CSU tennis honor former coach with tournament named in his honor

Austin White

The Colorado State University hosted their annual fall tournament over the weekend and took home 11 victories, eight in singles and three in doubles. The newly named Jon Messick Invitational was more than just a tennis tournament, as the new name is in honor of the former CSU tennis head coach who retired last summer after 31 years at the head of the tennis team.

“Naming the tournament in honor of Jon is the least we can do to show appreciation for all that he has done for Colorado State and the northern Colorado tennis community,” current head coach Jarod Camerota said in a statement.

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Messick first came to CSU in 1985 to coach the men’s tennis team and then took over the women’s team in 1989 and coached both until 1996 when the men’s team was disbanded. He won the USPTA Intermountain Division Coach of the Year in 1989 and led the men’s team to 120 wins in 11 seasons.

His most memorable moments came with the women’s team however, as he was able to make turn in mostly walk-on athletes into fierce competitors.

He coached 14 players to an All-Conference selection and two players to be ranked nationally. Messick was also able to lead seven individuals and four doubles squads to be ranked regionally during his tenure. The greatest moment came in the 2006-07 season when the Rams were able to reach 11th regionally as a team and have been regionally ranked six other times under Messick.

And in 2014, Messick’s stellar career was honored when USTA Intermountain named an award after him because of his “transformational and servant leadership.” Messick played a large role in the community as well as seen by his numerous awards given to him throughout his career.

So in the first ever Jon Messick Invitational, the Rams started day one out strong with five singles victories over Northern Colorado. No. 3 freshman Riley Reeves dominated when she did not drop a single game won 6-0, 6-0. The doubles struggled against Iowa State by dropping all three matches, but the number one duo of freshman Alyssa Grijalva and Reeves had a late 5-4 lead but would drop the match 6-5.

In day two, the Rams took on Iowa State, who competes in the Big 12. Reeves was able to secure her second singles victory in dramatic fashion after dropping the first set 6-7. Reeves rallied and won the next two sets 6-4 and 7-5. The Rams would get one more singles victory from No. 6 freshman Sandra Keta in straight sets. The doubles team took one out of three against Wyoming.

The final day was a tough one for the Rams as they dropped all of the singles matches to Wyoming with the best effort coming from No. 1 sophomore Emily Kolbow who was able to force a third set after her 4-6 second set win. The Rams would get two wins from doubles to push their win total to 11 for the tournament when Reeves and Grijalva took down their UNC opponents easily 6-1. Celine Voss and Madison Porter also won their doubles tilt 6-4 at the No. 2 spot.

“Overall it was a good weekend,” coach Camerota said. “We need to keep getting better and finish the fall on a strong note.”

The Rams will finish the fall season next month in Las Vegas when they compete in the Rebel Invitational Nov. 11-13.

Collegian Sports Reporter Austin White can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @ajwrules44

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