Carolena and Julianna Campos have played tennis with and against each other on many occasions, but because of their age gap, they’ve never been able to play together competitively outside of tennis tournaments in the Grand Valley.

Should the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference allow for fall sports to be played this year despite COVID-19 concerns, that’s likely to change.

Both sisters lost their senior season on the court because of the pandemic’s emergence in March. Julianna’s career at Grand Junction High School was cut short. Carolena, a senior on Colorado Mesa University’s team, also had her senior season ended, although she’s taking advantage of the NCAA’s offer for athletes to maintain their eligibility for an extra year.

That fifth year for Carolena will give the sisters something they never had in high school: the chance to play together while wearing the same uniform.

“We didn’t think we’d be playing with each other competitively in school, ever,” Carolena said. “I really hope that we’ll be able to play together because we work so well together. We know each other. We know each other’s games. We know our strengths and weaknesses. It would be really fun to play with her. As far as the wide age spectrum, I’d say we play very similarly.”

The two have played together in the Western Slope Open before, but the event has more meaning for both this year. It’s not only a shot at competitive tennis after the coronavirus robbed them of the chance in the spring, but also an opportunity to play together and build more chemistry before donning the maroon and gold of the Mavericks.

The duo will be playing in the final match of the women’s open doubles today at 9:45 a.m. against Sarah Fleming and Isabel Manzanares. They’ll also be facing each other in a consolation match in women’s open singles shortly after.

The latter match won’t have the high stakes of the first, but don’t tell the sisters that.

“Well, it’s still high stakes,” Carolena joked. “At the end of the day, it’s just tennis. When we play each other, we just make each other better. We’re trying to go in open-minded. There’s going to be a winner and a loser, no matter what. We’ve got to make the most of it and remember we still love each other.”

For Julianna, this year’s tournament is an ideal moment to get back to competitive play and continue her growth as a player.

“I’m looking forward to all of it,” the younger Campos said. “I’ve seen the team all together and they’re so fun. Just having someone I know in college and someone who knows the ropes and can help me out and be there for me is great. Even better that it’s my sister. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun.”

Finals set

Alexandra Leatu faces Fleming in the women’s open singles final today at 9:30 a.m. On the men’s side, at the same time, Steven Howe will face Alain de la Bastide.

In the boys 14-12 U.S. singles final, Nikolas Miller faces Elijah Wright at 8 a.m. The girls 14-12 U.S. singles final features Sami MacDonald and Abby Kearl at 8:15 a.m.

Matthew Silzell will face August Pomrenke in a boys 18-16 Australian singles final at 8 a.m.

In the boys 18-16 Wimbledon singles, Bailey Rubinstein will play Christian Tuttle at 8 a.m.

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