Steamboat Springs Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Nolan Connell's name.
The Steamboat Springs 14-and-under coed tennis team scored a second-place finish at the Green Dot Ball National Championships in Las Vegas last weekend, but what the team brought home was bigger than any trophy.
Consisting of Nolan Connell, Mae Thorp, Noelle Cerone, Annika Fahrner, John Hannaway and Ethan Paulus, the team showed well in the 12-team field playing at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Cerone and Paulus were so good, in fact, that they were voted most valuable players by their competitors, and each received an autographed tennis ball from the legendary tennis pro Billie Jean King.
It was the style of play that really stood out for the team, however. The tournament was in the World Team Tennis format, which encourages loud cheers where traditional tennis demands silence. Players can be swapped in for teammates mid-match, and the whole atmosphere is one of fun.
“This tournament was unlike any the kids had ever participated in,” coach Loretta Conway said. “Everyone came home wanting more, so look for a WTT type of tournament at the Tennis Center of Steamboat soon.”
Next up for youth tennis in Steamboat is the middle school tennis team, which begins play Oct. 18 using the World Team Tennis format.
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9