Kitty Gwathmey swings to return a ball Sunday at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs. Gwathmey, 69, was playing in the Intermountain Tennis Association’s Senior Sectional Tennis Championships, and won the doubles bracket in her age division. She said it was the 16th consecutive year she's traveled to Steamboat for the senior's tournament.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Kitty Gwathmey swings to return a ball Sunday at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs. Gwathmey, 69, was playing in the Intermountain Tennis Association’s Senior Sectional Tennis Championships, and won the doubles bracket in her age division. She said it was the 16th consecutive year she's traveled to Steamboat for the senior's tournament.

Weekend tourney a success

Pair of Steamboat residents win titles at Senior Sectionals competition

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— She's lost a little off her serve and probably can't cover the same ground when returning a volley, but that didn't prevent Kitty Gwathmey from making her annual trip to Steamboat Springs, nor did it slow her on the court Sunday.

Kids swarmed the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs two weeks ago for a large 12-and-under tournament; it was the adults' turn Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Tennis Center played host to the Intermountain Tennis Association's Senior Sectional Tennis Championships for the ninth consecutive year and the 12th time in 16 years.

The 128 competitors ranging in age from younger than 40 to older than 70 swarmed 11 courts as the tournament overcame a string of weather delays and cool late-spring weather that kept players off several of the complex's clay courts.

"It went really well," tournament director Jim Swiggart said. "Even though we had a little bit of inclement weather and the dilemma of a late, late, late spring so the clay courts weren't up and running, we still came out OK."

It all proved plenty enough for Gwathmey, a 69-year-old competitor from Edwards.

She said she's been making the trip to Steamboat for seniors tournaments for 16 years and once again she was convinced to return in 2009.

That conviction wasn't even tied to her age-bracket doubles championship, a match she and playing partner Bonnie Champion won easily in two sets.

"They have the most wonderful facility here," Gwathmey said. "The tournament is so player-friendly and the people who run it just make it a great time. Jim (Swiggart) really makes it great."

Players from six mountain states played in the weekend tournament, with Steamboat locals emerging with a pair of age-division championships.

Christina Komara defeated Janne Siegel, also of Steamboat Springs, 6-1, 6-2, in the Women's 30 singles.

Swiggart, meanwhile, won the Men's 55 age division on the singles side.

For Swiggart, the accomplishment came despite keeping one eye on the overall tournament throughout his matches.

"It's definitely more difficult," he said of the double duty.

"The biggest problem (is) I need a 30-minute warmup, but I usually get out of the tournament chair and walk straight to the court, and that's not very smart."

- To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail jreichenberger@steamboatpilot.com

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