GJ preps for regional tennis
The Grand Junction High School boys tennis team had already clinched yet another Southwestern League title, but it prepared for next week’s CHSAA 5A regional tournament in a 7-0 victory Thursday against Central High School.
The Tigers locked up the regional’s No. 1 seed earlier this week, and they secured at least their eighth straight league title. Grand Junction coach Carol Elliott doesn’t have records available before 2004.
Regional matchups will be released today.
The prolonged success is a community effort, and it stems from a tradition of achievement at Grand Junction, Elliott said.
“It takes a little luck to have this much success,” she said. “We have great kids and a great community with a lot of people playing tennis all through the year.
“All of these guys play during the summer, and there are a lot of great programs in the community that encourage kids to go out and improve on their skills, and you see that impacting the team year after year.”
Junction has talent in every position, and the Tigers have won all seven matches in eight of 11 duals this season. Elliott expects to make noise during the regionals in all three singles and all four doubles flights.
“We’ve had a great season, and we’ve really built up to a situation where we can be successful at regionals,” she said. “We should do well from (number) one singles all the way down to (number) four doubles.
“That is the expectation here, to go and win regionals, and I’m not going to pick on one person thinking that they’re going to do well.
“The expectation is that we’re all going to go out there and perform well and make it to state.”
Grand Junction’s season has not been without obstacles. Elliott said the Tigers had to develop intensity and focus over the course of the season.
“We want our kids to get out there and be intense and play every point as though it’s a match point and be out there playing hard all the time,” she said. “It’s one of those things where good teams have to have intensity all the time, whether it’s practice or a game.”
At No. 3 singles, Junction’s Caleb Gartner and Central’s Lael Nordstrom offered a preview of two players who could go deep into the regional tournament.
Nordstrom, younger brother of Central’s No. 1 singles player, Jesi Nordstrom, could make a deep push if his matchup is favorable, Central coach David Elliott said. Gartner won Thursday’s match 6-1, 6-2.
Courtney Wells had 13 kills as Palisade defeated Summit 25-19, 23-25, 25-17, 25-19 in a nonleague match. Savannah Hanson added 12 kills for the Bulldogs and Tahverle Hodges and Courtney Clark each had 13 digs.
Joe LyBarger scored five goals as Battle Mountain beat Palisade 10-0 in a Class 4A Western Slope League game at Long Park.
Battle Mountain (9-0) led 6-0 at halftime.
“For the last 10 years they’ve been a great program,” said Palisade coach Drake Jandreau, whose squad dropped to 5-3. “They just keep building, getting stronger and stronger.”
Grand Junction scored five runs in the top of the seventh inning to defeat Montrose 9-6 in a Southwestern League game.
Audrey Collins hit a grand slam in the bottom of the fourth to give Montrose a 6-2 lead. The Tigers responded with two runs in the fifth, then batted around in the seventh inning.
Marisa Arrieta led Grand Junction, going 3 for 4 with a double and Bri Baldwin went 2 for 4 with a double.
Fruita Monument 6, Central 3: Kenzi DeCrow hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the third inning to give Fruita Monument a 4-1 lead. The Wildcats added two runs in the sixth on Hannah Mahnke’s two-out, two-run double.
Rachel Skillicorn collected three hits for Fruita.