Steamboat tennis qualifies 6 players to state |

Steamboat tennis qualifies 6 players to state

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs High School boys tennis team couldn't slow an Aspen steamroller on Wednesday but still managed to qualify four entries and six total athletes to the Class 3A state tennis tournament.

Steamboat will send Wyatt Stempel at No. 2 singles, Roy Lundeen at No. 3 singles, John Hannaway and Luke Borgerding at No. 1 doubles and Gabe Rabanal and Kyle Nilsson at No. 2 doubles to play starting Thursday in Greeley at the state championships.

"I'm really happy for the kids who made it," coach Joseph O'Dell said. "We played pretty well for the most part, though we did have a couple outcomes that were heartbreaking."

That heartbreak came in the playback round.

The tournament only featured four teams, so it took one match to make the championship round. Aspen dominated there, winning in all seven spots, with three singles players and four doubles teams.

The top two finishers from the region advance to state, but it takes another round to determine which two finishers that is. The loser of that championship match has to turn around and play the third-place team so long as it’s not the team it already beat.

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That meant Steamboat had five teams that all finished second, then had to immediately turn around and play again for their spot at state.

Three of those entries lost, including Ethan Paulus at No. 1 singles, Will Coon and Bridger Boyd at No. 3 doubles and Johnny Barkal and Brayden MacDougal at No. 4 doubles.

"That’s definitely not an easy match to play," O’Dell said.

It added up to a second-place finish for the Sailors in the team standings.

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