LuvBoat tourney draws crowd |

LuvBoat tourney draws crowd

Wyatt Stempel lunges for a ball Saturday during the LuvBoat tennis tournament at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs. The event drew about 60 players in adult mixed doubles and juniors brackets.
Joel Reichenberger

— Points hard and fast whizzed by, and battles large and small raged on Saturday at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs, midway through the 2016 LoveBoat Junior and MXD Tennis Championships.

The tournament isn’t the most-high profile on the center’s calendar. It doesn’t decide city championships or regional titles.

But, it’s competition, and in the midst of it, Kyle Rogers and his mother, Emilie Rogers, couldn’t help trying to catch a glimpse of the action happening at the far end of the cavernous complex.

The Rogers team came into the tournament hoping to continue a winning streak. They emerged as champs at the previous two Steamboat mixed double events they’ve played in.

Tennis isn’t always the focus, however, especially for Kyle, a former member of the Steamboat Springs High School boys team and now a semester away from graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering from University of Colorado. He said he doesn’t get the chance to hit often in Boulder.

He speculated that may have caught up to him in Saturday’s first match.

“We had some slow starts, and we were playing well at different times,” Kyle said.

“But,” Emilie added,” Laurie and Jacob played a great match.”

Team Rogers lost to Laurie Buelow and Jacob Werner, 6-3, 6-4.

After the Rogers’ rallied to beat David Schermerhorn and Kathi Skytta, 6-1, 7-5, only a loss by Buelow and Werner would have allowed them back into the mix in the round-robin division.

Their hopes were dashed as Buelow and Werner won again, this time beating Loretta Conway and Jim Webster, 6-1, 6-4.

There are still matches to be played Sunday, when the tournament wraps up, but their reign may be finished.

Regardless, it won’t be the end of their world.

“It’s fun, and it’s a good time,” Kyle said. “I love coming back up here to play a tournament with my mom, to get back on the courts.”

The LuvBoat has adult mixed doubles play and also a juniors tournament, and across the center, four boys warmed up for their own afternoon action.

The boys 16 division is filled with players who are either new to the high school team last season or will be new this fall.

Wyatt Stempel falls into the latter category, and he has big plans for his freshman season.

“I want to try to play No. 1 singles on varsity,” Stempel said, eyeing the top spot on the team. “I may have a chance. I’d have to work really hard.”

Saturday, he racked up wins against three of his opponents and finished his undefeated day by beating Sailors rising sophomore John Hannaway, 6-2, 6-1.

Hannaway hung in the match at points and played a more deliberate style, but Stempel hammered returns and eventually ran away with the win.

“I tried to keep it in play as much as I could,” Stempel said.

Action for all 60 players participating this weekend concludes Sunday at the tennis complex.

Thorp, Schuiling thrive

The balls bounced Saturday in Steamboat, but the weekend prior, a pair of young Steamboat players found major success outside of town.

Andy Schuiling and Mae Thorp traveled to Boulder for the Mountain Ocean Junior Open tournament, and both came away with stellar results.

Thorp and her partner, Elle Strands, from Denver, won the girls 14 doubles bracket.

Schuiling then won the boys 14 bracket with his partner, Boulder’s Luke Silverman. Schuiling also won the boys 14 individual bracket.

Finally, Thorp and Schuiling combined to form an all-Steamboat team and won the mixed doubles bracket.

“This was huge for our kids,” Tennis Center coach Loretta Conway said. “That’s a very popular and high-level tournament, and we’re so proud of Mae and Andy!”

Tennis pro moving on

Lilia Snape is leaving her position as a pro at the Tennis Center.

Snape began coaching at the center in late fall 2014 and brought sterling credentials. She won an NCAA singles championship playing at Stanford, then spent 14 years playing professionally, making the Round of 16 at both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon.

Her husband, Danny Snape, took a job in Naples, Florida, necessitating the move from Steamboat.

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

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