Pair of Tigers’ doubles teams will play for third at 5A state tennis tourney
DENVER — Few situations in high school athletics are more challenging mentally than the chore undertaken Friday by the top two doubles teams from Grand Junction High School.
The Tigers’ top two teams began the second day of the Class 5A state tournament on a disappointing note, losing in the semifinal round that relegated each team to the playback bracket.
Losing a final-four match makes for an easy excuse for any additional losses. Yet the Tigers shook off the losses and rebounded with victories in their first playback matches, giving Grand Junction two entrants into this morning’s third-place matches at the Gates Tennis Center.
“When you talk to the kids and you give them a game plan and put things in perspective, and tell them if they lose they have to bounce back and get everything going again, I know our girls are mentally tough,” Grand Junction coach Carol Elliott said.
“They are very determined. They want to win. And they are very competitive. I think that is an edge for us. It doesn’t matter if you lose that semifinal match, they know they have to come back for themselves and for the team to get some points for us and also be fighters. You don’t want to get this far and then not get anything out of it.”
The Tigers’ No. 1 doubles team of Madison Gurley and Emmie Madison opened the tournament’s second day with a 6-1, 6-4 loss to the top doubles team from Chatfield. They rebounded later in the day against Rocky Mountain, posting a 6-3, 6-4 win to advance to this morning’s No. 1 doubles third-place match against Cherry Creek.
“Everyone comes out to beat Creek, so we’re really excited about being able to play Creek and beat them if we can,” Madison said. “It’s just exciting to be able to play again and not end (Friday) and have one more high school tennis match.”
Grand Junction’s No. 2 team of Margeaux Prinster and Kylie Pond echoed the effort of the No. 1 team. Prinster and Pond began Friday with a hard-fought 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 defeat against Chatfield.
Prinster and Pond, though, rallied for a 7-5, 7-5 win against Mountain Vista in the playback bracket, setting up a third-place showdown this morning against Fairview.
At the completion of play on Friday (five playback matches will be completed early this morning after rain forced a second day of suspended play) the Tigers were in sixth place with 15 points.
“It has been a great team effort,” Elliott said. “We’re really excited for the girls. They have worked hard all season long and have kept their goals in perspective. It was a step-by-step process… and it’s an incredible feat for the ladies. We believed. We knew we could get better and compete.”