Ledebur wins fifth Community Hospital junior tournament title
Luke Ledebur didn’t start playing tennis tournaments until he was 12. Now, the Grand Junction 18-year-old is a five-time Community Hospital junior tournament singles champion.
“I didn’t think I’d win four more after winning my first,” he said of the tourney that previously was sponsored by Elam Construction and McDonald’s. “It’s cool having won five in a row. I don’t think I’ve ever won five in a row of anything else.”
Ledebur won his third consecutive boys 18-under singles title Sunday, defeating Drake Giese 6-2, 6-1 in the final at Colorado Mesa University’s Elliott Tennis Center.
“I felt like I played good,” Ledebur said. “I’m trying to get back, play a little more and get in shape for the college season. I thought playing in this tournament is a good start to get back into it.”
Ledebur started his title streak in 2008 with the 14-under title. He won the 16-under in 2009 before moving up to the 18-under as a 16-year-old.
The toughest of the five titles, he said, was “the fifth one because I was able to keep it going. It can be (tough to defend). Anytime I’m the top seed there’s a little bit more pressure.”
The Grand Junction High School graduate and state place-winner accomplished the feat in the midst of meeting the challenge of autism. He is going to play at CMU in the fall.
“I had to have been playing pretty good (to beat Ledebur),” Giese said. “Luke’s a solid player. He really has no downfall. His ground strokes are so well-placed.”
Giese, 16, turned around and won the boys 16-under singles title defeating Max Proietti 6-3, 6-4 shortly after the 18s final.
“This one’s nice because it’s people I know,” said Giese of the 16s. “I didn’t win it last year, so I really wanted to win it.”
Giese took second place in the 16-under singles draw last year, losing to Caleb Gartner.
“This summer I decided I’m going all in to tennis,” Giese said. “Baseball and basketball weren’t as much fun. I love tennis, and it works all year round for me. It’s the sport I have the most fun and have the best coaches.”
Giese will be a junior at Palisade High School. He played No. 2 singles for Central last fall because Palisade doesn’t have a boys tennis program.
Although he hopes to challenge for the No. 1 singles spot this fall, Giese’s long-term goal is to get a scholarship to play college tennis one day.
He’s playing several tournaments this summer, including another one this week in Boulder. He played a tournament a week ago in Salt Lake City.
“I wanted to play the best I can,” Giese said. “My goals were to make it this far, and I did. I wanted to make it to all the finals and win the 16s.”
Brody Cupp won the boys 14-under singles title over Ian Hegstrom, who had to default with a migraine.
Julianna Campos, 10, of Grand Junction is already looking for competition with older girls and is succeeding.
She won the Community Hospital girls 14-under and 12-under singles titles. She was 3-0 in the 14-under round-robin draw, winning all three matches in straight sets.
“It was super fun,” Campos said with a bright smile. “I feel this is my best tournament ever that I played my best in. It was probably the most fun because I got to play the 14-year-olds, and I’m only 10.”
Campos played in her first tennis tournament last summer. She won the Taco Bell Western Slope Open girls 10-under title and took second in the 12-under.
Campos said watching her older brother, Gabriel, and older sister, Carolena, play in tournaments inspired her to try it.
“My family has played tennis, except we’re working on my dad now,” Campos said.
Luke Aubert won the boys 12-under title with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Cal Hegstrom.
Anne Hughes won the girls 16-under singles title Saturday.