STA youth championships to start Friday

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— Tennis players from Steamboat Springs will take the courts Friday looking for titles and promoting youth tennis in the Yampa Valley.

"It's always exciting to see the next generation coming up," said Bill Krueger, president of the Steamboat Tennis Association.

Krueger said the 2009 STA Summer Championships is one of the biggest events the local organization hosts each year. The money raised from the event supports local high school tennis teams, and it also is used for grants awarded to young players who may not be able to afford the sport.

This year's STA tournament begins at 3 p.m. Friday at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs. Play continues Saturday and into Sunday afternoon. A dinner and live auction are from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday. The winner of a drawing for tickets to this year's U.S. Open, Aug. 31 to Sept. 13 in New York, will be announced.

The dinner will be held at the Catamount Lakehouse Restaurant. The tournament entry fee includes the dinner for players. Non-players can purchase tickets for $25. However, tickets to that event nearly were sold out Wednesday.

"This is a major source (of funding) for youth tennis in Steamboat Springs," Krueger said. "We don't do a lot of fundraisers, so this one is pretty big for the STA."

The format of the tournament will depend on the number of players in each bracket, which are set according to ability. Brackets range from 2.5 to 5.0 in men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles and mixed doubles.

The Steamboat Tennis Association has 150 memberships, both individual and family, in Steamboat Springs.

The main goal of the group is to promote tennis, especially youth tennis, in Steamboat Springs. However, the STA also hosts several social events throughout the year in an effort to promote major tennis events here in the Yampa Valley.

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