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River Valley Rumble

Mike VidakovichGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kelley Cox
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CARBONDALE – Nick Provenza and David Smith have been playing tennis together, or against each other, since they were grade-school kids growing up in Grand Junction.The two are now teammates on the Mesa State College tennis team, so it seemed only fitting that they would square off Sunday afternoon in the men’s 5.0 singles final at the River Valley Ranch Tennis Tournament.The championship match lacked the drama that many were anticipating as Provenza used a steady baseline game and a deft touch at the net to dispatch Smith in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.

Provenza was looking no worse for the wear and tear as he had survived a lengthy three-set doubles match just minutes prior to the singles final.”I’m a competitor,” said Provenza. “Any time I enter a tournament, I try my best to win.”Smith said facing his friend is always tough, but he tries to view it as just another in the many matches the two have played against each other.

“I try to think of it just as if we are practicing together,” said Smith. “He was just better today. He played an excellent match.”In an early morning start on Sunday, George Gers of Crested Butte outlasted Brian Maynard of Silt by a 6-4, 6-3 margin in the men’s 4.0 final. It was a match that was much closer than the straight set tally would indicate.”It was close throughout. The match really could have gone either way,” said Gers.



The women’s singles finals were also contested in the 3.5 and 4.0 divisions, with Lauren Annino of Grand Junction besting Carbondale’s Nancy Zeigel 6-0, 7-5 in the 4.0 bracket, and Robin Wheatley coming out on top by a 6-1, 6-2 count over Dawn Selindh in the 3.5 division.In what might have been the most compelling – and lengthy – match of the final day, it was Provenza again teaming with another Mesa State player, Brady Bentley, to outlast Glenwood’s Pete Jacobsen and George Gers in a well-played 5.0 doubles match 5-7, 6-2, 7-5.As the action came to a close on Sunday afternoon, tournament director Josh Passchier expressed his gratitude toward the players and all those involved in making this year’s event the largest ever.”It’s been a lot of fun,” said Passchier. “We had over a hundred players this year. It’s great to see such a turnout.”


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