular, but we’re getting better.”
Ralston Valley won the tournament with 186 points on the strength of championships in three of the doubles flights. Denver East was second with 175 points, claiming titles at Nos. 1 and 2 singles and No. 2 doubles. Chatfield was third with 170 points.
Fruita finished ninth with 100 points and Central was 12th with 54.
The Wildcats reached the semifinals in three flights, and Davis said that’s the most positions from Fruita to reach the semifinals of the Western Slope Open in his 11 years as coach.
Central didn’t have high places to celebrate beyond Keeling’s showing, but Warriors coach Kathy Elliott said Day 2 of the tourney provided some encouraging signs, especially from her No. 1 doubles team of Ellie Driscoll and Leandra Medrano.
“No. 1 doubles was so good for us today,” Kathy Elliott said. “They can play with some people.”