GJ tennis coach sees growth at state tourney

DENVER — The Grand Junction High School girls tennis team is a squad in transition. So although it was a less than ceremonious performance at the Class 5A girls tennis state tournament, it nonetheless was one that coach Carol Elliott hopes will pay dividends down the road.

The Tigers made an early exit from a weather-scuttled tournament Friday, losing a pair of playback matches before making the return trip to the Western Slope. The finals, normally played on Saturday, instead were played Friday in order to beat the inclement weather forecast to roll into Denver.

While the plan worked for the six title matches, it was not a complete success. Rain delayed the proceedings in the late afternoon, moving playback matches, including several that would help determine the team champion, to an indoor facility in Littleton. Cherry Creek held off Fairview for the title with 83 points.

“We do have a few young kids that will be with us next year that got to experience this,” Elliott said. “We’re in transition for the next couple years. To bring some young kids over, they got a lot of experience and maybe a little more confidence. They just have to keep playing.”

After having all three singles players lose in the first round Thursday, in addition to a second-round loss by the Tigers’ No. 3 doubles team, Grand Junction received two playback matches Friday.

In the No. 2 singles bracket, senior Nicky Arja lost her playback 6-3, 6-3 to Katie Kirby of Mountain Range. The Tigers’ No. 3 doubles team of Natalie Sufka and Carsyn Fritzler, both juniors, took a 6-4, 6-4 loss in their playback match against Heritage.

“A lot of it has to do with just going out there and being able to compete,” Elliott said. “If they go out and play more in the summer, and get experience like this, we’re going to be a lot tougher.

“We just have to get our kids to play more and get them to understand playing tough kids like this in tournaments like this makes you stronger.”

Central’s Aimee Basinski had an interesting day, as she was awarded a victory in the opening round of the playback bracket at No. 1 singles after her opponent, Boulder’s Miquela Newhart, was a no-show. Basinski lost 6-1, 6-1 to Fairview’s Monica Li in the second round of playbacks.

Central’s Katie Murphy won a playback match, rallying for a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 win against Littleton’s Katie Pearson, then dropped a 6-2, 6-3 decision to Sierra Crumbaker of Poudre.


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