Central's Basinski wins second straight regional title at No. 1 singles
Aimee Basinski did it again.
One year after winning a wide-open field, the Central High School junior overcame adversity to win the Class 5A Region 6 No. 1 singles title on Friday afternoon at the Elliott Tennis Center at Colorado Mesa University.
Basinski, who was on crutches earlier this season with a sprained ankle, defeated Grand Junction’s Kylie Pond 6-3, 6-1 in the final.
“It was difficult to come back, but definitely an enjoyable experience,” Basinski said. “I’ve loved every moment of coming back and the memories from last year and this year again is amazing.
“It’s overwhelming, kind of. It hasn’t hit me yet.”
Heritage won the Class 5A Region 6 team title with 60 points. Grand Junction placed second with 50 and qualified all three singles players and its No. 3 doubles team.
“We have come a long ways,” Grand Junction coach Carol Elliott said. “When we had all the newcomers on the team at the beginning of the season, we had to work. The girls were willing to work and deal with my competitiveness and get on me. It pays off. They earned the SWL (title). That was a huge thing for us with all the newcomers we had. That was a big step.”
Fruita Monument took third with 39 and qualified its No. 2 singles player. Central was fourth with 36 and qualified Basinski and No. 3 singles player Katie Murphy.
Fruita Monument senior Meredith Soychak won the No. 2 singles title to qualify for the Class 5A state tournament for the first time.
“It feels good,” Soychak said. “I’ve always wanted to (go to state). I’m proud of myself for making it and staying consistent until the end.”
She defeated Grand Junction’s Nicky Arja 6-1, 6-1 in the final.
“I lost to Nicky both times in the season,” Soychak said. “(They were) close matches, but I knew I could win. Regionals was the time to do it.”
Grand Junction junior Anne Hughes won the No. 3 singles title to qualify for state. She defeated Murphy 6-2, 6-1 in the final.
“It was nice playing someone a second time,” Hughes said. “You know how they play. I was more confident.”
Hughes was motivated to win to avoid a playback against Fruita Monument’s Sierra Segrest.
“That would’ve been the third time I played her,” Hughes said. “I lost to her in a third-set tiebreaker, so I didn’t really want to do that again. I just wanted to win.”
Grand Junction’s No. 3 doubles team of Carsyn Friztler and Natalie Sufka won a regional title to qualify for state for the first time.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Fritzler said.
The juniors defeated Heritage 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 in the final.
“It was tough (losing the second set), but it motivated us to do better and push back harder,” Sufka said.
Eva-Lou Edwards of Durango dug in her heels in the third set of the No. 1 singles final at Canyon View Park. Down 4-1, she kept chipping away until she had won five straight games and had a chance to break the serve of Steamboat Springs’ Christi Valicenti.
“I don’t remember what I was down,” she said after winning 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 in a match that took more than three hours in the Class 4A Region 8 tournament. “Obviously, if you make errors, you lose a tennis match, so I was just trying to keep it in and get to the net and put balls away.
“I was kind of losing points in the long rallies in the second set. Instead of allowing that to happen, I needed to come to the net. I like the net and I can usually put it away if I have the ball. That’s what I was trying to do.”
And on match point, she did, putting away a crisp volley for the match.
“You can’t really see it coming, but when you hit a shot and you know you’re going to have them on the run and it’s in the corner, you’re going to have a good chance of attacking the next ball you get,” she said. “It’s kind of like a little signal goes off in your head, like ‘go.’ I just saw my opportunity.”
Steamboat Springs won the team championship with 83 points. Aspen was second with 54.