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Mooney, Martin defeated

Sailors doubles tennis team finishes fourth at state tourney

Christine Metz

Steamboat’s last hope for a third-place finish went down with the defeat of its No. 2 doubles team of Matt Mooney and Danny Martin Saturday at the Class 4A boys state tennis tournament in Pueblo.

Mooney and Martin were the only Sailors to advance out of Friday’s playback round to play for the state’s third place title, but were beat 6-4 and 6-2 by Niwot’s Jon Borgese and Joe Hake. The No. 2 doubles team did finish Saturday in fourth place, the highest for Steamboat.

Coming into the state tournament Thursday with hopes of taking a team score of third or better, the weekend turned out to be a disappointment as all of the Sailors failed to make it out of the semi-final round.

“It wasn’t a lack of effort, it was a lack of breaks. The ball just didn’t fall for us,” Sailors coach John Aragon said.

The Sailors ended Saturday in seventh place with 14 points.

For the 10th straight year, Cheyenne Mountain clinched the team title with 78 points. Kent Denver finished second with 61 points and Mullen placed third with 37. Cheyenne Mountain also captured four of the tournament’s seven individual state titles.

Coming into the tournament the Sailors had a season record of 11-1. With a clean first place sweep at the regional tournament, they thought they had a good chance of beating their best state finish of third place set four years ago.

After Thursday’s play, the Sailors were ranked as the top three teams just trailing Cheyenne Mountain by two points. The Sailors had five of its positions heading into the semifinals.

“Points just seemed to slip away, it wasn’t our tournament,” Aragon said.

But after Friday, the local No. 2 doubles team was the only position to make it out of the playback round as it beat Noah Bailey and John Short 6-1, 6-3. Mooney and Martin lost in the semifinals against Cheyenne Mountain’s Brian Hopwood and Mark Wannersdorfer, who finished second in the tournament.

One of the Sailors’ highest hopes for a first-place finish was No. 1 singles player Rich Tifft. But Tifft dropped his first game of the season 6-1, 6-4 to Cheyenne Mountain’s Chris Wetzig in the semifinal round. Wetzig went on to win the tournament Saturday as he defeated Kent Denver’s Clayton Millice, 6-4, 6-4.

After losing in the semifinals, Tifft, who has been recovering from shoulder injury all season, went on to drop his second game 7-5, 6-4 to Mullen’s Matt Phillips, who finished the tournament in third.

With four of the state’s top-ranked players in the same bracket, Aragon said Tifft had a rough draw.

“We knew it was a tough draw going in. We thought out of that draw Rich was the top player,” Aragon said. “He gave a great effort.”

Losing in the second round of the tournament to Kent Denver’s Adam Kamlett and Owen McMillian, the No. 1 doubles team of Jeff Aragon and David Upbin never had the chance to return to the tournament.

Aragon and Upbin were waiting for the results of Kent Denver, who had to reach the final round before the team could enter the tournament in the playback round. But, Kent Denver fell in the semifinal round, halting the doubles team chance at a third place finish.

“Those young men went out there and they fought hard. They didn’t come back with the results, but they had a great effort and had a great season,” Aragon said.

Seven of the 11 players Aragon took to state this year will be graduating. Some, like Tifft, are looking to continue their tennis careers in college.


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