Steady play the key for tennis duos

by Phil Sandoval

The route to the state championships in Pueblo is tough, but the key success is fairly simple.

To do well at the three-day tournament, which starts at 9 a.m. today on the City Park Courts in Pueblo, players must remember the basics.

“The key is to play good, steady tennis,” said Glenwood Springs coach Sue Geist. “It’s all a matter of serving and returning serves.”

Demons doubles teams Jackie Weist and Regina Waltsak, and Rachael Zancanella and Cheree Carver, battled to three straight victories at last week’s regionals in Grand Junction to win the regional titles and advance to state.

Now, the challenge for the four Demons, who have reached prep tennis’ holy grail, is to stay relaxed.

“You have to be low-key going into state for the first time. You go in relaxed and enjoy yourself,” Geist said. “Then, when you get on the courts, go out and play tennis.”

And, according to Geist, both Demon doubles teams “have peaked at the right time.”

“The doubles teams played out of their minds at regionals” the coach said. “And they stand a relatively good chance of doing well at state.”

Opponents at the state tournament are predetermined, not seeded, according to Geist. First-round matches involve regional champions against runners-ups to avoid champions playing in an opening match.

Last week at the Western regional meet in Grand Junction Weist and Waltsak, earned the No. 2 doubles championship by defeating Aspen’s Teige Muhlfeld and Michelle Koeher. Weist and Waltsak open state play against Region 3 runner-up, Sam Barnett and Shannon Griep of Niwot.

Carver and Zancanella have drawn Canon City’s Ana Dilisio and Katee Swisher, the runners-up from Region 7, for their opening match of the No. 4 doubles state tournament. The Demon duo swept Anna Campbell and Lela Rundle of Hotchkiss in straight sets in the regional championship match.

Winners from today’s matches advance to Friday’s quarterfinals. Losers are forced into a playback, single-elimination bracket.

Players involved in the playback tournament must wait until the division semifinals are concluded to determine if they can play the championship-match loser for second place.

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