Burger family leads the way in city tennis championships | SteamboatToday.com

Burger family leads the way in city tennis championships

Austin Colbert

— Officially, brothers Jack and Teague Burger won the men's 4.5 doubles bracket of the 2015 City Tennis Championships on Sunday inside The Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs. However, their opponents aren't ready to admit defeat, at least not yet.

"They might get up on the trophy, but we are going to finish it for bragging rights some other time," C.J. Burger said. "We were coming back. Then my old calf muscle couldn't hang in there. That's what happens when you get old."

C.J. is the father of Jack and Teague, as well as his doubles partner, Keegan. The foursome made up the entirety of Sunday's 4.5 doubles championship, with Jack and Teague winning when C.J. was forced to withdraw after pulling a muscle in his leg during the match. At the time, Jack and Teague were up 6-3, 4-2.

The Burgers, a family that includes six children who all play tennis, have competed against each other in various capacities through the years in tournaments. A few years back, C.J., Jack, Keegan and Brian, the oldest of the children, made the finals of a doubles tournament together. This was the first time Teague, a freshman at Steamboat Springs High School, was able to join the other three.

"If Brian was around, I'm sure they would have selected Brian instead of me. I was the anchor in this foursome," C.J. said. "It's always fun to play with the kids. It's something we do as a family and it's something we'll do as a family for as long as we can walk. It's fun."

The family came together after the match to support Teague, who was also playing for the men's 4.5 singles championship against The Tennis Center's newest pro, New Mexico native Joseph "JoJo" O'Dell.

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O'Dell spent two years playing tennis collegiately at New Mexico State University before moving to Steamboat earlier this fall to work at The Tennis Center. He was a late addition to the tournament and was given the No. 1 seed. So, losing 7-5, 6-2 to Teague in the championship was a little bit of a letdown.

"I kind of let it get to me and he did better. So good for him," O'Dell said. "We knew how good he was and he played a really good match. I just wasn't consistent enough. There was a lot of pressure being one of his coaches."

Teague, the youngest of the six Burger children, said winning the championship match wasn't the highlight of his tournament. In the semifinal round, he defeated his older sister, Tatum, 6-2, 6-1 in what was one of the bigger upsets of the tournament. Tatum, a sophomore at SSHS, won the girls 4A state tennis championship as a freshman in the spring and has always had the leg up on her younger brother.

"She usually beats me," Teague said. "I played really well that match … she wasn't happy."

The other men's singles champions were Wyatt Stempel (7-6, 6-0 against John Hannaway in 3.5) and Richard Witty (6-2, 6-3 against Jim Webster in 4.0), both Steamboat residents. The men's 4.0 doubles championship went to John Holland and Donald Murphy, 6-1, 6-4 winners against Karl Bunker and Erik Griepentrog.

In the only women's singles tournament, a 3.5 level, Noelle Cerone defeated Steamboat's Teresa Long, 6-2, 6-3. Cerone, an eighth grader in Steamboat, already has nearly 15 tournament wins to her name, haven gotten involved in the sport after her older sister, Rachelle, did the same years ago.

"It was a pretty good day for me," said Cerone, who plans to play tennis for SSHS next season. "I struggled a little bit (in the final match), but I got back in the game."

In the women's 4.5 doubles final on Sunday, Steamboat's Rebecca Lamb and Oak Creek's Meg Tully partnered to defeat the Steamboat duo of Loretta Conway and Anya Cooper, 2-6, 6-1, 10-7. In the 4.0 doubles bracket, Michelle Campbell and Natasha Vissering Hutter, both of Denver, defeated the Steamboat duo of Julie Kennedy and Marci Valicenti, 6-0, 6-1.

The two remaining women's doubles tournaments were each played in round robin fashion. Wendi Appel and Annette Lynch went 3-0 to win the 3.0 bracket, while Long joined with Sharon Paulus to go 3-0 and win the 3.5 bracket.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert