GJ’s Proietti shows she can win at No. 2 singles with Western Slope Invite title

Grand Junction’s No. 3 doubles team of Emma Holt, left, and Stephanie Skinner return a shot Saturday during their 5-7, 6-1, 10-4 semifinal loss to Denver East at the Western Slope Invitational.

Alex Proietti hoped she could be competitive in her second year at No. 2 singles for the Grand Junction High School girls tennis team.

The senior proved Saturday she can win, capturing the Western Slope Invitational title. She defeated Palmer Ridge’s Shannon Babcock 6-3, 6-1 in the final at the Elliott Tennis Center at Mesa State College.

“It was really awesome,” Proietti said. “That’s the best finish I’ve had in this tournament. It was fun playing all kinds of opponents.”

Proietti led the Tigers to a third-place team finish with 168 points. The Tigers’ Nos. 2, 3 and 4 doubles teams placed third. Anna McGinnis (No. 3 singles) and the No. 1 doubles team were fourth.

“We’ve got to be ready for the second day and some of us were not,” Grand Junction coach Carol Elliott said. “The great thing is the amount of matches we played. We have to learn how to compete day after day.”

Steamboat Springs took the team title with 184 points. The Sailors won the No. 3 singles and No. 4 doubles titles.

Chatfield was second with 171 points. The Chargers won the No. 1 and 2 doubles titles.

Fruita Monument placed fourth with 146 points. The Wildcats’ No. 4 doubles team took fourth place and the Nos. 1 and 3 teams took fifth.

“We won enough matches to gain some confidence,” Fruita coach Clint Davis said. “We exposed enough weaknesses to give us something to work on as well. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”

Getting to the championship final, though, might have been Proietti’s biggest win.

She hung on to defeat Chatfield’s Rachel Frisz 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), (10-8) in the semifinal earlier Saturday. Frisz knocked out Fruita Monument’s Grace Gaglione in the quarterfinals Friday.

“(The semifinal) was a great match,” Proietti said. “She’s a good player. It was tough to play her because she was super consistent.”

Durango’s Eva Lou Edwards had little trouble winning the No. 1 singles title. The freshman from Bayfield lost one game in four matches and defeated Denver East freshman Bria Smith 6-0, 6-0 in the championship match.

“I just played hard, I guess,” Edwards said. “I played a lot of good girls and the games were all close.”

Edwards was simply enjoying playing for a school and a team she didn’t know until a few weeks ago.

“It was really cool to play with a team,” Edwards said. “They were really supporting me. They helped me a lot.

“It’s a new circle of friends. They’ve been really nice. I like how it’s working out so far.”

Grand Junction’s No. 2 doubles team of Jillian Arja and Nicki Arja won 6-1, 6-2 in the third-place match. The No. 3 duo of Emma Holt and Stephanie Skinner won 6-2, 6-2 for third.

Grand Junction’s No. 4 doubles team of Anne Hughes and Stephanie Wahlers defeated Fruita Monument’s duo of Bronte Hayward and McKenna Griffiths 8-5 in the third-place match.


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