Former Steamboat Springs High School tennis player Ramsey Bernard has played on the biggest stage Colorado has to offer.
The 2008 graduate won a state title at No. 1 singles - the first player from Steamboat to do so - in dominating fashion.
Bernard didn't lose a set his senior year and cruised through the state championships.
But Bernard, now a freshman at Pomona College in California, said the play on that former stage is nothing compared to what he's seeing now.
"It's on a whole different level," Bernard said. "Sitting around watching is great because there is so much talent out here. There are so many great players. Tennis is great in Steamboat and it's great in Colorado, but going from 4A state to Division III tennis is a big jump. It's really challenging. There is just a lot of talent."
At Pomona, the year is split into to a fall and spring season. Bernard said the fall season is pretty laid back, with a lone Intercollegiate Tennis Association tournament. Even with his credentials, Bernard dropped his doubles matches in the tournament.
Now Bernard is focusing on finishing up school before Christmas while practicing for the spring season. Although coaches aren't allowed to be at practice, Bernard said, the team still works out daily in anticipation of the February spring season.
"We're young this year," Bernard said. "There is a bunch of freshman and sophomores, but everyone is really talented and really competitive. We all push each other, which is a good thing."
Bernard said he's not sure at what position he'll open for the spring season. His goal is to make the traveling team, which includes the top eight.
Initial signs are that he could play at the No. 3 through No. 8 positions, he said.
Either way, Bernard said that although he misses the mountains of Colorado and Steamboat in particular, he's having a great time playing tennis and enjoying the California sun.
"It's hard to pick out a goal as far as results go," Bernard said. "Since this is my first year, even though I've played that one tournament, I haven't seen the teams in our conference. I guess my goals internally are to focus. My goals with my game are to get my game where I want it to be."