The Western Slope Open was a learning experience for the Grand Junction and Fruita Monument high school tennis teams.
The Tigers had one singles player and one doubles team and the Wildcats had two doubles teams finish second on Saturday at the Elliott Tennis Center.
Grand Junction No. 1 singles player Julianna Campos was disappointed with a runner-up finish, but said she was able to take away a few lessons from the match to help her improve going forward.
"I was definitely trying to put things away before she did and that's not usually what I do," Campos said after her 6-3, 6-4 loss to Palmer Ridge's Keelie Bennett. "I usually just work the point, wait for one to come in and attack that, but I was attacking ones I should not."
Campos said she needed to work on staying calm throughout the match and not making unforced errors. Improving her mental toughness will be a key to having a successful season, she said, but she was also happy to have given Bennett a tough match.
"I'm not a person who thinks, 'Oh, I'm going to lose' and just give up," Campos said. "I definitely fight to the end. I didn't want to make it easy for her at all."
Bennett was one of three singles players to win titles for the Bears, who also won the No. 3 and No. 4 doubles crowns.
"I've been here two years before this and I never made it to the finals so it feels pretty cool to win," Bennett said. "I love everyone on our team and we're all doing so well this year so I think this is going to be a dope season."
Fruita Monument's No. 1 and No. 3 doubles teams both finished second. The No. 1 duo of juniors Alyssa Morse and Tess Dilzell lost 6-2, 6-3 to Steamboat Springs' Lauren Ehrlich and Morgan Sauerbrey.
"I think what brought us down was the nerves," Morse said. "We were just afraid to lose and that made us lose."
Despite the loss, Morse and Dilzell said they were proud of how they played. Last season they competed at No. 4 doubles for the Wildcats, and they felt they have improved considerably since last season.
"We were here last year and we got dead last, I'm pretty sure," Dilzell said. "So this year second place isn't bad by any means."
Grand Junction coach Carol Wilder said she saw some positive things, as well as areas to work on, but mostly was happy to have the Tigers competing. The Western Slope Open was originally scheduled for earlier in March, but was postponed because of bad weather.
"We've gotten a lot of positives out of this and I know it's good for the girls because it's been a long three or four weeks of not playing any matches," Wilder said. "Getting to come out here and finally put some things together is kind of fun."
Wilder said she was happy with the chemistry she saw from her doubles players, but said the Tigers needed to improve their fundamentals. In singles, Wilder said improving their service game would lead to easier points in the future.
The Grand Junction No. 2 team placed second at No. 4 doubles. The team of Lizzie Ballard and Natalie Hanks lost 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 to Palmer Ridge's Katie Betz and Charlotte Hauke.
Although Dilzell would have loved to have won, just playing tennis was a reward.
"We played our hardest and we had a lot of fun," Dilzell said. "That's what tennis is about — having fun."