Grand Junction’s Gurley, Pond team up again for another run at state doubles title
Madison Gurley had aspirations of playing singles, but soon realized doubles was a better option.
The Grand Junction High School senior is playing doubles with Kylie Pond again, hoping to place in the Class 5A state championships for a third time. The tournament begins at 9 a.m. Thursday at Gates Tennis Center in Denver.
“I was really hoping to play singles, but Coach (Carol Elliott) talked to me about it,” Gurley said. “I love doubles and I talked to Kylie and she wanted to be partners again. She wanted to work hard and go to state.
“I’m glad I made that decision.”
Gurley and Pond were partners two years ago and placed fourth at state.
“We did pretty good when we played together,” Pond said. “The year we didn’t play together we grew so much. We both have qualities that complement each other. It’s a good match, I think.”
Last season, Gurley played No. 1 doubles with Emma Madison and placed fourth. Pond played No. 2 doubles with Margeuax Prinster and placed third.
“It helps when you have experienced players at the top positions,” Elliott said. “We spent a lot of time this season making sure the kids talk to each other and know what they need to do to pick each other up.
“They talk a lot and complement each other very well. They’re not the strongest or tallest people out there, but they play smart and execute the points.”
Gurley and Pond (17-2) will have a tough road to travel to win a state title. The returning No. 1 doubles, No. 2 doubles and No. 4 doubles state champs are in the draw.
The No. 1 singles draw, though, is an open competition with only one senior, the 2010 No. 3 singles state champion and No. 3 singles state runner-up.
Central’s No. 1 singles player, Aimee Basinski (15-3), is only a sophomore and qualified for the first time along with teammate Katie Murphy at No. 3 singles.
Gurley and Pond are two of seven Grand Junction players with state tournament experience. Alex Proietti (16-3) is back at No. 2 singles. Anna McGinnis (16-3) is playing No. 3 singles after qualifying at No. 4 doubles last season. No. 2 doubles Nicky Arja and Emma Holt have state experience as does Stephanie Skinner at No. 3 doubles.
Eight of Fruita Monument’s nine qualifiers are making their first trip. No. 1 doubles player McKenzie Kimball qualified at No. 1 doubles last year.
Steamboat Springs qualified its entire team for the state tournament that begins Thursday in Pueblo.
The Sailors placed seventh at state last year and have two returning state placers in Lauren Siegal and Rachel Grubbs, who placed fourth at No. 3 doubles.
Siegal is playing No. 1 doubles and Grubbs is playing No. 3 doubles.
Durango qualified two singles players and three doubles teams in its first year in 4A. Freshman No. 1 singles player Eva Lou Edwards (18-0) will put her undefeated record on the line.
Glenwood Springs junior Brandi Vinger will get her first state tournament experience at No. 3 singles.
The Montezuma-Cortez No. 1 doubles team also qualified.