Steamboat Springs senior Kelli Parnell was tapped emotionally coming into Thursday's tennis matches.
Since returning from their spring break vacation in Mexico, Parnell and her family had been preparing for Sober Prom, the high school's annual assembly urging prom-goers to forgo drinking because of its consequences. Prom is Saturday.
On Thursday morning, Parnell "died" of alcohol poisoning, as friends and family members mourned her loss in the disturbingly real skit. On Thursday afternoon, Parnell defeated Vail Mountain School's Briton Bock, 6-4, 6-0.
In the first set, Parnell was admittedly sloppy. In the second set, she turned it on.
"It's been a long week," she said. "Thursday was like a funeral. There was a casket on stage. It was really emotional. I hope it meant something to everyone."
Between spring break and prom, the Steamboat spring sports teams have to deal with several distractions with the postseason approaching. Coach Don Toy dislikes the timing, but he knows the team must work through it -- much like Parnell did in Thursday's win.
"You build up to get better and better and then break. The rest of Colorado is playing in big tournaments," he said. "We finally had a good practice Wednesday, but it took three practices of John (Aragon) and I nagging."
Lisa Floyd, Steamboat's No. 3 singles player, and the No. 4 doubles team of Anya Salzgeber and Kerry Enochs did not go on vacation and played like it, Toy said.
Salzgeber and Enochs defeated Katherine Czerkin and Ana Smith, 6-0, 6-0. Floyd beat Paige Bennett by the same score.
Steamboat won 7-0, though Vail Mountain School played well in its first year as a program.
"I do feel good about the way I'm playing," Floyd said. "I have improved so much since the beginning of the season."
Floyd, who is 8-0 in dual matches this season, is eyeing a top seed when regionals open Thursday in Grand Junction. The top two players or doubles teams will advance to state.
Before regionals begin, Steamboat has a chance to fine-tune its game against Glenwood Springs and Roaring Fork today, weather permitting.
No. 2 singles player Breanne Murray, the No. 1 doubles team of Stacy Cavanagh and Molly Weiss and the duo of Salzgeber and Enochs are unbeaten in dual matches, as well. Pending the outcome of this weekend's matches, all the Sailors players have a shot at top seeds.