Steamboat Springs High School tennis team looking to lock up regional title, state berths

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— The Steamboat Springs High School girls tennis team looks to be well on its way to another regional title and will be well-represented Thursday in the finals of the regional tennis tournament in Grand Junction.

A strong showing by all eleven players on the team in the opening rounds of the tournament helped Steamboat Springs advance players to the finals in all three singles spots and all four doubles slots. Steamboat is in good position to pick up the team’s 10th-straight regional title as the Sailors turn their focus to earning an invitation to state in Pueblo with a top finish.

“Our team played with a purpose today,” Sailors head coach John Aragon said. “This is truly a team effort."

Aragon thought the Sailors had earned enough points Wednesday to earn their 10th regional title, but he was not ready to claim it.

“I would say it’s 99 percent certain, but they have not done a final tally at this point,” Aragon said.

More important, he didn’t want his players to lower the level of play on the final day because he didn’t want them to lose a guaranteed spot for the state tournament. The regional champion in each position will advance to state. However, the second-place finishers could face a playback if they have not faced the third-place finishers in an earlier round of the tournament. In that case, the winner of the playback would earn the state berth.

“You don’t want to get caught in a playback situation because anything can happen,” Aragon said.

Steamboat’s Rachel Grubbs advanced to the regional final in the No. 1 slot with convincing wins over Durango’s Erin Neale, 6-1, 6-0, and Montrose’s Alyssa Arellano, 6-2, 6-4, on Wednesday. The Steamboat player will face Vail Mountain’s Camilla Trapness for the title in Thursday’s match.

The No. 2 singles tilt will feature Steamboat’s Ellie Bender and Vail Mountain’s Courtney Thomas. Bender defeated Glenwood’s Claire Wolcott, 6-0, 6-2, and Durango’s Sarah Harrelson, 6-1, 7-5, on Wednesday to keep her regional title hopes alive.

Steamboat’s Kira Lorenzen topped Aspen’s Emily Puder, 6-1, 6-2, and Montrose’s Meredith Mueller, 6-1, 6-1, in Wednesday’s matches. She will take on Glenwood’s Sadie Dickinson in Thursday’s finals at No. 3 singles.

Steamboat’s doubles teams also will be vying for regional titles thanks to a good showing Wednesday.

Steamboat’s No. 1 doubles team of Katie Spencer and Shealie Jenkins will go head to head with Durango’s Meredith Nass and Kit Hackett. The Steamboat team defeated Cedaredge, 6-1, 6-3, and Glenwood Springs, 6-3, 6-3, Wednesday.

Steamboat’s Maddie Labor and Brooke Metzler earned their spot in the finals at No. 2 doubles after beating Roaring Fork, 6-3, 6-0, and Durango, 6-1, 6-2, on the opening day. The team will face Glenwood Springs in the finals.

At No. 3 doubles, Steamboat’s Malia Fraioli and Hanna Haggarty will take on Cedaredge. On Wednesday, the Steamboat team defeated Durango, 6-2, 6-3, and Montrose, 6-3, 6-4.

Sabina Berend and Sydney Boyd filled in the last spot in the finals bracket for the Sailors late Wednesday afternoon with a 6-6, 6-2 win against Montezuma Cortez in the No. 4 doubles semifinals. The team beat Vail Mountain, 6-2, 6-4, earlier in the day.

Matches are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday in Grand Junction.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com

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