Aspen’s Gordon wins singles crown at tourney in Junction | AspenTimes.com

Aspen’s Gordon wins singles crown at tourney in Junction

Tim Mutrie
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Aspen senior Laura Gordon claimed the No. 1 singles title at the Grand Junction Invitational Tournament Friday and Saturday as the AHS girls posted their best-ever team result at the annual event.

Three of Aspen’s four doubles pairings netted top-five results, helping Aspen to a sixth-place team finish in the event that featured a field of 18 teams. Aspen, one of four Class 4A teams at the tourney, mostly faced players from the largest schools in the state, at the Class 5A level.

“It’s awesome,” said Aspen coach Sherril Kerr. “To place sixth out of 18 teams is really big for us. The 5A schools have really strong, year-round programs.”

Cherry Creek, the defending Class 5A state champion, captured the team title.

“In a tournament like this, they learn so much in two days, way more than we can accomplish in two weeks of practice,” Kerr said. “They saw really fine, high-caliber tennis, and they conducted themselves with winning attitudes.”

Gordon, the 2000 Class 4A singles champion and 2001 runner-up, allowed only eight points in winning her first two matches in straight sets. In the finals, Gordon’s fourth match of the tourney, she faced Grand Junction’s Hillary Tyler and escaped with a 7-6, 7-5 victory for the title.

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“It was a battle,” Kerr said of the final. “They both played really well, really steady, and they both made big shots.”

Aspen’s No. 3 doubles pair of sophomore Courtney Sheeley and freshman Jennifer Leddy took third place, while Aspen’s No. 1 and No. 2 doubles teams rallied back through the consolation brackets to claim fifth-place titles. Junior Nicole Hernandez and sophomore Alex Leddy make up Aspen’s No. 1 doubles team, while juniors Jacqueline Pearlstone and Brittany Biebl comprise Aspen’s No. 2 doubles.

Aspen’s No. 4 doubles pairing, junior Christina Schluter and sophomore Meredith Hanrahan, dropped out of contention to place in the consolation bracket, a fate shared by Aspen’s No. 2 and No. 3 singles players.

In No. 2 singles, freshman and JV regular Teige Muhfield filled in for Melissa Marcus, who was out with the flu, and played solid given the circumstances, Kerr said. “She had really good matches. Success isn’t always measured in huge victories, but little ones. She had a lot of little victories and a few big ones,” the coach said.

In No. 3 singles, senior Becca Cote battled through a three-and-a-half-hour match and went out in the consolation bracket.

“If we can compete against 5A teams, our goal is within reach,” Kerr said, “and that’s winning [the Class 4A Western Slope Regional Tournament] and individually doing as well as we can at state.”