State of frustration

GJ, Fruita tennis teams blanked at state tourney

Grand Junction’s Morgen Mantlo returns a shot during a 6-1, 6-1 loss to Cherry Creek at No. 1 doubles on Friday at the Class 5A state tournament.

DENVER — It was a long and, ultimately, completely unfulfilling day for the girls tennis teams from Fruita Monument and Grand Junction.

The five entrants spread among those two teams endured a day of frustration Friday during the Class 5A state tennis tournament. Overall, those players went 0 for 8 in their matches, bowing out quickly before making the long journey home from the Gates Tennis Center.

Friday proved to be a particularly long day as Thursday’s opening-day action was wiped out by rain. The three doubles teams from Fruita began the day at other locations in Denver before the later rounds of the tournament were consolidated back at Gates.

“I don’t know if the rain delay had anything to do with it, but we probably played our best tennis last week at the regional,” Fruita coach Clint Davis said. “The competition here was awesome, and it was a great learning experience. We’ve got a young team, and the top of the team is all coming back. It’s disappointing to lose, but we’re happy with the effort, and we’re building toward next year.”

Fruita’s No. 2 doubles team of Taylor Poudrier and Amanda Charles opened the day at Denver South High School and suffered a 6-4, 6-4, first-round loss against the No. 2 squad from Heritage.

The Wildcats’ No. 3 team of Sara Cesark and Lindsay Dempsey and the No. 4 pairing of Kelsi Barnett and Kayla Lyon began the day at Denver’s City Park and suffered the same fate in the first round. Cesark and Dempsey lost 6-0, 6-0 to a team from Fossil Ridge. Barnett and Lyon fell 6-1, 6-4 to a Fairview tandem.

Cesark and Dempsey were the only Fruita duo that received a playback match, but the squad fared no better against the Chatfield No. 3 team of Hannah Ohman and Peyton Pritekel, exiting the tournament with a 6-1, 6-2 defeat.

“We’re really happy to get the teams that we got, and the playbacks were a battle,” Davis said. “We were happy to be here. Next year, we won’t be happy just to be here. We’ll do a little more damage.”

Although each of Grand Junction’s entrants received playback matches, the extra opportunity didn’t help the Western Slope break into the win column.

Tigers No. 3 singles player Sierra Filutze bowed out of the championship bracket with a 6-2, 6-0 loss against Denver East’s Natalia Dellavalle before suffering a 6-1, 6-1 loss against Ponderosa’s Kari Keough in the playback bracket.

The Tigers’ No. 1 doubles team of Natalie Sufka and Morgen Mantlo lost to Cherry Creek 6-1, 6-1 in the first round and dropped another straight-set decision in the playback bracket against Highlands Ranch.

Grand Junction coach Carol Elliott brought along Grand Junction’s No. 1 singles player, freshman Carolena Campos, to the tournament in hopes the experience will pay dividends for the Tigers next year.

“The girls in the first round didn’t really show up for me,” Elliott said. “You have to get out and play, and it can’t be a one-season thing, but with most of our kids it’s a one-season thing. We progressed as a team the whole season, but we got here and for some reason the nerves came back.”


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