High school tennis teams statewide gathered in Grand Junction over the weekend for what Steamboat Springs boys coach John Aragon said is one of the largest tournaments of its kind in Colorado.
The Sailors had few chances to face regional opponents in the 18-team Western Slope Tournament field, but the Steamboat boys did have the opportunity to measure themselves against quality singles and doubles players from larger schools in the Denver metro area.
"It was a very tough tournament," Aragon said. "It was good for our kids. The top level schools there have the kids with all the shots, and mentally they know how to set them up and can execute them on the court."
Steamboat's singles and doubles players managed to compete with players from schools such as Cherry Creek, Ralston Valley and Grand Junction.
"We played right with those guys," Aragon said. "They had to work to beat us."
Patrick Ayres and Taylor Reed, Steamboat's No. 2 and No. 3 singles players, each went 2-2 during the two-day tournament at Mesa State College.
Ayres won his opening-round match against Cherry Creek's Chris DeBoer, 7-5, 6-4. He then took Grandview's Quinn Steege to two-set tiebreaks in the next round before Steege broke Ayres' serve just enough to win, 7-6(7-4), 7-6(7-5).
"It was a great match," Aragon said.
Reed lost his opening round match but rallied in the consolations, going 2-1. The consolation rounds consisted of one, eight-game pro set.
Jonathan Solomon, the Sailors' No. 1 singles player, went 1-3 on the weekend, defeating Montrose's Bill Erickson, 8-2.
Steamboat's No. 2, 3 and 4 doubles teams all picked up wins at the Western Slope Tournament as well.
Jon Reese and Danny Weiss (No.2) defeated Green Mountain's Matt Embrick and Kevin Mair, 6-2, 6-1 in the opening round. The No. 4 team of Brian Berhman and Dylan Roberts defeated David White and Michael Wilksow in the opening round, 6-1, 6-1.
Both Steamboat teams dropped their next two consolation matches to finish 1-2 in the tournament.
The Sailors' No. 3 doubles team of Brian Aragon and Jesse Speare-Schaller defeated Chris Warner and Sam Walker in the consolation round, 8-1.
Steamboat's No. 1 doubles team of Alex Griffing and Nick Ludolph dropped both their matches to doubles teams from Durango and Green Mountain.
After nearly one month of road matches, the Sailors will play on their home court this weekend in matches against Hotchkiss and Cedaredge.
Steamboat hosts Hotchkiss at 11 a.m. on Saturday at The Tennis Center. Steamboat turns around and faces Cedaredge at 1 p.m. Spectators are welcome at all the high school matches.
--To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org