Sailors’ title hopes alive as Tatum Burger looks to take care of business
Pueblo — It was a day that started with so much promise, but as the second round of the 4A Colorado State High School tennis tournament drew to a close late Monday afternoon, it was apparent that only one Steamboat Springs High School player would have a shot at winning a title this year.
“I want to win it all,” freshman Tatum Burger said after topping Colorado Academy junior Tara Edwards in the quarterfinal round. “I’ve played her before in the summer, and I knew that when she started to lose it, I was going to win.”
Burger survived a close first set coming away with the 7-5 victory. In the second set, the pressure started to show as the Colorado Academy player felt her chances of competing for a state title start to slip away.
Burger kept the pressure on en route to winning the match with a 6-1 showing in the second set. She will face Cheyenne Mountain senior Payton Fielding in today’s semifinal match.
“I kind of got off to a slow start in the first set, but I just focused on staying positive and things turned around,” Burger said.
While this is the freshman’s first trip to the state semifinals, she is no stranger to the courts at Pueblo City Park. She watched her brothers Keegan and Jack compete on the courts for years, and she feels comfortable now that it is her turn to take the court. Both brothers were on hand Monday as their younger sister made her way through the brackets.
“I always used to come down here and watch my brothers play,” Burger said. “I think that motivated me to want to get here.”
Burger was the only Steamboat singles player to advance past the first round. Steamboat’s No. 2 singles player Maddie Thompson and No. 3 singles player Emmie Thompson both lost in the first round and must wait to see if they will have another chance to play today.
Steamboat did advance three of its doubles teams into the quarterfinal round. However, none of them were able to advance to the semifinals.
Steamboat’s No. 2 team of Sabina Berend and Sydney Boyd topped Niwot’s Emma Lerner and Janie Sieben in the opening match, 6-2, 7-5. But the Steamboat team lost to D’Evelyn’s Angi Reed and Taylor Whatley in the quarterfinal round.
The story was much the same for Steamboat’s No. 3 team of Shae Burger and Norma Techarukpong. The Steamboat team topped Niwot’s Sophia Williams and Amanda Duquette in the opening match, 6-0, 6-4. But in the quarterfinals, Steamboat was beaten by Cheyenne Mountain’s Megan Dibble and Chelsey Geisz, 6-2, 6-2.
The hard knocks didn’t end there for the Steamboat team.
The Sailors No. 4 team of Annika Fahrner and Shannon Ross won its first round matchup against Colorado Academy’s Christina Bear and Grace Ingebretsen, 6-2, 6-2, and looked to be on track for the semifinals after winning the first set in the quarterfinals against D’Evelyn’s Trinity Payne and Cammy Lee. But the D’Evelyn team rallied in the final two sets and downed Steamboat, 4-6, 6-2 and 6-1.
Steamboat’s No. 1 doubles team of Hanna Haggerty and Maddie Labor was also beaten in the opening round by Valor Christian’s Annie Hertel and Tiffany Parobeck in three sets. The Steamboat team is hoping for a Valor Christian win today to get another match in the state tournament.
“It was disappointing,” said John Aragon, Steamboat Springs High School’s head coach. “After the opening round, I felt like we could have three or four spots contending for a title. But we changed out game too much. We didn’t play our game, we played their game, and it’s hard to win when you do that.”
Steamboat will be back on the court today for the semifinal round. Players and teams that were beaten by those players and teams that advance to the finals will be pulled back into the tournament and will still have a chance to play for third place if they can win the playback matches.
Play will begin at 9 a.m. today at Pueblo City Park and continue through much of the day with playback matches. The finals are slated for Wednesday morning and will include matches for first and second places, as well as matches for third and fourth places.
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