Sailors tennis takes early lead |

Sailors tennis takes early lead

Team holds lead against Aspen at regional tournament

Luke Graham

— If a team wants to break the Steamboat Springs High School boys tennis team’s stranglehold on the Western Slope region, they’ll have to come from behind to do it.

After one day of play at the regional tournament in Montrose, Steamboat held a 52-48 lead against Aspen, with all of its doubles teams and two singles players advancing to today’s finals.

“We’re in a great position,” Steamboat head coach John Aragon said. Today “we have to go out and play like we’ve been playing.”

If the Sailors continue playing like they have, it will mean a 10th consecutive regional title and a berth to the state tournament as a team.

While Steamboat is almost assured a team berth at state – the top two teams from the region advance – Aragon said today is more about continuing the Sailors’ dominance in the region.

“We’re playing to close out that regional title because it is pretty close,” Aragon said. “We still need to come out well (today) and play with a purpose.”

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The lone Sailors player not to advance to the finals was No. 2 singles player Matt Gadbois, who plays for third place today. Despite missing the finals, Gadbois still has a chance to make the state tournament.

The championship match pits players from Montrose and Aspen. If the player from Montrose wins, Gadbois would be in a playback match against the competitor from Aspen for the right to go to state.

“Matt has a good chance at it,” Aragon said. “He just has to keep winning.”

While most of the other Sailors’ players and teams breezed through the day, the No. 1 doubles team of Charlie Smith and Alex Gibbs and the No. 2 doubles team of Jack and Keegan Burger had difficult matches Thursday.

Smith and Gibbs won in a third set tiebreaker to advance to the finals, and the Burgers won in three sets, after dropping the first set, 6-1.

“Hopefully, we succeed and keep it going,” Aragon said. “I’m pleased that we’re there. These guys want it. We’re in a great position.”

Play continues at 9 a.m. today.

– To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail