Now 11, Kirsten Brehmer has been playing tennis off and on since she was 3, but this summer she wants to focus on the sport to see what she can do.
This weekend's Intermountain 12 and under Memorial Day Championships is her first tournament -- ever. Hosted by the Tennis Center, this even provided the tennis player the perfect opportunity to get her start in competitive play at home.
Her first-round opponent, Caroline Schnell of Englewood, won easily 6-0, 6-0, but Brehmer was all smiles under her orange visor.
"I think it's really fun," Brehmer said.
Schnell went 2-0 on the day against Steamboat Springs players, defeating Alexandra Leatu in the morning match 6-4, 7-6 (3).
Leatu, at just 9, is no stranger to tournament play, though she is several years younger than some of the entrants in her draw.
Brehmer and Leatu continue tournament play today, along with the three other players representing Steamboat at the tournament.
Held on clay and hard courts, this weekend's tournament has brought top young talent in Colorado and surroundings states to Steamboat.
Lisa Floyd is Steamboat's only seeded player -- No. 3 --in the tournament, but Kalea Traveller upset the 12-year-old Floyd 7-6 (8), 6-3.
Traveller, a resident of St. George, Utah, is the lone player from outside Colorado in the girls' draw.
On the boys' side, however, two players -- Ross Morrell and Andrew Warren -- came all the way from Idaho to compete against players from Colorado and Utah.
Jordy Bernard and Jamey Swiggart are the two Steamboat players in the boys' draw. Warren defeated Bernard, 11, in the opening round 6-0, 6-0, and Calahan Larson from Provo, Utah, defeated the young Steamboat player in the next round, 7-5, 6-2.
Swiggart, Steamboat's youngest player in the tournament at just 8, lost his two matches on Friday as well. Trey Kennedy of Salt Lake City defeated Swiggart 6-1, 6-1, and Grand Junction's Benjamin Scissors beat Swiggart 6-1, 6-0.
Holding a racquet with a head larger than his own, Swiggart didn't appear overly upset about his defeats. He knew playing older players wouldn't be easy.
"I just wanted a challenge," he said.
He added that he found one, as the older players displayed their skill and experience by hitting countless crosscourt shots.
All five of Steamboat's players will resume play today. Leatu takes the court first at 8:30 a.m. against Mattison Sperry of Greeley.
Bernard and Swiggart play at 10 a.m. against Joseph Aragon of Greeley and Matt Sweet of Salt Lake City, respectively.
Floyd plays Cherry Hills Village's Kameryn Downing at 11:30 a.m. Brehmer also takes the court at about 11:30 a.m. Her opponent is No. 4 seed Ashley Sanders of Littleton.
Fans are encouraged to come watch the tournament, which wraps up Memorial Day. Admission is free.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail email@example.com