Regional tennis supreme at the Elliott Tennis Center

Isaac Brown #1 singles central

Owen Gartner GJ #1 singles

It’s a simple recipe for this weekend’s high school tennis players.

Play well Friday and Saturday at the Class 5A Region 7 tournament at the Elliott Tennis Center and earn a berth in the Colorado state tennis tournament Oct. 16-18 at the Gates Tennis Center.

But what goes into having success at the regional? Here are they key ingredients:

7: The teams — Grand Junction, Central, Fruita Monument, Durango, Denver South, Overland, Ponderosa

14: Available spots for the state tournament, two from each bracket.

1: Returning top-four finisher from last year’s state tournament. Grand Junction’s No. 1 doubles team of
Charlie Reicks and Sam Morgan placed fourth at No. 3 doubles.

2: Teams that scored points at last year’s state tournament: Durango had 11, Grand Junction 8.

11: Regular-season dual wins by Roman Khmelev, the No. 1 singles player at Overland (11-1) and Grand Junction’s Jake Frankhouser and Greg Coleman No. 2 doubles (11-0)

3: Straight matches needed to win a title from the winners’ bracket.

7: First-round byes, awarded to the top seed in each bracket, who will only have to win two matches to reach state

6: First-round byes for Grand Junction High School. Khmelev earned the top seed at No. 1 singles.

9: There’s only one ninth-grader playing singles, Hunter LaCouture of Ponderosa at No. 2. He went 8-3
in dual matches and will take on Antonio Pestello of Fruita Monument, who went 5-5 this season.

2: Seniors on Denver South’s team, but the Rebels are led by Max Winslow at No. 1 singles, who is tied for the team’s best dual record at 7-3 with No. 2 singles player Eric Seelenfreund.

1: Grand Junction vs. Central matchup in the first round, at No. 1 singles, where Owen Gartner takes on Central’s Isaac Brown.  They split during their regular-season matches, both winning in three sets.

30: There’s a 30 percent chance of rain this weekend.

2: Days of focus to earn the much coveted spot at the state tournament.

Win: An early loss can keep you out of the playbacks, the second chance to earn a spot in the state tournament.

Mix all ingredients together and you’ve got the makings of two pressure-packed days of tennis.

From the chefs:

•  “You can’t turn it on and off. It doesn’t matter who you played in the preseason, you have to be mentally tough and prepared.”— Grand Junction coach Carol Elliott.

•  “Just stay loose and try to be fresh for that first match. You cannot lose to a team you should beat.” — Fruita Monument coach Randy Majors.

•  “We have got to beat Junction. That is how we are looking at it, but it would be the same thing in any sport. Beat Cherry Creek, beat the Pittsburgh Steelers when I was a kid. You have to step up and execute to beat who’s on top.”— Central coach Steve Tyler.

•  “It is going to be a really tough tournament and we expect to see a lot of great tennis and seeing how we can improve.”— Denver South coach Rob Madison.

•  “You have to make the travel schedule a pretty regimented thing. Many metro teams don’t like to travel, but we do. We love to travel and really enjoy playing in Grand Junction.” — Ponderosa coach Cary LaCouture.

Photos of Owen Gartner, top, Isaac Brown by DEAN HUMPHREY


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