Solid play, messy tennis tourney |

Solid play, messy tennis tourney

— Mother Nature threw a monkey wrench into the Sailors’ tennis efforts Friday at the Western Slope Invitational in Grand Junction.

No. 3 singles player Brian Aragon started his first-round match at 9 a.m. Friday, but because of rain delays, he didn’t finish the match until 6:30 p.m., ending in a tiebreaker 8-8 (9-7) defeat to Denver East’s Tyler McNamara.

“That’s the longest eight-game pro set I’ve ever seen. If it was a full set, we’d still be there,” joked Sailors coach John Aragon.

Although the tournament was shortened Friday because of the rain, Aragon said all his varsity players got similar eight-game pro-sets on Friday, playing late into the night, and at least two matches Saturday.

“It was great. Really solid tennis,” Aragon said of the 16-team tournament, featuring some of Colorado’s premiere tennis programs. “It gave us a lot of areas to focus and concentrate on. It was beneficial for us to see a wide variety of play from big 5A schools.”

Aragon said the No. 1 doubles team of seniors Jesse Schaller and Dylan Roberts played well in a tough loss to Cherry Creek in the first round.

Steamboat’s top finisher was junior Ramsey Bernard, who made it as far as the No. 2 singles semifinals, losing a close match to Cherry Creek’s Chris Cooprider, 6-4, 6-4.

Incidentally, Cooprider went on to play, and lose, to Ryan MacNamara, a junior who transferred this year from Steamboat to Grand Junction.

Other notable finishes included Andrew Hoing’s No. 1 singles quarterfinal loss to Durango’s Geoff Lewis, 6-4, 6-3.

Both the No. 3 doubles team of Andrew Riley and Matt Gadbois and the No. 4 doubles, Jeff Lambert and Alex Gibbs, also advanced as far as the tournament’s quarterfinal round.

As Steamboat’s last tournament before finalizing the varsity line-up, Aragon plans to mix a few teams around and remains confident going into the team’s next tournament Saturday in Golden.

Steamboat’s Varsity 2 competed during the weekend at the Loveland Invitational, where the Sailors went 1-2 in team play and finished third in their pool.

“Our players did very well considering they were playing against some good 5A and 4A varsity squads,” coach Ed Trousil said.

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