Steamboat Springs Getting back to the state championships is a priority for the members of the Steamboat Springs High School tennis team. The journey begins Friday.
"It's been a difficult and slow start," coach John Aragon said. "There are a lot of good girls in this region and 10 solid teams, but if our girls work hard in practice and listen to the coaches, there is no reason they can't do as well as or better than last year's team."
Last year, the Steamboat girls took the entire team to the state championships at Pueblo City Park and finished fourth. Breanne Murray placed second at No. 2 singles, and her teammate Lisa Floyd placed fourth at No. 3 singles.
Both players will return to the Sailors lineup this year. Murray will step into the No. 1 position, which had been held by Kelli Parnell, who graduated. The team also will have to fill the spots vacated by Brittany DeGroff and Stacy Cavanagh.
The lineup shuffle continues at No. 2 singles. Floyd moved up a spot with hopes of repeating Murray's success of a year ago.
But with more than 30 players vying for this year's varsity team, Aragon said the rest of the lineup still is being decided. The Sailors were scheduled to play challenge matches Wednesday.
Among the players battling for spots are Molly Weiss, Shelby Reed, Kristin Toy, Rebecca Timmerman, Anya Salzgeber and Kerry Enochs. Each was on last year's state qualifying team.
Aragon said other players, including Lauren Marias, Natalie Nichols, Alisa Krueger, Katie Birch Holly and Heidi Hillenbrand, also are making bids for varsity spots.
"We are still trying to figure out exactly where everyone is going to fit in this lineup," Aragon said. "We should have it figured out (today), but we have a lot of talent."
Steamboat will take the court at 3:30 p.m. Friday against Eaton at The Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs.
"They always have a pretty solid team, and we are expecting a very good match," Aragon said. "I think everybody is ready to get rolling and excited about this match."