State-bound: Skiers tennis off to Pueblo
ASPEN Aspen varsity tennis coach Torre was in a car Wednesday afternoon driving five of his players to the 4A state tournament in Pueblo.A van would have been better, he said.”I’m really happy for what the kids achieved at regionals, but I should be driving a bigger car with more kids in it right now,” Torre said. “We had two doubles teams that were knocking on the door and I really feel like they should be going to state with us. I’m emotional about it.”It was a sentiment shared by the state-bound players. Aspen wasn’t able to halt rival Steamboat Springs from winning its seventh straight regional championship last week in Montrose, but sure came close.Aspen’s three singles players – No. 1 Bryan Steinhurst, No. 2 Kyle Feuer and No. 3 Michael Willsky – all advanced to the championship matches, as did the No. 4 doubles team of Michael Ward and Nic Broeking. Those results helped Aspen to a second-place team finish.Amidst the elation, however, there was heartache.Less than a week after picking up wins against Steamboat Springs in their final home match of the year, No. 1 doubles players Paul Young and Chris Taylor fell short at regionals.Young and Taylor pulled out an emotional 6-4, 6-4 win over Steamboat Springs’ Charlie Smith and Alex Gibbs in Aspen, but it was Smith and Gibbs who earned a state berth in Montrose. It was the same story for Aspen’s Remy Pearlstone and Stephen Boenning at No. 3 doubles. The pair downed Steamboat Springs’ Ben Paley and Zac Valicenti at home, only to be edged out for a state berth in Montrose by the same two players.Ten of 11 of Steamboat’s players qualified for the state tournament – its lone omission at No. 2 singles.”Steamboat is always tough competition,” Torre said. “They have a really good year-round program. That’s hard to compete against.”Aspen’s goal all season was to win a regional championship. Now the objective has shifted heading into the first day of competition in Pueblo, Torre said.”My biggest hope really is that they all kind of adapt their game a little bit to the level of the players they’re going to be playing against,” Torre said. “I really hope to see them adjust to the next level of play. It’s going to be a huge jump.”Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Despite an abbreviated meet schedule complicated by lingering pandemic impacts, the Demons enter Friday’s Class 4A Western Slope League championships in Grand Junction as the heavy favorites to win their first league title in nearly a decade.