Senior Ciara Beegle has come a long way since her freshman year on the Hotchkiss junior varsity tennis team. After playing at 3 doubles last year, the senior will represent Hotchkiss at 1 singles this season.
"Just practice and practice and work as hard as you can until you get it," said Beegle, who trained last summer with fellow senior, Lexey Padilla.
Senior Mariah Adams moved up to the 2 singles slot after three seasons on the JV team and as a varsity substitute.
Mandi Chermak claimed the 3 singles position and ended last week with a win over Fruita Monument JV and losses against Cedaredge and Cortez.
Padilla, who also played JV for three seasons, opened the season with Jessie Violett at 1 doubles. She could possibly challenge for 3 singles, but said she doesn't have a preference. "It doesn't really matter to me as long as I'm playing," said Padilla, who played several singles matches last season.
In their matches last week against Cedaredge, Fruita Monument JV and Montezuma-Cortez, 2 doubles Tijay Lehman and Bree Vernon lost, but took all three games to third-set tiebreakers.
At 3 doubles, Shelby Rogers and Carli Gallegos won in three sets (2-6, 6-4, 10-8) over Fruita Monument, and Rogers and Morgan Dodier, who was filling in for Gallegos, won in straight sets at Cortez.
Lexi Arroyo and Carlynn Toothaker will partner at 4 doubles.
Brian Benson, who has coached the Hotchkiss boys' team for two seasons, stepped in to coach this year's team. And while the team has three scheduled "home" matches, all the matches scheduled for home will be played at Delta. "The courts are just not in good enough condition to play on," said Benson. The team's first local matches were held Tuesday night at Paonia.
There's a hidden benefit to playing away matches, said Padilla. "At home it's really windy," and the sand blows in off the dobies. "It hurts really bad."
Hotchkiss faces a tough schedule. All teams in the state compete in either Class 4A or 5A. Hotchkiss, a 2A school, is one of the smallest schools in 4A Region 8 competition, which includes Paonia (also a 2A school), Cedaredge (3A), Delta, Durango, Montezuma-Cortez, Montrose and Steamboat Springs, which has dominated regional competition in recent years.
That makes setting goals a challenge, said Beegle. Wins are hard to come by. "When challenged against someone you know is a little tougher, you kind of step up to that challenge and take it on as much as possible," said Beegle, who opened the season with a loss to Sarai Zilm of Glenwood Springs, one of the more powerful singles players in the region.
"I stuck with her," said Beegle. "The games might not say that, but I did go to deuce with her a lot and I did go to 40 a lot with her, but I just could not close out a game." Beegle also played a close three-set match (6-2, 4-6, 7-10).
Adams agrees. "You try to get your mind set for that match," she said. "Try to get in the mood for a big competition."
Players said that having Benson as their coach changes their focus for the season.
"Each coach brings something different to the court," said Padilla. "I think having a new coach is really nice."blog comments powered by Disqus