Steamboat Springs High School boys tennis picks up 1st win of season |

Steamboat Springs High School boys tennis picks up 1st win of season

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs High School doubles player Stefan Sortland returns a ball during a match Saturday at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs.

— One look on Saturday at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs revealed the natural progression of Gabri Erspamer.

He's no longer a runt. He no longer plays doubles, and he no longer seems soft spoken.

Instead the Steamboat Springs High School senior has grown into a man. He's added two inches and filled out his frame. And his tennis game isn't bad, either.

Erspamer helped Steamboat to a 1-1 record Saturday as the team sneaked by Rocky Mountain, 4-3, before falling to perennial power Kent Denver, 7-0.

"Gabri really competed well," Steamboat coach Don Toy said.

After winning his first match Friday and finding himself in control in his second one before having to default because of cramps, Erspamer helped pace the Sailors in Saturday's two tilts.

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Against Rocky Mountain, he beat Isaac Smith at No. 2 singles, 6-4, 6-7, 10-8. Against Kent Denver, Erspamer played two strong sets before falling.

"I've sensed (the added strength) more these first matches," said Erspamer, who now is 6-foot-1. "I never played as well as I did (Friday). And (Saturday), I played really well, too."

Erspamer contributed his amped up game to work through fitness work this summer. The work has started to pay off. Erspamer was one of the most impressive players this weekend for a significantly inexperienced team.

"I've been more into the sport than I have in a long time," he said. "I hope it's just the start. There is always room for improvement. I want to reach my goal of state."

Also helping Steamboat pick up its first win were three doubles teams. The No. 1 doubles team of Corbin Diehl and Stefan Sortland, No. 2 doubles team of Quinn Cain and Nick Mathews and the No. 3 doubles team of Zach Dunklin and Aiden Gibbs picked up wins against Rocky Mountain.

"We'll be a different team in a couple weeks," Toy said. "I wanted to see who had some drive in them. I wanted to see who wanted to compete. I'm getting a good idea. This weekend was all about experience."

The team next plays Sept. 5 at home against Air Academy.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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