Happy return

GJ's Hegstrom earns doubles victory
in first match back after appendectomy

Grand Junction’s Caleb Gartner returns a shot Tuesday during his 6-1, 6-0 victory over Central’s Lael Nordstrom at No. 3 singles. The Tiger swept the dual to improve to 2-0.

Watching Tate Hegstrom shuffle his feet and return winners Tuesday at Grand Junction, you wouldn’t know he’d undergone surgery two weeks ago.

It’s the beauty of youth, healing and laparoscopic surgery.

Hegstrom has recovered from his Aug. 20 appendectomy and, with partner Max Proietti, teamed up to defeat Central’s Josh May and Camren Thomas, 6-0, 6-2.

Grand Junction won the match 7-0 over Central.

The Tigers are 2-0 in duals heading into a 10 a.m. Thursday home match against Aspen and the Western Slope Open on Friday and Saturday at the Elliott Tennis Center at Colorado Mesa University.

Hegstrom also contracted salmonella poisoning, which doctors say may have inflamed his appendix. At first, Hegstrom thought the salmonella may have come from hiking a river in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, en route to a waterfall.

The hike was two weeks before school.

But Hegstrom does not necessarily relate the salmonella poisoning to the hike.

Point is, he’s back and ready to help the Tigers.

“We caught (the appendicitis) early,” Hegstrom said, “so that helped. I feel 100 percent ready. I feel amazing.”

Grand Junction coach Carol Elliott said Hegstrom waited long enough to play.

“It was smart he didn’t push it,” Elliott said. “He didn’t come back too soon.”

Grand Junction No. 1 singles player Spencer Weinberg took care of Jesi Nordstrom, 6-0, 6-0.

At No. 2 singles, Tigers standout freshman Jacob Lapkin downed Drake Giese, 6-2, 6-1.

And although Central’s Lael Nordstrom couldn’t overcome Caleb Gartner in a 6-1, 6-2 setback at No. 3 singles, he made some big strides, according to Central coach David Elliott.

“He actually implemented something we’ve been practicing,” David Elliott said. “And it’s his first time playing singles, and he adjusted very well.”

Elliott said Nordstrom was able to not let the pressure of a match get to him “as opposed to playing survival mode,” Elliott said.


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