Jack and Julianna

Hall defeats Campos in first year of 10-and-under boys and girls combo play

Nine-year-old Jack Hall lofts the ball back over the net Wednesday morning during his match against Julianna Campos, 8, in their 10-and-under boys/girls singles match at the Elliott Tennis Center during the Taco Bell Western Slope Open. This is the first year the age division has combined the boys and girls with the result being an eight-player bracket.

After 52 years of tennis at the Taco Bell Western Slope Open, ‘firsts’ are hard to come by.

But that’s not to say it never occurs.

This year is the first time the singles 10-and-under age division has combined the boys and girls players. The result is an eight-player bracket.

“We’ve always had a 10-and-under and it’s been two players here or two there,” Taco Bell tournament director Lena Elliott said. “In the Elam Junior (Tournament), Ronald (Elliott) put the young boys and girls together and it worked really well, so he asked if they wanted to do it for Taco Bell and they were all excited.”

Wednesday at the Elliott Tennis Center at Mesa State College, the boys/girls 10-and-under bracket narrowed down to the final two with 9-year-old Jack Hall of Chico, Calif., advancing to face his cousin, Garrett Franco, for the title at 8 a.m. on Friday.

Franco defeated Hall’s younger brother Ben to advance to the championship match.

Jack Hall defeated Julianna Campos 6-1, 6-2 to make the final. Hall, who has family in Grand Junction, plays in a variety of tournaments near his northern California home.

Despite that, this was the first time Hall had ever played a girl.

“He didn’t say anything but his body language on the court was very gentle,”  Hall’s mother, Katrina, said. “I could tell the apprehension in his eyes, but they played a great match, and she’s a little firecracker.”

The two young players put together a very competitive match, with the 8-year-old Campos forcing Hall to earn every one of his points.

“I really liked (the match) because I hit a lot of good shots,” Campos said.

Campos is playing in her first Taco Bell tournament after attending the event for most of her life. Campos said she was excited to see her name on the bracket.

“I’m really excited (for Taco Bell),” Campos said. “I try to win, but I try to have fun out there, too.”

Campos moves into the consolation bracket where she’ll face Melissa Lamette, the other girl in the 10-and-under group.

Lamette advanced Wednesday, defeating Trigg Hayward 6-3, 6-4.

“This gives them the experience to move from kids to young adults,” Katrina Hall said. “All the kids have a lot of sportsmanship, and they enjoy the sport win or lose.”

A morning rainstorm delayed Wednesday’s action by three hours. Traditionally, weather doesn’t play much of a factor during the week of Taco Bell, but this year’s rain caused delays throughout Wednesday’s play.

“We’ve had rain, but I never worry about rain because I know we have plenty of courts to get everyone on,” Lena Elliott said. “If I stay calm, everyone else stays calm.”

Highlights from the rain-soaked Wednesday included Jessica May Vickers advancing into the semifinals of the girls 18 with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Alison Lynch of Colorado Springs. Vickers, from Montrose, won her first two matches 6-0, 6-0.

In the girls 14, Megan Norris of Palm Beach, Fla., defeated Alyssa Arellano of Montrose 6-0, 6-0.

On the boys side, Jessi Nordstrom of Grand Junction defeated Matt Ness 6-1, 6-1. Nordstrom faces Vinny Castellini today at 10 a.m.

In the boys 14, Daniel Ness advanced to the semifinals with a 2-6, 6-3, 10-8 win over Dylan Behr.


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