Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs tennis player Kellie Banisky may prefer doubles to singles, but that didn't stop her from winning the women's 35-and-under class at the Intermountain Sectional Seniors Championships Sunday.
More than 180 players from a six-state regional took part in the three-day championships, held at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs. Tennis Center director Jim Swiggart said it was one of the biggest fields ever in Steamboat for the tournament, which began Thursday.
"It was one of the best tournaments we have ever hosted," Swiggart said. "I'm proud to get the chance to host this prestigious event."
Banisky topped Aspen's Kelly Hanle 6-3, 6-1 in the finals on Sunday to earn her first singles title in the tournament. This is her seventh year playing in the senior championships.
"This is my best singles finish for sure" Banisky said after the match. "I really prefer to play doubles and mixed doubles."
But since moving to Steamboat two years ago, Banisky has found herself pushed more towards singles because of the limited number of really good doubles teams in the area.
"There are some very good doubles players in this town, but it's hard to get four of them together at one time for a match," Banisky said. "So I've been forced to play more and more singles."
After this weekend, Banisky may want to make even more of a shift to the singles field. However, she also placed second in the mixed doubles bracket with her partner, Rick Best. The local pair was topped by out-of-town players Dave Luebbe and Susie Wuebler in the finals of the mixed bracket 2-6, 6-2 and 7-6 (10).
"I just love this tournament," Banisky said. "It's so much fun and Jim (Swiggart) does a terrific job running it."
Joining Banisky on the list of local champions in the sectional event was Patty Kreutz. Kreutz earned a title in the women's 45-and-under singles bracket. She was also second in the 45-and-under doubles bracket along with partner Janice Simpson.
"These are great finishes for local players," Swiggart said. "This tournament had the best players from a six state region, so just making it to the finals is a real honor."
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