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Gordon wins Regional singles title

Dale Strode

GRAND JUNCTION – Get the bus ready. The Skiers are headed to state!

With a cool showing in the heat of Grand Junction, the Aspen High School tennis team qualified five players for the State Tennis Championships next weekend.

No. 1 singles player Laura Gordon, one of the premier players in Colorado prep tennis, won the Regional championships at Mesa State College on Saturday.

She will head to the 4A State Tennis Championships at Pueblo City Park this week, along with two Aspen doubles teams.

Nicole Hernandez and Allison Ortmann of Aspen qualified for state in No. 1 doubles, using a critical playback victory to earn the trip to Pueblo.

And Brittany Biebl and Jacqueline Pearlstone of Aspen qualified for state at No. 3 doubles, with an equally critical playback victory on a hot, sunny Saturday afternoon.

The five Aspen Skiers will head to the 4A State Championships, scheduled to open Thursday on the courts at Pueblo City Park.

Two other Aspen doubles teams just missed qualifying for state.

In No. 2 doubles, the Aspen team of Jill Evans and Alex Karlinski won the third-place match and then squared off against a Glenwood Springs duo in the playback to determine the final (of two) state qualifier.

But the Glenwood team of Linsey Grigsby and Erin Leighty edged Evans and Karlinski 7-6(6 tiebreaker) and 6-3. The agonizing playback loss came after a long, three-set victory when Evans and Karlinski topped Haley Benson and Cara Schmidt of Hotchkiss in the third-place match.

And at No. 4 doubles, Korry Johnson and Stephanie Wells of Aspen lost in the third-place match, just missing a chance to play in the playback for a berth at state.

Johnson and Wells lost a three-set heartbreaker 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 to Andrea Valdez and Dianne Wyatt of Central.

The Central duo went on to win the playback and earn a trip to Pueblo.

Gordon dominated for Aspen at No. 1 singles.

She breezed through Friday’s hot rounds and then faced defending 4A state champion Stacy Kneese of Montrose in Saturday’s championship.

With her aggressive serve and her powerful groundstrokes, Gordon dispatched Kneese in straight sets 6-2, 6-1.

Gordon, a sophomore, will make a return trip to the State Tennis Championships.

The Skiers, as a team, finished third at the Regionals last weekend – just missing second place by a single point.

Montrose, with titles at No. 2 singles, No. 3 singles, No. 1 doubles, No. 2 doubles, No. 3 doubles and No. 4 doubles, won with 81 points.

Steamboat was second with 37 points while Aspen was third with 36.

Hotchkiss, Glenwood Springs and Central followed, in order.


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