Tennis team plays waiting game

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— The sound of the clock on the wall constantly reminds Kelli Parnell just how painfully slow time can crawl.

With no more tennis matches until the regional tournament, the Steamboat Springs sophomore will be haunted by the clock's steady march through time for the next 11 days until the regional tournament begins in Grand Junction.

"I know that the time is going to move very slowly because I'm so excited about this competition," Parnell said.

The Sailors' No. 2 singles player will have to endure seven days of smaller, less intense practices during spring break. That period will be followed by four days of more intense preparation as the entire team prepares for regionals.

"The timing isn't ideal, coach Beccy Brane said. "We have spring break followed by our biggest meet of the season."

Brane said the team will continue to hold practices during the break, but admitted the team really won't be able to focus on the regional tournament until April 28.

"I'm going to be missing a lot of the girls this week, so we will have to wait to gear up for the regional," Brane said. "Even with the break I think our girls will be ready. It has been a long season for our team and most of the girls really needed a short break."

After finishing first in the region last year as a freshman, Parnell is looking forward to making another run at the state tournament and improving on her results. "I went out in the first round at state last year," Parnell said. "Mentally, I don't think I was ready to play tennis."

Parnell said she felt intimidated by her opponents at the state meet last year, which made her nervous.

"I'm going to take it one match at a time this year and just try to have fun and stay patient" Parnell said.

Convincing wins over Jennifer Leddy of Aspen (6-0, 6-0) and Chelsea DeRonde (6-1, 6-0) during a pair of matches last weekend should help. Parnell was also leading Glenwood's Celeste Cashel before rain interrupted the final dual of the season last weekend in Glenwood.

Parnell's victories came during the Sailors final regular-season matches of the season in Aspen and Glenwood Saturday.

Steamboat lost to Aspen 5-2, and beat Longmont 4-3 before heading to Glenwood. That match was called because of the weather.

Kim Heckbert was the only other Sailor to pick up a point in Steamboat's loss to Aspen. She handled Alex Leddy 5-7, 6-4 and 7-5 in the No.1 singles bracket.

Steamboat's Heckbert, Parnell and Ali Fisher swept the singles matches against Longmont. Martha Bender and Iva Volovic also won their match in the No. 2 doubles slot.

"I'm very pleased with the way everybody is playing right now," Brane said. "I think these matches will help us carry some momentum into the regional."

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