New doubles team leans on each other to win title
Jake Filutze and Caleb Gartner are new doubles partners this season, but already know the importance of relying on each other.
The Grand Junction High School juniors persevered through a couple of three-set, 10-point tiebreakers to reach the finals and win the Western Slope Invitational No. 1 doubles title Saturday afternoon at the Elliott Tennis Center.
In the title match, the juniors defeated Steamboat Springs’ Gabri Esparmes and Eric Sortland in straight sets, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.
“That was a clutch win,” Gartner said. “It’s a fight. You have to support each other and believe in yourself out there.”
Grand Junction took second place with 182 points. Fairview won the team title with 194. Chatfield and Steamboat Springs tied for third with 163.
“The fact we’re seeing this competition this early is great, not only for us, but for everybody,” Grand Junction coach Carol Elliott said.
“The level of competition for this tournament has been very high. For us to come out and win some of these tough matches, even if we lose some of those tough matches, the fact we’re competing is great.”
Fruita Monument took 10th with 75 points, Montrose was 12th with 50 points and Central was 14th with 42 points.
Grand Junction’s No. 2 singles player Luke Ledebur was one set away from winning his bracket, but Denver East’s Kyle Schuster rallied to win 4-6, 6-0, (10-7).
The Tigers’ No. 2 doubles team of Max Proietti and Daniel Ness reached the final, but lost to Fairview 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) and the No. 4 duo of Matt Prinster and Aaron Gossage reached the final before losing to Fairview in the championship.
Grand Junction’s No. 3 team of Jeff Hansen and Gabriel Campos took third with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Denver East after a close loss in the semifinals to Fairview, which won the title.
Grand Junction’s No. 1 singles player, Spencer Weinberg, came back to take fifth place after losing to Steamboat’s Jamey Swiggart in the quarterfinals.
Swiggart won the No. 1 singles title, defeating Littleton’s Ian Craighead 6-2, 6-0.
Filutze and Gartner advanced to the No. 1 doubles final after defeating Air Academy 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), (10-8) in the semifinals earlier Saturday. The Tigers trailed 5-2 in the first set.
“Getting down like that, then coming back, we gave Coach (Elliott) a heart attack,” Filutze said. “We’re still getting to know each other. It’s a lot different playing one doubles. It’s a huge step from No. 3.”
Filutze played No. 3 doubles last year and Gartner played No. 2.
“They have moments of brilliance, then they have those little letdowns, but that’s to be expected early in the season,” Elliott said. “They had a great tournament. Hopefully they’ll get better and better, but I’m happy how they are progressing.”
Fruita Monument went 1-2 in the Air Academy Invitational despite losing senior forward Alec Smith to a season-ending injury.
Smith dislocated his ankle, tore ligaments in his ankle and had a spiral fracture of his tibia bone, coach Dan McKee said, in the Wildcats’ 3-1 loss to Frontier Academy on Friday night. The injury occurred when he turned and his cleat stuck in the long grass.
Fruita defeated Widefield 3-2 in overtime on Saturday morning before losing 7-0 to Air Academy.
Peter Martinez scored two goals for the Wildcats against Widefield.
Central 2, Eagle Valley 0: The Warriors scored two goals in the first half and held on for the victory.
Matt Miller scored in the eighth minute and Leo Herman scored in the 36th minute. Conor Beach had seven saves in goal.
Coal Ridge 5, Palisade 2: Edgar Enriquez scored three goals to lead the Titans to victory.
Jose Rodriguez scored one goal and had two assists. Cesar Ortiz added one goal.
Spencer Jackson scored both goals for the Bulldogs. Joe Talbott assisted one of them.
North Park scored 25 points in the second half to defeat Plateau Valley 32-14 in 8-man football in Walden.
Monte Vista 32, Meeker 0: The Cowboys were shut out on the road.