Sailors serve it up at state championship as No. 1 doubles takes silver |

Sailors serve it up at state championship as No. 1 doubles takes silver

Steamboat freshman Dylan Quinn follows through on a shot during a No. 2 doubles match against Holy Family in the girls tennis state tournament in Colorado Springs on Friday, May 12, 2023.
Tom Skulski/Steamboat Pilot & Today

None of Steamboat Springs’ athletic programs have seen a one-year turnaround as dramatic and impressive as girls tennis. 

Last spring, Steamboat struggled to fill an entire roster, but with the addition of a key freshman class and the leadership of incredible upperclassmen players, the Sailors sent five lines to the Colorado High School Activities Association 3A State Tennis Championships in Colorado Springs on Friday, May 12, and Saturday, May 13. 

Head coach Bill Conway said he is working to create a culture of excellence, and this was a big stepping stone.

“If you look at our team as a whole, when we started out we were hoping to have one or two go to state,” Conway said. “To have everybody on the team medal in regionals and then have five go to state and make a great showing at state, it speaks to their work ethic.”

The top performance of the weekend from Steamboat came from the No. 1 doubles team. Juniors Evan Quinn and Kelsey Norland dominated their three matches on Friday to reach the state championship finals against Peak to Peak on Saturday morning. 

It was a slow start for the Sailors, who found themselves down early and lost the opening set 6-1. The momentum flipped in the second, and Steamboat forced a deciding third set for the state title. 

Peak to Peak broke an early serve and never looked back to win the match and the tournament. Steamboat finished second. 

“Just to see them compete as hard as they did, it was good to see,” Conway said. “Holistically, I could not ask for more from them.”

While the silver medal was the best of Steamboat’s finishers, Conway said even the girls who lost early had the chance to learn a lot and gain experience.

Freshman Lucia del Haya lost her second-round match to the No. 1 singles eventual champion and junior Grace Brice fell to the top-seeded No. 2 singles player. 

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Senior Kayla O’Brien and freshman Leslie Jimenez medaled in the regional at No. 3 doubles, but had an early exit in the tournament with their loss to Vanguard. 

The No. 2 doubles pairing of junior Amanda Dietrich and freshman Dylan Quinn rocked their way to the quarterfinals with a win over Pueblo Centennial before getting eliminated in a 6-0, 6-3 loss to Holy Family. 

Learning from the upperclassmen had been key to Dylan Quinn’s season. It took time to adjust to tournament play this year, but before she knew it, she was prepared to take on the state tournament. 

“I honestly did not expect to win at all,” Dylan Quinn said. “The first round was super fun, I was hitting really well and it was amazing and surreal. I was like, ‘How far can we get?’ We made it to quarters, and I was super excited.”

Dylan Quinn said it was a joy to reach the pinnacle of her sport as a freshman. She has seen from Steamboat’s top doubles team what it takes to reach a final, and she craves for that feeling. 

The team could get even stronger next season, as O’Brien is the lone senior to graduate with several of the top athletes like Dylan Quinn and del Haya remaining with the team for years to come. 

“Evan (Quinn) said it was really intimidating to go alone to state, so I was just glad we had the team together,” Dylan Quinn said. “Next year I am super excited because we are still going to have them. They will all be seniors, and we will get to improve.”

Colorado High School Activities Association 3A State Tennis Championships

Steamboat Springs results

Singles: 1. Lucia del Haya, SS, def. Isabelle Jacobs, Dawson, 6-4, 3-6, 6-0. Anna Jordaan, Colorado Academy, def. Lucia del Haya, SS, 6-0, 6-1. 2. Sofia Cieslewicz, D’Evelyn, def. Grace Brice, SS, 7-5, 6-2.

Doubles: 1. Evan Quinn and Kelsey Norland, SS, def. Vail Christian, 6-3, 6-4. Finals: Peak to Peak def. Evan Quinn and Kelsey Norland, SS, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1. 2. Amanda Dietrich and Dylan Quinn, SS, def. Pueblo Centennial, 6-2, 6-0. Holy Family def. Amanda Dietrich and Dylan Quinn, SS, 6-0, 6-3. 3. Vanguard def. Kyla O’Brien and Leslie Jimenez, SS, 6-2, 6-3. 

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