The Montezuma-Cortez High School boys tennis team concluded the regular-season at home Friday and Saturday when the Panthers welcomed Region 8 foes Fruita Monument and Montrose to the Jim Harkendorff Tennis Courts.
The Panthers were overwhelmed by Fruita, losing Friday 7-0. The following morning against Montrose was a battle.
However, the visiting Indians won the singles point and claimed victories at No. 3 and 4 doubles to down M-CHS, 4-3.
The Panthers (3-6, 0-5 5A/4A Region 8) had tough defeats at No. 1 and 2 singles against the Fruita Wildcats. Graham Cathey and Logan Dean were edged 3-6, 4-6, and 4-6, 4-6, by Vinny Castellini and Tanner McKenzie. Zach Lamb lost at No. 3 singles, 0-6, 3-6, to Fruitas Matt Harris.
In doubles play, M-CHS seniors Nick Haukeness and Freeland Wegner were bested 2-6, 6-0, 0-6 by Tucker Fortson and Gabriel Treider. At No. 2s, Todd Underwood and Caleb Branson lost 2-6, 1-6 to Nick Ruton and Matt Scofield. Wildcats Scott Nolan and Randy Hurshman won 6-0, 6-3 over Jake Ritthaler and Jake Valdez, and Panthers Ford Wegner and Samir Berrada fell 0-6, 0-6 to Kelson Reimer and Taylor Scofield.
On Saturday, Cathey rebounded very nicely against Montroses Josh Robertson. The sophomore got M-CHS on the board first with a 6-0, 6-0 win. Cathey was happy with his play Friday and Saturday.
Yesterday was a good match, but the guy was just a really solid player. He put a lot of balls in play, he had a good serve. My forehand wasnt quite there, but I played pretty well, Cathey said Saturday. Today was a good match. I just kind of took advantage of the second serve, my forehand was there, things went my way.
Grahams assistant coach and father, Steve Cathey, felt his son came back strong at home after recovering from a ankle injury.
This is probably the first match where Graham was back to a 100 percent, said Steve Cathey about the No. 1 singles match versus Montrose. He really attacked on the return-of-serve very well. He hit his forehand, which is a big shot, about as big as he could.
Dean and Lamb lost at No. 2 and 3 singles, 3-6, 2-6, and 0-6, 1-6, to Phurba Sherpa and Joe Nunez.
In doubles, Haukeness and Freeland Wegner dominated the No. 1 match over Nick Sherwood and Hayden Tipping, 6-1, 6-1. At No. 2s, Underwood and Branson scored an impressive 6-3, 6-0 win against David Thorpe and Scott Harper of Montrose to put the Panthers up early in the doubles point.
Todd and Caleb probably played the most consistent match weve seen out of a doubles team this year, Steve Cathey said. Every volley they got, they put where they should have. They went cross court with most of them. They returned serve well, and they served well. You just couldnt ask more.
In the No. 3 and 4 doubles matches, they, unfortunately, were won by Montrose to claim the win. Ford Wegner and Ritthaler stumbled 0-6, 0-6 to Alex McMichael and Chancy Dunn at 3s. Braden Carey and Wyatt Yates, of M-CHS, lost 0-6, 0-6 to Rusty Penasa and Nick George at 4s.
The Panthers will bus to Grand Junction for regionals on Thursday and Friday to play for a spot in state tournament.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at email@example.com.