Henke leads Fruita’s final parade vs. Junction
Fruita Monument High School senior Lindsey Henke has come a long way.
The Wildcats’ No. 1 singles player is in her fourth year of playing tennis, and after four years of ups and downs, Henke is playing for her first bid to state today in the Class 5A
Region 1 tennis tournament at the Elliott Tennis Center at Mesa State College.
Henke, the overall No. 1 seed, won both of her matches Thursday, defeating Central’s Elise Beckstead 6-2, 6-2, and Durango’s Sloane Phillips 6-0, 6-0.
“It was a good day, and I think I’m playing with confidence right now,” Henke said.
Fruita Monument coach Clint Davis was impressed with what he saw from Henke on day one.
“Lindsey really took care of business, and played awesome in both of her matches,” Davis said. “Hopefully her momentum carries into (today).”
Standing between Henke and a regional title and trip to the state tournament is Grand Junction’s Charlotte Mooney. The Tigers’ No. 1 player defeated Chaparral’s Laura Peszek 6-0, 6-1, then avenged one of her losses in the regular season by defeating Mountain Vista’s Sami Lifpitz 6-2, 6-4.
“I feel like I had to redeem myself,” Mooney said. “There was a lot of pressure on that (Mountain Vista) match, but it was fun for me.”
Henke and Mooney square off at 9:30 this morning for an automatic berth in next weekend’s state tournament at the Gates Tennis Center in Denver. The loser could potentially be a part in a playback match to determine the second qualifier.
The match has all the makings for an exciting, intense competition. They split dual matches this season, Henke is seeking her first chance to play at the state tournament and Mooney is looking for her fourth trip.
Plus, Fruita Monument and Grand Junction simply don’t like to lose to each other.
“Against Junction in the finals at regionals, it’ll be tense,” Davis said. “Lindsey has done better against Charlotte every time they have played, she knows she can do it. But
Charlotte is playing great too, so it could go either way.”
Over the past two years the two have been at the No. 1 singles position, they’ve become familiar with each other’s game.
“We have played each other probably nine times,” Mooney said. “(Henke) is a great athlete, and a tough girl to play, but it will be fun.”
Grand Junction and Fruita meet in the finals at three other positions. At No. 3 singles,
Grand Junction’s Kirsten Schulte takes on Fruita’s Janine Kirtland, No. 2 doubles has
Grand Junction’s Liz Heaps and Samantha Weinberg facing Fruita’s Katie McGovern and
Grace Gaglione, and at No. 3 doubles, Grand Junction’s Emmie Madison and Alex Proietti play Fruita’s Lauren Bleil and Channing Hayward.
“We want to try and not get psyched out because it’s Junction,” Davis said. “That is the approach we always try to take, but it doesn’t always work.”
Grand Junction landed its entire team in the finals. At No. 2 singles, Jenny Jessup will take on Mountain Vista’s Megan Hyatt, No. 1 doubles has the Tigers’ Alyssa Behrens and Maddie Hayduk facing Mountain Vista’s Laura Peters and Kelsey Dexter, and at No. 4 doubles, Grand Junction’s Kylie Pond and Madison Gurley face Durango’s Cassie Cathcart/Linnea Bergfalk.
With all the first-day success Grand Junction leads the team race with 63 points. Fruita is second with 46 points.
All of today’s championship matches begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Elliott Tennis Center.
Playbacks will follow the championship round.
“We had a great first day but we have to follow it up with a great second day,” Tigers coach Carol Elliott said. “We have to stay focused and finish.”