Tuesday, November 2, 2004
Steamboat Springs tennis player Jamey Swiggart was one of a dozen boys named to this year's 12-and-under Team Colorado.
"This is an awesome opportunity for Jamey," said John Aragon, the head junior pro and junior director at the Tennis Center. "He will get to play with some of the top tennis players in the state and possibly the country."
Team Colorado is a junior training program designed to enhance the performance of the state's top players at sectional and national tournaments. The squad was selected earlier this month at a "viewing day" at Ken Caryl Ranch, where the six coaches of Team Colorado evaluated the top 12-and-under tennis players in the state. The coaches weigh the young players' performances during viewing day, their records during the past season, their potential for development and sportsmanship when selecting the team.
"From top to bottom, this is one of the most talented groups of boys we've had at a viewing day since I've been involved," said Jason Colter, the Colorado Tennis Association's director of player development.
Swiggart was invited to attend the Team Colorado viewing day, along with 24 other boys and 14 girls, based on his performance at several tournaments during the past 12 months.
Aragon said Swiggart is the only player from Steamboat on Team Colorado, but there are several other Steamboat players he thinks could be named to the team.
"There are a lot of solid tennis players in Steamboat, but they need to get out and play the tournament circuit if they want this kind of opportunity," Aragon said.
That's what Swiggart did.
In the past year, the 10-year-old has played in five major tournaments and plans to attend another during the Thanksgiving weekend.
After viewing day, Swiggart was one of 12 players selected to be a part of the team. Others were Jack Burger, Ashton Blair, Parker Curry, Tyler Engel, Alex Gnaegy, Dylan Gust, Taylor Lambert, Jack Reynolds, Hayden Sabatka, Matt Sayre and Jensen Teague. The coaches also viewed 14 of the top 12-and-under girls in the state. Those players were competing for eight spots. Lindsay Barlow, Natalie Dunn, Erin Gebes, Jessika Mozia, Brittany Ricci, Meha Semwal, Caitlyn Shafner and Brittany Warly-Solsberg were named to the team.
Swiggart will follow in the footsteps of several other Steamboat players who have taken part in Team Colorado. The most recent class included Steamboat Springs High School freshman Ramsey Bernard, who won a state title in the No. 3 singles bracket this fall in Pueblo. Alexandra Leatu, who grew up playing in Steamboat's junior program before moving to Denver, was a member of the team last season.