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Warner-McNerney Roll in Denver, Eichleay-Isenhart Take Women's
By Cary Hodges
February 23-26, 2017
Paddle continues to grow in Colorado! This year's event had a record-setting 76 teams competing across five different ability levels.
Women's action began Thursday evening with snow blowing sideways, but the excitement seemed to push the elements aside. Conditions proved friendlier on Friday as three of the top four seeds advanced toward the semis. The fourth seeded team, Anne Koo and Cyn Rentz, were stretched in the quarters by sister-sister combo, Kimberlee Berman and Margie Rambusch, 6-4 in the third. On the other side of the draw, the third seeds, Natalie Sanders and Stephanie Foley, were upset by locals Anne Lehigh and Sarah Shore 6-1, 6- 2, giving Lehigh and Shore hopes of a run to the finals. Rentz and Koo had plenty of fuel in their tank after the quarterfinal battle and jumped ahead to take the first set over top-seeded Wendy Bermingham and Kathleen Parker. Next door, the second seed, Tori Eichleay from Ross, CA and Jill Isenhart from Boulder also found themselves a set down to Lehigh and Shore. As the crowd gathered, both matches evened at a set apiece. Bermingham and Parker were able to hold off the gritty duo of Koo and Rentz 6-2 in the third while Eichleay and Isenhart showed their toughness in a 6-3 victory to advance to the finals. We have all seen those matches that seem closer than what the final score indicates. This was certainly the case in the final match. Eichleay and Isenhart held on when they needed to and were granted just a few aptly-timed gifts by Bermingham and Parker to take the title 6-3 6-4.
Jenny Frentzel and Tracy Stalzer steamrolled through the A bracket without dropping a set with a 6-2, 6-1 win in the semis over Mads Osborne and Meg Kindsfater and a 6-1, 6-1 win in the finals over Kristin Baker and Carolyn Rippey.
Men's action began Friday night in all three brackets, Open, A and B. With a group of teams from Chicago who were all playing with different partners than normal, John Cassas and Josep Baro from New York, and Eric Miller and Jeff Jablonsky who live across the country from each other, the national seeding specialist, Ray Crosta, may have scratched his head once or twice. Matt Warner and Graham McNerney came to town as the favorites with Cassas-Baro on the other end of the draw seeded second. First round brawls were plentiful with locals Jay Schwab and Curt Corrigan pushing eventual finalists Mackey Pierce and Adam Shaeffer nearly three hours to a 7-6 third set while another Chicago team, Greg Wotring and Ben Ashford, had a similar experience with New Yorkers Cassas and Baro. Wotring/Ashford took a full three hours to edge the leftys that was also 7-6 in the third. Shaeffer/Pierce then had another 2.5 hour three-setter with local pros Ian Hintz and Cary Hodges to earn a berth in the semis. While the bottom half of the draw was looking like a sausage grinder convention, the top half was more like a samurai sword gathering....slash here, slash there, "nice match." Warner and McNerney used a sabre, a cutlass, the Albuquerque and whatever other spin cliche you care to attach beating locals Andrew Green and Matt Kranich in the quarters, locals TIm Kofol and Michael Slutzky in the semis and then Mackey-Pierce in the finals 6-0, 6-2. It was a truly dominant run by the not-so-gentle giants who won four matches without any set being closer than 6-2. Slutzky/Kofol rebounded to take third over Wotring/Ashford 6-3, 7-6.
In the Men's A division, defending champs, Ken Croney and Dan Sheldon, were able to repeat over their good buddies Craig Emerson and Scott Ripley 7-5, 6-4.
Men's B top honors went to Chad Schott and Brad Tewksbury who beat Mark Soane and Dixon Waxter.
Thank you to all the players who participated, especially those who traveled. We also are humbled by our gracious sponsors, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, VBT Walking and Bicycling Vacations, Mile High Catering, Paddleplayer.com and Bottleshop 33.
Main Draw: Graham McNerney/Matt Warner def. Mackey Pierce/Adam Schaeffer, 6-0, 6-2
Semifinal Playoff: Tim Kofol/Michael Slutzky def. Ben Ashford/Greg Wotring, 6-3, 7-6
Quarterfinal Reprieve: Andrew Green/Matt Kranich def. Ian Hintz/Cary Hodges, 6-4, 6-1
Consolation: Curt Corrigan/Jay Schwab def. Bormon/Taylor, 6-1, 6-1
Consolation Reprieve: Zack Rosenfeld/Scott Slobin def. Peter Dinneen/Jay Roberts, 7-5, 6-4
Main Draw: Tori Eichleay/Jill Isenhart def. Wendy Bermingham/Kathleen Parker, 6-3, 6-4
Semifinal Playoff: Ann Lehigh/Sarah Shore def. Ann Koo/Cyn Rentz, 6-2, 6-3
Quarterfinal Reprieve: Stephanie Foley/Natalie Sanders def. Kimberlee Berman/Margie Rambusch, 6-0, 6-2
Consolation: Marian Lauer/Nan Miller def. Laura James/Kelly Newton, 6-3, 6-3