Fun for all

Fortson siblings get best of Mantlo father-daughter team at McDonald's Classic

Mickey, left, and Morgen Mantlo congratulate Tucker and Lyric Fortson after the Fortsons’ 6-4, 7-5 victory at the McDonald’s Family Summer Tennis Classic at the Elliott Tennis Center.

Dad and daughter held their own.

Mickey and Morgen Mantlo hung right with the brother-sister team of Tucker and Lyric Fortson at the McDonald’s Family Summer Tennis Classic on Friday.

With Mickey, looking spry and agile, darting around the court popping well-placed drop shots, and his daughter, Morgen, never out of position, drilling solid ground strokes and crisp volleys at the Elliott Tennis Center, the mixed-doubles match was tight throughout.

There was a little frustration on both sides.

“Mine!” Morgen shouted, prepared to return a lob in the deep middle of the court. But suddenly Dad’s racquet popped up, and he missed an overhead shot.

“Why did I do that?” he asked sheepishly. Morgen smiled and they slapped hands.

On the other side, Lyric wasn’t pleased with her play. But big brother was trying to cool the competitive fire of the Fruita Monument High School player.

“I’m difficult,” she said with a bit of a smile after the Fortsons pulled out a 6-4, 7-5 win.

Tucker smiled and nodded in agreement.

“I just told her to settle down. State isn’t on the line, just have fun,” Tucker said.

This was the first time the siblings have ever played together in a tournament.

“It went pretty well,” Tucker said

“We’ll get better. We kind of have a strategy now,” Lyric said.

For Lyric, who played No. 1 singles for Fruita as a sophomore this spring, doubles was doubly frustrating.

“I’ve never played doubles. Never. These shots that should have been out were coming back at me,” she said with a laugh, talking about the wider court for doubles.

Tucker is used to the doubles scene, having played the team game for all of his years in high school. He’s now a freshman at Colorado State University, which doesn’t have a tennis team.

On the other side, Morgen played No. 1 doubles at Grand Junction this year, so she’s the expert.

Morgen said it was a little frustrating when Dad darted and dashed around the court, sometimes venturing into her domain.

“It’s fun,” she said about playing with her dad. “We have played together a few times.”

Seven times, Dad says. At 40, Mickey Mantlo said he took up the sport when his daughter started playing as a freshman three years ago.

“I just get better by watching her,” he said.

The Fortsons admitted the Mantlo team had them worried.

“They played well,” Tucker said.

When Lyric pounced on a short shot and whipped a forehand winner to seal the match, she had a mild celebration with her brother.

“He’s my form of Xanax,” she said with a smile. “He keeps me calm and always has.”

Then she made a promise to her big brother.

“I’ll keep my temper under control, I promise,” she said.

Tucker said he will hold her to that.

Patricio Negrete made the trip all the way from Tucson just to play in the tournament with his 15-year-old nephew Bryce Atchison, who is from Palisade and plays on the Central tennis team.

“It’s nice to play with my nephew. It’s a lot of fun,” Negrete, 57, said after the duo defeated their first-round opponent 6-1. 6-0.

There are nearly 30 teams for the event playing in four divisions: Father-son (with one uncle-nephew team), mixed doubles, mixed doubles U12 (one team member must be under 12 years old) and mother-daughter (some sister-sister teams).

The tournament, which also serves as a fundraiser for the three area high school tennis teams, continues today and Sunday.


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