Burger wins Grand Junction tourney | SteamboatToday.com

Burger wins Grand Junction tourney

— It’s early in the season, and even earlier in her career, but Steamboat Springs High School freshman Tatum Burger has yet to come across something she can’t handle on the tennis court.

She cleared her biggest hurdle Saturday, winning the No. 1 singles bracket at the Western Slope Invitational in Grand Junction in dramatic fashion.

Burger won her semifinal match, 6-1, 6-2, against a Palmer Ridge opponent, then outlasted Casey Zhong of Mountain Vista in the final. Zhong won the first set, 6-4, but Burger came back to take the second, 6-4, then the tiebreaker, 10-6.

“That was one of the best final matches I’ve seen in a long time,” Steamboat coach John Aragon said. “Both players just went toe to toe, slugging it out. Tatum was moving fast, and she was hitting high percentage cross-court shots. Anything Zhong took short, Tatum stepped up and took to the corner. It was just amazing.”

Aragon said it’s not unprecedented for a good Steamboat player to win at the tournament, traditionally the team’s first big test of a season. It’s pretty rare for a Steamboat freshman to do so, however.

“She definitely opened a lot of eyes,” Aragon said.

Teammate Maddie Thompson only just missed on her own bid to come away with a huge tournament championship. Playing at No. 2 singles, she too took care of business in the semifinals, winning a thrilling match, 3-6, 6-3, 10-6.

She then lost in the finals to Kendra Lavallee of Mountain View, 6-0, 6-0.

“Maddie had a great tournament,” Aragon said. “She just couldn’t get any games in the final, but with a little more experience and court time, she’s going to do really well.”

Steamboat had solid results down its lineup, as well.

Hanna Haggerty and Maddie Labor went on to finish sixth at No. 1 doubles, though the team they narrowly lost to in the first roundFriday won the championship.

Sabina Berend and Sydney Boyd won their final match at No. 2 doubles, 10-9 with an 8-6 tiebreaker, to finish fifth.
Then, Norma Techaruckpong and Emmie Thompson were sixth at No. 3 doubles, narrowly losing in the fifth-place match, 10-9 with a 7-4 tiebreaker.

“It was a fun tournament,” Aragon said. “We walked away resetting some goals. We’re going to have to work on some things so we can get through a tournament like that and win those tiebreakers, but I am really, really proud of the whole team.”

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

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