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Durango tennis faces some tough competition

Team to host Fruita Monument on re-finished courts
Vicente Moreno, with Hellas Construction, pulls up tape on the Durango High School tennis courts on Thursday as the six courts get three coats of paint mixed with a silica sand. The DHS boys tennis team will play today and tomorrow on the new surface in its only home matches of the year. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

The Durango boys tennis team battled with Aspen on Tuesday, but came up just short and ended up losing the dual 4-3.

“We had a great morning,” said DHS head coach Todd Jolley. “If 2 and 3 singles had won their split sets, we’d have gone 5-2, which is a great position to be in since Aspen is one of our biggest regional rivals.”

Durango won three out of the four doubles matches against Aspen, getting wins from Leo Stritikus and Hays Stritikus at No. 2, Will Benac and Nate Claassen at No. 3 and Hunter Gray and Michael Shires at No. 4

Calan Barnhardt and Rowan Hall lost split sets at No. 2 and No. 3 singles. Griffin Hall fell 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 singles, while Patrick McBrayer and Carter Ward lost 6-3, 6-4 at No. 1 doubles.

The team also competed in the Western Slope Open Championships on Friday and Saturday.

“We had a fantastic week of tennis at the Western Slope tournament,” Jolley said. “It’s been absolutely invaluable to play three tournaments against big 5A Front Range teams at the start of our season. ... It’s great to have numbers on our side, but playing our best and holding our own against state championship players is better than creaming a school with few resources and less experience than us.”

Durango High School tennis coach Todd Jolley talks with his players during a recent practice. The players competed in the Western Slope Open over the weekend and then battled Aspen on Tuesday. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

All the tennis players got at least four matches in at the tournament. DHS got victories at No. 1 singles, No. 2 doubles, No. 3 doubles and No. 4 doubles.

The Demons will next host Fruita Monument at 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday. It will be the team’s only home competition this season, but they’ll get to play on newly re-finished courts.

“I’m more confident in their skills than ever,” Jolley said. “We hope the community will come out and support us.”