Grand Junction doubles team ready to play at No. 1
When Grand Junction High School tennis player Sam Morgan was paired with Charlie Reicks two years ago, he was excited for the potential.
Cut to present day, where potential has turned into expectations.
Morgan and Reicks enter their third year of playing doubles together, their second at No. 1 doubles.
The two multi-sport athletes meshed well and finished fourth in the state tournament at No. 3 doubles three years ago.
“I was pretty happy because I thought we would be a good team,” Morgan said. “We are both athletes, and I thought we would be good together.”
The two were good enough to make the jump to No. 1 doubles in 2008, where they again made it to state, but fell short of placing. Morgan and Reicks lost in the quarterfinals to Cherry Creek, then fell to Arapahoe in playbacks.
After ending their state tournament run earlier than they had originally planned, Morgan and Reicks decided to make tennis more of a focus in the summer before their senior season.
“I’m still upset about (state),” Reicks said. “But it motivated us to play harder, and we both hit almost every day during the summer wanting to do better than we did last year.”
Finding time to hit wasn’t always easy, because both players had time committed to other sports at Grand Junction. Reicks plays baseball and Morgan is on the basketball team.
Regardless, both put in enough court time to feel like their game has improved from last season.
Grand Junction coach Carol Elliott said she noticed improvement, and said it’s shown early in the season.
“They both played a lot more tennis in the summer than they ever have,” Elliott said. “They’re a team we want a lot from.”
Reicks and Morgan said they expect a lot of themselves as well. Heading into this weekend’s Western Slope Invitational, the duo has played well, winning all of their dual matches up to this point.
“Compared to the start of the season last year, I feel like both of us can hit shots we wouldn’t have been able to hit last year,” Morgan said.
The upgrade in play on the court can be traced to a higher level of confidence. Both Reicks and Morgan not only have more confidence in themselves as tennis players, but also as a doubles team.
“More than anything they are learning they have to be ready for every match,” Elliott said. “They went into state last year, let a few things bother them and didn’t handle adversity well. But now I think they know they have to be able to mix things up and if things aren’t going well to try something different to make things happen.”
Morgan and Reicks will have the opportunity this weekend to find out just how much they have improved.
Their first match is this morning against Heritage. If they can get past that one, the road to Saturday’s title match is filled with top tennis programs in the state.
Cherry Creek, Chatfield, Greeley West, Air Academy, Fairview and Littleton are all Front Range teams that have made the trip to play in the
Fruita Monument, Central, Aspen, Durango, Montrose and Steamboat Springs are representing the Western Slope.
“It’s a huge field, and a great opportunity for kids,” Elliott said. “They get to play a lot of matches and will get to see different abilities.”