Tuesday, October 17, 2000
After losing in the first round of the state tournament in Pueblo last Thursday, an agonizing wait began for Steamboat Springs tennis players David Upbin and Walker Pruett.
"It's a strange thing, but when you lose in the first round, the team that beats you has to advance to the finals to pull you back in," Walker said. "So after losing to Kent Denver, we had to go back out and cheer for those guys. They were really nice about it. They said, 'Don't worry guys, we will get you back in.' And they did."
The two Steamboat players spent all day Thursday and part of the day Friday cheering for the Kent Denver doubles team of David Law and Julian Simcock. That squad topped the Sailors in the first round in a hard-fought 7-6 (8-7), 6-2 match. Now, if the Steamboat team wanted another match, it would need the Kent Denver team to advance to the championship match. That would pull the Sailors back into the consolation bracket and give them a chance at third place.
Kent did advance to the finals, and once the Steamboat team got the nod late Friday morning, Upbin and Pruett took full advantage of the squad's second chance.
The Sailors' No. 1 doubles team won the next three matches, including a 6-4, 6-2 win over Mullen's Evan Vandehey and Collin Wern in the consolation finals.
It was the second straight year the doubles team has earned a third-place medal. Last year, Pruett-Upbin placed third at the No. 3 spot.
"I was a little disappointed because I wanted to win a championship this year, but I was really happy with the way we played in the final three rounds," Pruett said.
It was Pruett's final match as a member of the Steamboat Sailors boys tennis team. The senior expects to graduate this Spring and is hoping to play tennis at the college level next fall.
The Sailors' No.1 doubles team finished the season with a 9-0 dual record and a 19-3 overall mark.
"No, I wasn't disappointed at all," Upbin said of the third-place finish. "We've improved a lot since last year, and finishing in third in the state is something to be proud of. It was nice to finish strong in Walker's final state tournament."
The Steamboat Springs junior was happy to top the local finishes at the tournament. He would have liked to seen some of his teammates fare better but that's how it goes when you get to the state tournament.
"We had some really high expectations, so it was nice that we could come through and finish as high as we did," Upbin said.
Steamboat finished sixth as a team. Cheyenne Mountain won the tournament with 77 total points. Kent Denver, a team Steamboat lost to 4-3 in the regular season, was second with 53 points and Mullen was third with 31 points.
University was fourth with 27 points, Pueblo Centennial was fifth with 18 and Steamboat came in sixth with 15 points.
Sixteen teams took part in the state tournament which was held in Pueblo Oct. 12 to 14.
"I think our players were a little disappointed that we didn't do better as a team," Sailors coach John Aragon said. "But Walker and David played great all weekend. It was nice to see them finish so high after losing their first match."
Steamboat's No. 1 singles player Rich Tifft and No. 2 player John Aragon Jr. both advanced to the semifinals before losing. Tifft fell to University's Moritz Ellman in the semis and Aragon lost to Mullen's Mike Fuller.
The players both finished in the top six in the state however, the state playoff brackets only award medals to the top four finishers.
The Sailors are a young team this season and will lose three players from this year's team. Pruett, Aragon and Brian Berge will all graduate this Spring.