Sailors ready for weekend tournament

Tennis team will face top players in state at Grand Junction

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— After walking through its competition early in the season, the Steamboat Springs tennis team will now test its skills against some of the best players in the state.

Steamboat, which won back-to-back home games before playing Hotchkiss away Thursday night (results were not available at press time), is competing in a tournament in Grand Junction today and Saturday.

"It will be a good challenge for the girls," Sailors coach Emily Harris said.

"There will be stronger teams and so it really helps us prepare for regionals."

Sixteen teams are at the tourney, which starts at 8 a.m. today at four sites. While the Sailors will attend the meet as a team, no team scores will be kept.

The tourney will give the players an opportunity to fight for first place in their respective singles and doubles divisions.

Mesa State College will play host to the singles matches, where Meagan Franks, Allison Griffing and Kim Heckbert will do battle for the Sailors.

The No. 1 and No. 2 doubles matches will be played at the Bookcliff Country Club and the No. 3 doubles matches will take place at the Valley Racquet Club.

The No. 4 doubles matches will be at Grand Junction High School.

Steamboat is one of only five 4A teams in the tourney.

Cherry Creek, the defending 5A state champion, will be joined by nine other 5A teams this weekend.

Aspen is the only 3A team in the event.

John Gibas, who coaches Cherry Creek, said his players are anticipating some tough matches. The Bruins, who won the state championship six of the past seven years, are 4-0 this season.

"We always look forward to it because the quality of competition is real good," Gibas said.

Carol Elliott, who coaches Grand Junction, said Cherry Creek is one of several talented teams that will compete in the tourney.

"It will be very competitive," Elliott said. "We have (Cherry) Creek coming over here and four other Denver teams. So, it's going to be a very tough tournament."

Teams from the 5A Classification in the tourney are Denver East, Durango, Fruita Monument, Grand Junction Central, Grand Junction, Greeley West, Cherry Creek, Overland, Arvada West and Rangeview. Grand Junction Central is putting on the tourney.

Steamboat is joined by Montezuma-Cortez, Glenwood Springs, Montrose and Pueblo Centennial out of the 4A Class.

Though the Sailors' singles players have been the strength of the team this year, the doubles teams also have done well, Harris said.

Kandra Sharp and Ali Fisher are in the No. 1 doubles slot, followed by Tara Weiss and Tiffany McGinn, who are in the No. 2 slot.

Laura Varsafsky and Sarah Davey form the Sailors' No. 3 doubles team and Stephanie Kammerer and Marissa Bucci are in the No. 4 doubles slot.

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