Steamboat Springs This weekend represents everything Steamboat Springs sophomore Shelby Reed has practiced, worked and played for since the girl's high school tennis season began in March.
"This is it," Reed said. "I want to make sure I give it everything and leave it all out there on the court."
Reed advanced to the final day of last year's state tournament before losing to Mullen's Kimber Roberts in the match for third place. Reed came away from her first state tournament with a fourth-place medal and a desire to do even better.
"I really want to get into the top three this time around," Reed said. "That would be a step forward for me, and I feel like it is within reach."
The entire Steamboat Springs High School girl's tennis team is looking forward to stepping forward at the 2007 state tournament, which opens at 9 a.m. Thursday morning at Pueblo City Park. The tournament will continue Friday with playbacks and the semifinal round. The championship rounds and third- and fourth-place matches are scheduled for Saturday.
"This really is what our girls have been looking forward to all season," coach John Aragon said. "Our girls just have to realize that they are capable of winning and capable of winning at state."
The coach said after watching the team roll to a third straight regional title in Grand Junction last weekend, confidence should not be a problem.
"Our girls not only thought, but expected that they were going to win every match," Aragon said. "If they have that same attitude this weekend, there is no reason we shouldn't win a state title this time around."
But Aragon said if the team is going to get to that point, each player and each doubles team is going to have to take one match and one point at a time.
"We can't look past anybody," Aragon said. "The competition at state is tough, and the matches are going to be close."
Aragon said he likes where Steamboat sits in the brackets. To make a run at a state title, Steamboat will need four or five spots in the semifinals.
The coach feels singles players Lisa Floyd, Breanne Murray and Reed all have good draws.
Floyd will need to take care of first-round opponent Mikele Smith of Machebeuf, but she is on the opposite side of the bracket from Cheyenne Mountain senior Casey Wetzig, who is considered one of the top players in the state.
Murray will open against Fossil Ridge sophomore Michelle Wadas but will avoid top players from Niwot, Greeley West and Cheyenne Mountain in the first few rounds. She will still need to be at the top of her game, however, with players like Mullen's Cari Hudson gunning for a title.
Reed also has a good draw, but if she advances, she could come face to face with Greeley West senior Jennah Kitchell in the semifinals.
The two players have similar styles, and Aragon said it would take a great deal of patience for Reed to win. However, he feels his player has developed the weapons to beat the Greeley West standout.
The Sailors' No. 1 doubles team of Molly Weiss and Kristin Toy also have a favorable draw, and Aragon said if they play up to snuff they should find themselves in the semifinals.
But if the Sailors want to win the team title, they will need some help from the other doubles team, which is relatively young. Aragon expects big things from teams Kylee Swiggart and Kirsten Brehmer at No. 2, Kerry Enochs (also a state veteran) and Sara Bearss at No. 3 and Valerie and Alexis Lezin at No. 4.
"All of those teams are very capable, and a couple of them got great draws," Aragon said. "But this is state, and as always we will just have to wait and see what happens."