Basalt High girls tennis ready to experience regionals for the first time |

Basalt High girls tennis ready to experience regionals for the first time

For most of the Basalt High School girls tennis players, this week’s regional tournament in Grand Junction is likely to be an eye-opener.

“What I want them to do is get experience and see what kind of level of play is out there,” BHS coach Diana Elliott said. “Because they are beginners, they haven’t had that much exposure to it.”

The BHS program is in its first season at the varsity level. Elliott helped start the team from scratch a year ago, where six players competed on junior varsity for the Longhorns. This spring, 13 girls participated with nine planning to compete at the regional meet, which gets underway Thursday in Grand Junction.

A majority of the players had no tennis background before this season, so it’s not been overly successful from a wins and losses standpoint. However, winning was never the overall goal entering the spring.

“They seem to have been enjoying it,” Elliott said. “My whole goal with his team is that the girls learn how to play tennis and keep that sport for a lifetime.”

Of the 13 girls on the BHS roster this season, only two are upperclassmen and none are seniors.

Elliott planned to have all three singles players and the first three doubles teams competing at regionals, which will determine who qualifies for next week’s Class 3A state tournament in Greeley. Among those players is No. 1 singles player Mari Elliott, a freshman who happens to be Diana Elliott’s daughter.

“She’s pretty easy to coach, and I don’t put undo pressure on her just because she is my kid,” Diana Elliott said. “She’s coachable, I would say, and all the girls are actually coachable on this team.”

The regional tournament is likely to once again come down to Aspen and Steamboat Springs. AHS, the defending regional champions, ended Steamboat’s 12-year reign last spring.

Weather permitting, the regional tournament will conclude on Friday.

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