Perfect blueprint: Patience helps Tigers’ Weinberg capture Class 5A No. 1 singles title
DENVER — Any spectator that watches Grand Junction’s Spencer Weinberg play tennis may not become immediately wowed by the sophomore’s abilities.
Weinberg does not pepper the baseline with pinpoint winners. Nor does he batter his opponents with blistering serves.
All Weinberg does is play steadily and win, a habit he has never done more triumphantly than Saturday.
Weinberg calmly won several hard-fought points in the finals of the Class 5A No. 1 singles state final, outlasting Mark Miller of Regis Jesuit to capture the state championship with a 6-4, 7-5 victory at Gates Tennis Center in Denver. Weinberg highlighted an impressive overall performance by the Tigers and became the school’s first No. 1 singles champion since Jordan Bridge in 2006.
Weinberg followed much of the blueprint he used during his semifinal victory against Denver East’s Jake Malman on Friday, coolly returning just about everything thrown at him while taking advantage as his opponents gradually grew more frustrated.
“If people watch my game, they’re not going to be too impressed,” Weinberg said. “But I get the job done. Going for winners was never my style. I like to keep it patient. I have to work extra-hard, but it definitely is rewarding in the end. If they hit a winner, it’s just one shot and you have to shake it off. Mentally, I’m strong. If the other guy gets frustrated, that just gives me motivation to do it even more.”
Weinberg led a Grand Junction effort that left the Tigers in fifth place with 34 points — the team’s best finish at the 5A tournament since the Bridge-led bunch scored 35 points while finishing second in 2006.
“Spencer is very patient, a very smart kid,” Grand Junction coach Carol Elliott said. “He has the skills, the strokes, to mix things up and stay patient. He has a level head and never gets too riled up. He stays even-keeled, which really helps up. He played a smart, great match.”
Grand Junction also enjoyed strong final-day efforts from No. 3 singles player Parker Hegstrom. Hegstrom, a senior, won the playback bracket to finish third with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against Guido Bonini of Fossil Ridge. The Tigers’ No. 4 doubles team of Jeff Hansen and Matthew Prinster lost to Fairview in the playback final and finished fourth.
“I’m really excited for Parker,” Elliott said. “He has come in here three years before and hasn’t done well. This is his senior year, and he has had an incredible senior year for us. He’s been our team captain and our leader, and for him to come out and finish third is fantastic.”