Sailors prepare for state |

Sailors prepare for state

11 members of tennis team qualify for tournament

— When Steamboat Springs’ Andrew Krueger takes the court at Pueblo City Park Thursday for his first match of the state high school tennis tournament, there shouldn’t be any big surprises waiting for him.

This is the senior’s third trip to the state finals in three years and he will be facing a familiar foe in Kent Denver’s Adam Kamlet.

“I will have a pretty good idea of what will work and what will not,” Krueger said. “I’ve faced him before, so that should be an advantage.”

Krueger is one of 11 members of the high school tennis team that qualified to play in Pueblo this week. The past two years Krueger has made the state cut as a member of a doubles team. This will be his first shot as a singles player.

“I’m excited just to have qualified,” Krueger said. “It’s a big jump for me, but it’s great to be headed back to state.”

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Krueger fell to Kamlet in the two players’ first meeting at the start of this season. But the local player said that was early in the season, and he has grown a lot as a players in the past several months.

“This is a totally different team than the one that faced Kent Denver earlier this year,” Krueger said. “We are playing better now.”

Sailors coach John Aragon thinks his team could surprise some people at the state tournament, but the key will be getting off to a solid start.

“Overall, most of our players are in good positions,” Aragon said. “But they will need to get tough that first round if they have any hope of placing.”

In tennis, once a player or doubles team is defeated, they must depend on other teams to play again. Teams can be pulled back into the tournament if the team that beats them advances to the finals. Aragon feels as if the players Steamboat will face in the second round have the best shot at advancing to those final rounds.

“There is a lot of pressure in those opening rounds,” Aragon said. “I think that could make for a lot of upsets hopefully we will be the guys who are doing the upsetting.”

The 4A Colorado State High School Tennis tournament will open Thursday morning with play in the No. 1 singles bracket.

Steamboat’s Jonathan Solomon will take on Liberty’s Matt Borchik. In the No. 2 slot, Steamboat’s Patrick Ayres will play Pine Creek’s Brent Wolford and Krueger will play Kamlet in the No. 3 slot.

In doubles play, it will be the Sailors’ Matt Ramsey and Ryan Zeeb facing off against Kent Denver’s Jon Bathgate and Justin Mao-Jones. The Sailors’ No. 2 squad of Danny Weiss and Chris Timmerman will play Pueblo Centennial’s Todd Pepper and Vince Suarez. Steamboat’s Brett Langstaff and Pete Zimmer will take on Greeley West’s Daniel Carrico and Hunter Hall in the No. 3 doubles spot. The final Steamboat team of Ben Robbins and Alex Griffing will play Broomfield’s Bret Carlson and Andrew Thompson in the No. 4 doubles slot.

Aragon said he thinks there will be several strong teams, including defending champion Cheyenne Mountain and runner- up Kent Denver, vying for a title in this year’s tournament. Other strong teams will include Mullen and Greeley West.

But Aragon also thinks the field is prime for upsets and several of his players have a good shot at advancing.

“This team has really come on in the past several weeks,” Aragon said.

“We are hitting the ball well right now, and that’s what it’s going to take to win down there.”

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