Steamboat Springs Even the tennis courts in Steamboat Springs couldn't escape the effects of the wildfires destroying portions of Colorado.
Because of mandatory evacuations issued in areas surrounding the out-of-control blazes, several entrants in the U.S. Tennis Association's Intermountain Senior Sectional Championships held in Steamboat over the weekend were forced to take excused defaults and return home.
Ken Sauer, a resident of Carbondale, was scheduled to play Steamboat's Jim Swiggart in the finals Sunday afternoon, setting up the anticipated match between the No. 1 and 2 seeds in the Men's 50 Singles. However, Becky Brane, a local tennis pro, said Sauer lived in an area under evacuation orders and had to leave.
Consequently, Swiggart claimed the title and the coveted No. 1 seed in his division in the Intermountain Region. However, Sauer and the several others given excused defaults won't be penalized with a loss.
Swiggart and partner and long-time tennis opponent Theo Mandel of Boulder won the Men's 50 Doubles, defeating Littleton pair Ty Berry and Martin Nye 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Several other Steamboat full- and part-time residents fared well in the Senior Sectional tournament as well.
Jo Geier and partner Lou Johnston placed second in the Women's 60 Doubles. Molly Orr finished fourth in the Women's 55 Singles after she was granted an excused default. Maurie Pelto and Gil Perry dropped a 6-3, 6-2 contest to Bob Selleck and Alvie Willis to come in second.
Priscilla Sisson finished No. 2 in the Women's 50 Singles and fourth in the Women's 45 Doubles with partner Janice Simpson.
Longtime resident Bill Hill, now a homeowner in Grand Junction, finished fourth in the Men's 65 Singles after defaulting to return home as well.
The tournament was held at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs for the seventh time in the 10-year history of the event. With the large number of clay courts in excellent condition, Steamboat appears to be a perfect fit for the tournament and its contestants 165 this year.
During the Senior Sectionals, two lift tickets donated by the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. were up for grabs.
The winners of the drawing for the lift tickets were Walt Steige of Estes Park and Scott Collius of Littleton.
The next big tournament at the Tennis Center is the Steamboat Tennis Association's Old West Steakhouse Mixed Double Championships on June 21-23. Brane said a large local contingent enters this tournament but several vacationers make it a point to be in Steamboat specifically for this tournament. The money collected goes to support the popular local junior tennis program.