Tournament time: GJ ready for second big tourney of season

In her first season playing singles, Samantha Weinberg has adjusted to playing without a partner. The senior, who has gone to state at No. 2 doubles the past two seasons, is 6-0 in dual matches at No. 3 singles.

Taking on the whole season can be an overwhelming thing.

So to make it more simple, most teams separate their schedule into different sections and have a goal for each part.

The Grand Junction High School tennis team breaks up its season focusing on three tournaments: the Western Slope Invitational, the Phil Krause Tournament and the Class 5A regional tournament.

The Western Slope Invitational is early in the season, and lets players get their bearings on where they stand and points out areas that need improvement.

“The Western Slope is when you see teams very early, and you get a feel for where you need to be real quick,”  Grand Junction coach Carol Elliott said

After the Western Slope comes three weeks of dual matches that build momentum into the second tournament, which is Saturday’s Phil Krause Tournament in Denver.

“The Phil Krause Tournament is a good indicator for what type of progress you’ve made since the beginning of the season,” Elliott said. “It’s nice to have those tournaments spread out so it can be a stepping stone to build up to the regional tournament.”

The Krause is followed by another three weeks of duals leading up to the regional tournament May 6 and 7 at Mesa State College. The regional tournament qualifies the top two players at each position for the state tournament.

“It’s nice to have that progression,” Elliott said. “And at this point it’s good to get outside of league and see a bunch of different people. You get to play someone outside the box and figure out where you might rank.”

The season breakdown has benefitted the Tigers’ new No. 3 singles player, Samantha Weinberg, who is in her first year playing singles. Weinberg finished third in the Western Slope Invitational.

“Getting third at Western Slope set the bar high,” Weinberg said. “I want to try and do better than third this tournament, then obviously better than that at regionals.”

Weinberg has been at No. 2 doubles the past two seasons, making it to state both years. She lost in the quarterfinals each year.

Weinberg is 6-0 in her dual matches.

“As a senior she’s had to step in there, but she’s been around for quite a few years,” Elliott said. “She knows what to expect, she won’t see anything that she hasn’t prepared herself for, and she has the physical skills to compete.”

Saturday’s tournament has only eight teams, but Weinberg can potentially match up against quality players from Arapahoe, Air Academy, Denver East and Kent Denver.

Weinberg won the Phil Krause both years at No. 2 doubles, and said she expects nothing less from herself at No. 3 singles.

“We get used to winning as Tigers, we don’t like to lose,” Weinberg said. “I think the last couple of years have prepared me to be a singles player, and I feel like a confident singles player.”


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