GJ’s Reicks, Morgan finish fourth at state tennis tourney
DENVER — It has been such a long ride for Charlie Reicks and Sam Morgan, they weren’t quite ready to let it go.
Reicks and Morgan, the senior leaders of the Grand Junction High School boys tennis team, had just watched their impressive prep careers come to a close at the Class 5A state tennis tournament, but despite the disappointment of losing a hard-fought, three-set match, the Tigers seniors sat were not eager to leave the court.
As their victorious opponents from Fairview High School celebrated, Reicks and Morgan sat forlornly on their bench, reminiscing silently about their three years playing together as Grand Junction’s top doubles team.
That run came to an end Saturday, as Reicks and Morgan lost 7-6 (7-3), 2-6, 7-5 to Fairview’s Chris Cartwright and Johnny Combs to finish fourth in the No. 1 doubles draw at the Gates Tennis Center.
“It’s definitely tough now that it’s all over,” Morgan said. “It’s been a very enjoyable three years and it was a lot of fun. We had three really good seasons, but you can’t win them all.”
Reicks and Morgan came up just short in the first and third sets of the match, squandering late leads in both to give the Fairview tandem an opportunity to rally. The Tigers led 5-3 toward the end of the first set until the Knights roared back, forcing a tiebreaker that Cartwright and Combs dominated to take the set. Reicks and Morgan never trailed in the second set and were poised to capture third place after taking a 4-2 advantage in the decisive third set. The Knights broke Morgan’s serve to tie the match at 4-4 and slowly pulled away for a 7-5, match-clinching win.
“We just really couldn’t get the breaks we needed like we did in the second set,” Reicks said. “We kind of let them hang around in the third set, and they took advantage.”
It was only the third loss of the season for Reicks and Morgan, who lost during the semifinals Friday to a Cherry Creek team of Brian Maierhofer and Doug Kierstead that also defeated the Tigers earlier this year at the Western Slope Invitational.
Grand Junction coach Carol Elliott had nothing but high praise for Reicks and Morgan, who provided steady leadership to a squad that was largely inexperienced.
With the season over, each athlete noted they already have their focus tuned to their other sports of choice — Morgan will soon begin practicing with the Tigers’ basketball team and Reicks is looking forward to the spring as part of Grand Junction’s baseball team.
“They had a great tournament and a great season,” Elliott said. “These two were our leaders all season long, especially for our doubles teams, to see the type of players they are, how they get along on the court, how they work together.
“We used them all season as being a great example. Hopefully our young kids will understand the importance of working together as a doubles team and staying up on each other.
“These two never got down and always picked each other up.”