Sailors sweep region titles

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— The Steamboat Springs tennis team won its eighth-straight Region 8 title Saturday and is sending all 11 players to the Class 4A state tennis tournament in Pueblo.

All three singles players and the four doubles teams captured regional crowns in Montrose on Saturday, which should give several of the Sailors favorable draws when the tournament opens Thursday.

Steamboat scored 84 points, defeating runner-up Montrose by 25. The team title was almost a lock before the Sailors left Steamboat, but it was unknown whether the team would sweep the individual podiums, because it hadn't seen most of the other regional teams.

"I was surprised, just because there were some good opponents there," Steamboat coach John Aragon said of the seven regional titles. "I know all these kids wanted to take first and win this thing outright."

In addition to the names of the players, Steamboat is going to put Adele Dombrowski's name on the regional trophy. Dombrowski, a senior who recently passed away, was the team manager. Playing hard to honor her has been a team goal, Aragon said.

Several Steamboat players cruised through the regional tournament. Ramsey Bernard (No. 2 singles), Ryan McNamara (No. 3 singles), and Scott Peterson and Brian Behrman (No. 4 doubles), each dropped just three games total in their two matches.

Walker Loetscher (No. 1 singles), Taylor Reed and Nick Ludolph (No. 1 doubles) and Jon Reese and Brian Aragon (No. 2 doubles) had a little more difficulty, but they still won in straight sets.

The only Steamboat pair needing three sets to win a regional title was Jesse Schaller and Dylan Roberts at No. 3 doubles. After winning the first set, 6-0, on Saturday, they dropped the second to the Montrose pair of Ken Nunez and Andrew Kintz, 6-2, setting up the all-important final set.

Steamboat pulled out the 6-4 victory.

"We went three sets in one of ours," Aragon said. "We shouldn't have, but you are playing Montrose in Montrose, and they had a lot of fans. It was a good final."

The state tournament pairings won't be announced until Monday, but the Sailors are hoping for a great team finish and individual medals in Pueblo.

Steamboat is playing the best tennis of the season.

"They are really under control and fighting for points," Aragon said "That's a real good sign right now heading to the state tournament, because you have to be real selfish down there with winning points."

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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