Basalt boys club tennis takes the court

Basalt High School junior Dane Elliott spearheaded the creation of the Basalt boys club tennis team.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times |

With the paperwork finally taken care of, the Basalt High School boys were finally able to step on the court and play tennis.

Wednesday at the Crown Mountain Park courts in El Jebel, the five Basalt players faced members of the Aspen High School junior varsity team in their first ever match.

“I got to give a lot of credit to Gary, because he was so nice to want to do this,” said Basalt coach Diana Elliott, referring to AHS boys tennis coach Gary Quandt. “This is a club team, so it was really hard to get the information out to everybody. There was just no real way to communicate that. I am glad of the guys I did get to come out and I’m hoping more will.”

Elliott’s son, Dane, is the reason for Basalt’s new tennis club. The BHS junior spearheaded the push to make an official varsity tennis team at the high school, much like his mother did with the BHS girls team last spring. The boys aren’t officially affiliated with the high school, taking on a “club” status this fall, but hope to get the school board’s approval in November to officially become a school sport.

Dane Elliott has made the creation of a BHS boys tennis team into a capstone project, and has been working with Basalt High Athletic Director Sean Nunan and Principal Peter Mueller to turn his vision into reality.

“It was a bit of a learning experience, but I’ve done leadership stuff before, so it wasn’t extremely new,” Dane Elliott said. “It’s very similar to what is going on with the girls tennis team. Right now we are a boys tennis club through Basalt Rec, as a proof of concept to become an official Basalt High School tennis team. Now we have proof of support with students coming out and playing.”

Basalt High School started a girls team last spring, coached by Diana Elliott. The girls played exclusively junior varsity last year, but should field a full varsity team come spring 2018. The Basalt boys are hoping to soon follow suit.

“He’s already gone in front of the board, and they approved him to do this club,” Diana Elliott said. “So in November, that’s when they are going to make the final decision on it, and I’m feeling pretty good about it.”

While Diana Elliott coaches the BHS girls, Florida native and eight-year Roaring Fork Valley resident Matt Rubsamen has taken on the head coaching duty for the boys, with Diana Elliott serving as an assistant at times. The boys had five players compete against Aspen JV on Wednesday — Dane Elliott, junior Brian Joya, sophomore twins Ethan and Chris Tomaskovic, and freshman Austin Pagan — and hope to have a few more matches this fall, including a return trip to Aspen, again against the Skiers’ JV team.

“I sat with him at the school board when he presented it. Unfortunately it didn’t work out exactly how they wanted, but here we are as a club,” Rubsamen said of Dane’s capstone project. “All these kids are pretty new, so a lot of room to grow. If they like it then they’ll have more commitment next year and hopefully we’ll be an official team through the school board.”

Should the boys team become official, it could eventually include players from Roaring Fork and Glenwood Springs high schools, as neither offer boys tennis as an official high school sport.