Sailors still in contention for state tennis bids

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— It wasn’t quite the showing Steamboat Springs High School tennis coach Don Toy was expecting from his team in the first round of matches at regionals, but a few players still are in contention for state tournament bids.

Senior Ben Wharton will compete in the No. 3 singles final, and the Sailors No. 1 doubles team of Zach Dunklin and Quinn Cain, No. 3 doubles team of Joe Borgerding and Mathew White, and No. 4 doubles team of Nick Sear and Peter Wharton will play for championships. The finals matches begin at 9 a.m. Saturday.

As a team, Steamboat is in third place behind Aspen and Durango heading into the final day in Grand Junction.

“I knew Durango and Aspen were very tough, especially in No. 1 and 2 singles,” Toy said. “That didn’t surprise me how well they’ve done. What did surprise me in certain situations (was) how even though we lost in the semifinal, how we didn’t come back and win the playback. We let pressure get to us.”

Senior Corbin Diehl, the Sailors’ top singles player, lost in straight sets to a player from Vail whom he beat earlier in the season. Likewise, Steamboat No. 2 singles player Troy DeJong lost his semifinal and playback match, eliminating him from competition.

Diehl’s loss leaves him as the lone senior on the outside looking in.

“It was rough for Corbin. He took it hard,” Toy said. “He knew what it meant for the team and obviously himself. It was a big match. … It was tough to see, especially for Corbin, who’s a wonderful kid. I love him to death.”

The Sailors coach was pleased with effort in some areas and discouraged in others, he said. The combo of Dunklin and Cain in the No. 1 doubles finals could be the brightest spot as the duo eyes the state championships in Pueblo.

“I expect the best from those guys,” Toy said about Dunklin and Cain. “They know it, and I know it.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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