Players flock to reopening of Elliott Tennis Center

The Grand Junction tennis community formally has welcomed its newest addition.

Tennis fans Sunday celebrated the grand opening of the redesigned Elliott Tennis Center at Mesa State College, where hundreds of players of all ages enjoyed informal matches on the refurbished courts.

“It’s so cool,” Grand Junction tennis player Cliff Digby said.

Although the tennis center houses the Mesa State varsity teams, the nine new courts at the facility off Orchard Avenue are open to the public, said Lena Elliott, vice chairwoman of the college’s board of trustees and tennis advocate. The tennis center is named for Elliott and her husband, Carter.

When the college athletes aren’t practicing, the center’s new cement, post-tensioned courts will be used by adult leagues, classes and other recreational players.

“This is state of the art,” Lena Elliott said.

Mesa State varsity tennis player Victoria Sargent, a senior, echoed Elliott. Sargent’s younger brother plays tennis at George Mason University, an NCAA Division I school in Virginia, and Sargent said the new Mesa State facility is nicer than where her brother plays. Mesa State is a Division II tennis school.

Furthermore, Sargent noted, “we have the nicest facility in the RMAC (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) for sure.”

The RMAC includes seven varsity men’s and women’s teams.

The $1 million remodeled facility at Mesa State has nine courts — an increase from the old facility — a 1,000-square foot clubhouse, spectator seating, picnic tables with awnings, and new lights, all of which Elliott said will hopefully attract more tournaments to Grand Junction.

The surfaces on all nine courts are slower than the previous hard courts. Sargent joked that she and her teammates had lost their home court advantage because the old courts had cracks, and only Mesa State’s players knew how to play with the cracks.

The courts will make for a truer bounce of the ball, said Mesa State tennis coach Dan MacDonald.

The grand opening Sunday included free food and a carnival with tennis-themed activities, which Sargent was excited to help with because she loves to coach kids, she said.


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