Swinging ahead

Eight Sailors alive in playbacks of state tourney

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Although none of the 11 players Steamboat Springs sent to the Class 4A boys state tennis tournament advanced to today's semi-final round, the three team points the Sailors scored Thursday are three more than they earned in 2002.

Steamboat Springs sits in a three-way tie for 10th place after day one in Pueblo, with eight players still alive in the tournament's playback format. "If I can get half of those kids in the playbacks and two to medal (a top-four finish), we'll have a chance to stay in the top 10," Steamboat Springs coach John Aragon said. "I think we had some pretty good performances today, but as far as leaving it all on the court, leaving their hearts on the court, it didn't happen."

Aragon said he was disappointed that Steamboat Springs' No. 3 singles player Taylor Reed and the No. 2 doubles team of Danny Weiss and Jon Reese didn't advance past the opening round.

They are the three Sailors who were eliminated Thursday, and Aragon said his team's youth led to some nervous play on the part of several players.

The three points Steamboat Springs scored were provided by Patrick Ayres at No. 2 singles, Jesse Speare-Schaller and Brandon Shenfield at No. 3 doubles and Dylan Roberts and Brian Behrman at No. 4 doubles. Those players all won opening-round matches for the Sailors before losing, all in straight sets, in the quarter finals.

Roberts and Behrman had the toughest first-round match, winning their first set against a Mountain View duo 6-1, then dropping the second 2-6, before rebounding to win the third set 6-3. But they were then swept away 6-0, 6-0 by Kent Denver in the quarters.

Ayres won 6-1, 6-3 in the first round, then fell 6-0, 6-3 to Kyle Brown of Pueblo South. Speare-Schaller and Shenfield beat La Junta 6-4, 6-4, but were then beaten by Lewis-Palmer 6-2, 6-0.

"We played pretty well in the first match, but Lewis-Palmer was a lot better than that first team," Shenfield said. "We've got to come out tomorrow ready to play -- it would be cool if we could medal."

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