2nd-round slows Steamboat tennis
Steamboat Springs — Long matches and tough sets weren’t enough to help Steamboat Springs High School tennis players through a brutal second round Thursday at the Class 4A state tennis tournament in Pueblo.
The Sailors got wins from three of their seven entries on the first day of the tournament, but all three lost in the second round, leaving the squad on the outside looking in as the tournament heads into Day 2, hoping to get opportunities in the playback bracket.
“There’s great competition here,” coach Joseph O’Dell said. “There was absolutely nothing to be upset about today. We had our chances to compete, played well and just didn’t come through.”
Chase Adams was the first of the team to lock up his first-round win, beating Pueblo Centra’s Dario Alcala, 6-2, 6-3, in the No. 2 singles bracket.
Nolan Connell also advanced at No. 3 singles, beating Jo Ota of Fountain Valley in a grueling match, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
Finally, the No. 2 doubles team of River Fox-Welch and Wyatt Stempel beat a Lewis Palmer pair, 7-5, 6-3.
All three entries ran into brick walls in the second round.
Adams played Kent Denver’s Jack Moldenhauer, falling, 6-1, 6-0. Connell fell to Colorado Academy’s Jordan Wagner, 6-2, 6-0. Fox-Welch and Stempel, meanwhile, played the closest Steamboat match of the round, but lost 6-1, 6-4 to a team from Niwot.
“That one was more winnable. The second set was pretty close,” O’Dell said. “We had some opportunities to get a break or to hold serve and go up.”
Charlie Smith lost at No. 1 singles, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4. Ethan Paulus and Max Lynch lost at No. 1 doubles, 6-0, 6-4. Peter Wharton and Jack Bender lost at No. 3 doubles 6-0, 6-0, and Gabe Rabanal and Roy Lundeen lost at No. 4 doubles, 6-2, 7-5.
The three entries that had first-round wins and Wharton and Bender each still have the opportunity Friday to get back into the tournament, if the team that beat them advances to the championship match.
The Steamboat players would then compete in a consolation bracket with the chance to eventually place third.
“Everyone played with great heart and great effort,” O’Dell said. “It came down to a couple of points in a couple of matches. We’re happy, and we still have the opportunity to make it to Saturday. That’s the goal.”
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