Demon tennis team ready for West Slope Invite |

Demon tennis team ready for West Slope Invite

Phil Sandoval

It’s a chance to prove themselves against the best.

That’s the mindset of the Glenwood Springs High School girls tennis team when they step on the courts for play starting Friday at the annual Western Slope Invitational in Grand Junction.

Except for the season-ending regional tournament, The Western Slope Invitational is the premier event for high school tennis teams west of the Continental Divide.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen because there’s so many teams,” said Glenwood junior Celeste Cashel, the No. 2 singles player for the Demons.

“We just go into it saying that we are going to play our hardest and take it from there.”

Molly Axelson, who’s playing in her fourth Western Slope Invitational, admitted that the atmosphere surrounding the tennis courts is “pretty crazy,” so staying focused is a key to success.

“When you find out who you’re going to play, you walk around and watch them, but other than that you stay focused,” she said.

“Each player has a different game. You try to bring it up to their level and play the best you can.”

Matches will be played simultaneously at the Elliott Tennis Center at Mesa State College along with courts at Bookcliff Country Club and at Lincoln Park.

Nineteen prep tennis teams are scheduled to participate in the two-day tournament, which concludes Saturday.

But, the appeal of the Western Slope Invite has reached beyond the boundaries of Western Colorado.

And barring an upset, the strongest challenge for this year’s team title appears to be between Class 5A Grand Junction, the 2002 state runner-up, ranked second in the current 5A state prep poll, and the 2002 4A state champ, Kent Denver.

One notable absence from this year’s tournament is perennial 5A powerhouse Cherry Creek. An absence which Demon assistant coach Sue Geist said should benefit the Demons.

Matches start at 8 a.m. both days in the double-elimination tournament.

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