Tennis squad racks up wins at big tourney
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs High School tennis team came away from its toughest regular season tournament with plenty to crow about, coach Joseph O’Dell said.
The Sailors were led by Nolan Connell, playing No. 3 singles, as he ran to a second-place finish at the Western Slope Open in Grand Junction.
Playing 15 other squads, including several elite Class 4A and 5A teams, Steamboat earned a fifth-place overall finish.
“I’m actually really happy,” O’Dell said. “This was definitely our hardest tournament on the whole schedule, so to finish fifth, I’m pretty happy.”
Connell was one of two Steamboat singles players to make the semifinals in the tournament. Chase Adams did it at No. 2 singles, as well.
Connell lost in the championship match, but not before impressing his coach.
“Nolan is one of my biggest surprises so far this season,” O’Dell said. “He had good offseason training and is playing awesome.”
Adams lost in the semifinal round and went on to finish fourth. The No. 1 doubles team of Max Lynch and Ethan Paulus and the No. 2 team of Wyatt Stempel and John Hannaway both lost early but won in the consolation bracket to finish sixth and fifth, respectively.
The No. 3 doubles team of Jack Bender and Luke Borgerding and the No. 4 team of Roy Lundeen and Gabe Rabanal both advanced through Friday but lost early Saturday.
“It was a mixed bag with doubles,” O’Dell said. “We had three win their first match, but all three lose their second.”
Charlie Smith, at No. 1 singles, also won a match, then lost to his division’s eventual champ and couldn’t piece together a consolation bracket run.
The team did manage a big victory before the tournament, beating Durango in a head-to-head dual in Grand Junction on Friday. Steamboat won 6-1, winning at every level besides No. 1 singles, where Smith fell against the defending regional champ.
That, plus the tournament results, had the squad walking away confidently.
“The message coming out of this weekend was we should be able to compete once we get to the state tournament,” O’Dell said.
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