STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — For their senior year, Ella Chapman and Posy Skov decided to take up tennis. They had no experience in the sport, but they were welcomed by everyone else on the team, and their presence on the Steamboat Springs High School tennis team made a full roster.
“We just thought it’d be super fun to try something new before we left,” Chapman said. “And it’s been a really weird year, so why not just go for it?”
Skov and Chapman are the only seniors on an otherwise all underclassmen team, some of which have been playing for years.
Chapman said missing balls on the regular can be frustrating, but she’s determined to keep a positive mindset through the jam-packed short schedule, which kicks off at home Saturday against Basalt.
“It’s really good to laugh at myself, just learning something new, trying something different and being OK if I fail,” she said.
If there’s anything that Chapman has in common with her younger and more seasoned teammates, it’s a positive attitude.
Evan Quinn and Grace Brice will be some of the top players for the Sailors. Both have been playing the sport since they were young and have the goal to be the No. 1 singles player.
Kayla O’Brien is the only sophomore and only returning player from last year’s team.
“I think everyone is really supportive and inclusive,” O’Brien said.
“We have a really cool team this year because almost all of us except for Kayla (are) new to the team this year,” Brice said.
In charge of the energetic group of athletes is Eliot Guin, who took over last year but didn’t get the chance to get to know the team before the season was canceled.
“It does feel like it’s the first season,” Guin said. “But at the same time, I know the girls on the team better because a lot of them are incoming freshmen who have played a lot of tennis at the tennis center.”
Since Guin didn’t get to see any opposing teams last year, he’s going in just as open minded as the freshman. The girls asked if their opening opponent, Basalt, was good, and he had nothing to offer them. Instead, he encouraged them to focus on themselves and what they can do.
The Sailors will see eight opponents between Saturday and May 22, with regionals taking place before June 5 and state scheduled for June 11 and 12.
The energetic and ambitious group of young players has no pressure or expectations on their shoulders, so there’s no saying what they’ll be able to accomplish this year, but the future is certainly bright.
“I’m excited to see what we’ll do,” Guin said, “especially in future years.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.