Coach hoping hard knocks provide valuable lessons for Steamboat tennis | SteamboatToday.com

Coach hoping hard knocks provide valuable lessons for Steamboat tennis

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As a returning state championship finalist, there aren't a lot of players on the schedule who can knock Steamboat Springs High School sophomore Mae Thorp around the court.

That she found one in Poudre's Ky Ecton, the reigning Class 5A No. 1 singles champion was a good thing, Sailors' coach Kristyn Wykert said. She applied the same logic to her whole team, which struggled in a Friday dual against Poudre before rebounding for a strong morning against Thompson Valley.

"It’s fantastic to see her play players like this," Wykert said. "Honestly, across the board for the whole team it's great for the players to see a team like Poudre, where the players are a little better and have more experience."

Steamboat lost all seven varsity matches against Poudre. Thorp put up the biggest fight, falling 6-4, 6-3, and improvement from a 6-2, 6-0 loss against Ecton a week ago. (The pair can't meet in the postseason as Steamboat competes in Class 3A.)

Lily Fox at No. 2 singles also put up a strong showing, falling against Chloe Knape, 6-3, 6-3.

A day later, playing against Thompson Valley, Steamboat won four of seven head-to-head matches.

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Thorp won, 6-2, 6-2. Fox won, 6-1, 6-0 and Annika Fahrner won 6-4, 6-3. The team also got a win at No. 3 doubles from Este Wilkinson and Maddie Heydon, 6-4, 7-6(3).

"Today we took the experience from yesterday and picked up on some things we weren't doing well and capitalized on that," Wykert said. "We used that, then came out and got the W."

She came away just as impressed with the junior varsity team, which made the trip for both contests.

"The entire JV lineup impressed me. A lot of those girls who came out had never played before this season and we came away with a lot of wins," she said. "They just had the best attitudes, so when they came off the court you couldn't tell if they'd won or lost. That will go a long way in later matches because tennis is such a mental game."

The team is next in action Friday and Saturday for a tournament in Longmont.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.