Tennis sends one to state semis
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs High School boys tennis coach Jack Burger could barely catch his breath, and he was only talking about the match, not playing in it.
The Sailors advanced one entry to today’s state semifinals, the No. 1 doubles team of Matt White and Joe Borgerding, but it came oh-so-close to sending a second as Nolan Connell and River Fox-Welch lost a heartbreaker in the quarterfinals to Kent Denver.
“It was crazy,” Burger said. “Oh man, it was insane. It was awesome!”
It was a loss, but narrowly. The pair rallied after being dominated in the first set to come as close as possible to victory, losing 6-0, 5-7, 7-6 (5).
“I was so proud of the way they played,” Burger said. “There’s nothing they should be sad about. It was so cool the way they came back. It’s obviously a tough loss, but they should be so proud.”
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Connell and Fox-Welch will wait for the completion of the semifinal round Friday morning to see whether that close loss will end their season. If the Kent Denver team they lost to advances to the championship, they’re back in the tournament via a playback opportunity.
They’re not alone as, all told, five of Steamboat’s six entries into the state championships, held this weekend in Pueblo, will be waiting to see if they get another shot to extend their season.
Charlie Smith lost at No. 2 singles, 7-5, 6-0. Chase Adams fell at No. 3 singles, 6-1, 6-4. Ethan Paulus and Max Lynch lost at No. 2 doubles, 6-1, 6-2, and Jack Bender and Peter Wharton lost — eventually — at No. 4 doubles, falling 6-0, 6-1 to another Kent Denver team in the quarterfinals.
Bender and Wharton won their first-round match against Windsor, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.
The only squad guaranteed action Thursday is the No. 1 doubles team with White and Borgerding, who won two marathon matches to claw their way to the semis.
First, they beat a D’Evelyn squad 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. Later, they took out a pair from Mullen, 6-3, 0-6, 6-4.
“They killed it,” Burger said. “They have had trouble serving all year, but they were putting their first serves in all day. They’re really athletic, and so once they got the serve in, they used their athleticism at the net to get the win.”
Now they have a match against a Colorado Academy pair, and the winner will play for the state championship.
“I expect another really good match,” Burger said. “They’ve been pulling out big wins all year, so I’m excited to watch it, and they’re excited to play.”
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Parents lined the sidewalks along Lincoln Avenue and Pine Street to watch as the 2021 Steamboat Springs homecoming parade made it’s way through downtown Steamboat Springs.