Steamboat tennis struggles in Grand Junction

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— Stefan Sortland placed fourth Saturday at No. 3 singles to lead the Steamboat Springs High School tennis squad in the two-day Western Slope Open in Grand Junction. Even though plenty of his teammates dealt with rough matches, Sailors coach Don Toy said the weekend was an overly positive experience.

Sortland advanced to the semifinals before slipping into fourth, rounding out a strong weekend. Both Gabri Erspamer at No. 2 singles and the No. 1 doubles team of Corbin Diehl and Ben Wharton were sixth in the tournament.

Elsewhere, Toy said it was rough going but that the weekend made for crucial experience. He pointed specifically to Matthew White and Aiden Gibbs at No. 4 doubles and Zach Dunklin and Joe Borgerding at No. 3 doubles.

“I was really proud of those guys,” he said.

Steamboat returns to action at 4 p.m. Friday in Steamboat against Aspen, a crucial match that pits two regional rivals against each other.

“It was a tough tournament, but you can just watch those kids, even the older ones, in each match and see how much they improve,” Toy said. “Things didn’t work out great, but their effort was there, and I was really proud of all of them.”

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