Parnell lone SSHS athlete in finals

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It would have been easy for members of the Steamboat Springs girls tennis team to pack up and come home from Grand Junction, but the Sailors decided to stay and support Kelli Parnell.

Parnell, the No. 2 singles player for Steamboat, was the lone athlete to make it into today's finals at the regional tennis tournament at Mesa State College.

But everyone decided to stay and cheer her on as she attempts to win regionals and gain an automatic spot in the state tennis tournament May 8-10 in Pueblo.

The top two players advance, so if Parnell should lose to Montrose's Krista Herr in the finals, she may be involved in a playback situation with a trip to state on the line.

Parnell qualified last year in the No. 3 singles slot.

Despite the fact that Parnell was the only one with matches, and the fact that prom is tonight, the other singles and doubles players from Steamboat decided to stay to support her, co-coach Carol Bailey said. Even to the surprise of Parnell.

"She was so excited," Bailey said.

Parnell is 2-1 against Herr this season, but Bailey said Parnell's familiarity with Herr and the success Parnell has had against the Montrose player is little reason to relax.

"Kelli knows her, but Kelli also knows (Krista) is a very good player," Bailey said. "I don't think she's at ease at all."

Parnell advanced to today's finals after defeating Delta's Jasmine Wilson in the quarterfinals, 6-4, 6-1, and Paonia's Ivy Abshire, 6-0, 6-3, in the semifinals.

Steamboat's No. 1 singles player Kimberly Heckbert fell in the quarterfinals to Glenwood Springs' Courtney McCallum, 3-6, 4-6, to end her season and high school tennis career.

The same was true for senior Ali Fisher at No. 3 singles.

She won her quarterfinals match against Paonia's Julia Bartlett, 6-3, 6-1, but lost in the semifinals, 4-6, 0-6, to Molly Axelson of Glenwood.

In a play back, Fisher fell to Cedaredge's Stacy Park, 6-7 (3-7), 3-6.

"The girls that Kim and Ali played, played the best tennis of their entire season; what we call 'in the trees,'" Bailey said. "Our girls tried everything. Their opponents peaked at the right time. It's too bad it was against our girls."

In the No. 1 doubles, Amanda Toy and Stacy Cavanagh lost to the Cortez team of Cassie Carver and Amanda Norris, 2-6, 0-6, and were not able to play back.

The No. 2 doubles team of Megan Mooney and Martha Bender won their opening round match against Delta's Genevieve Gallegos and Kathleen Shaw, 6-1, 6-2, but fell in the quarterfinals, 4-6, 2-6, to Glenwood's Regina Waltzak and Jackie West.

In Mooney and Bender's play back, Mooney hyperextended her knee, forcing the pair to withdraw from their match.

"We just didn't want her to injure her knee further," Bailey said.

Steamboat's No. 3 doubles team of Cori Evans and Elizabeth Salzgeber won their opening round match, 6-4, 6-3, over Cortez's Amanda Schuster and Jane Theobold, but they turned around and lost in the quarterfinals to Glenwood's Maggie Tolan and Lisa Sciathoff, 2-6, 6-2, 2-6.

They did not have a play back match.

In the No. 4 doubles match between Steamboat's Adele Dombrowski and Anya Salzgeber and Delta's Torrey Mulford and Stephanie Ellison, Dombrowski and Salzgeber came out on top, 6-3, 3-1, after one of Delta's girls got sick and had to retire.

Dombrowski and Salzgeber fell in the quarterfinals, 4-6, 1-6, to Jenna Scharf and Meridith Brown of Montrose.

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