Perennial power Cherry Creek to challenge tennis field.

Western Slope Invitational Tennis

Grand Junction tennis player Owen Gartner.

It’s anybody’s guess who’s the favorite in each bracket of the Western Slope Invitational boys tennis tournament.

Sure, perennial power Cherry Creek is the team to beat, but it’s only a couple of weeks into the season and players are settling into their spots.

Here’s a serving of what fans need to know about this weekend’s action:

•  What: The Western Slope Invitational high school boys tennis tournament.

•  When: Today and Saturday. Play begins at 8 a.m. today and at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

•  Where: The Elliott Tennis Center at Mesa State College (headquarters), Clinton Smith courts at Lincoln Park, Canyon View tennis courts and Grand Junction High School.

•  Who: 18 teams from across the state. The entries this year include Cherry Creek, which has won 34 of the past 36 state team titles, as well as Grand Junction, Fruita Monument and Central. Other strong teams are Fairview, Heritage, Ralston Valley, Aspen, Durango and Dakota Ridge. Rounding out the bracket are competitive teams from Greeley West, Columbine, Denver East, Chatfield, Air Academy, Steamboat Springs and Montrose.

•  Why: To get tournament experience and matches under the belts of the players early in the season. It’s become one of the top tournaments in the state and gives the players and coaches a preview of competition they could face in the state tournament.
“We are looking for lots of matches and lots of experience from that,” Fruita coach Randy Majors said. “For us, it is to be better on Monday at practice than we were when the tournament started.”

•  How: The tournament is double elimination, complete with playback rounds.


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