Two of the most successful athletes at Moffat County High School this fall wore the uniforms of the school's rivals.
Seniors Brian Behrman and Taylor Reed completed their seasons with the Steamboat Springs tennis team at the state tournament in Pueblo last weekend.
Behrman finished fourth with doubles partner Scott Peterson at No. 4 doubles. Reed finished fourth at No. 1 doubles with Nick Ludoph.
The Sailors finished off one of the best seasons in the team's history with a fourth-place finish at the state meet.
"We wanted to finish in the top two because they give out trophies for those," Reed said.
The "we" for the Steamboat tennis team is made up of athletes from five schools. Players from Vail, Battle Mountain, Moffat County, Lowell-Whiteman in Steamboat and Steamboat Springs play on the team. If a school doesn't have a tennis team, its athletes are allowed to play elsewhere.
The two from Craig were the pioneers of traveling to play.
"When we started, it was us and players from Steamboat," Reed said. "Next year, it will be the same."
Reed and Behrman took up tennis in middle school to try something different. They played on the junior varsity teams their freshman year and then made the jump to varsity as sophomores.
Until this year, Reed had played singles and Behrman played doubles.
Behrman played at No. 4 all three years and finished fourth, fifth and fourth at state respectively.
"I feel I improved every year and that my partner and I were better every year," he said. "It comes down to the luck of the draw a lot of times."
Behrman and Peterson lost to eventual champions David Silver and John Adams from Cheyenne Mountain, 6-1, 6-2, in the semifinals. They then won a tight three-set match, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4, against Chase Lindquist and Roman Payan to move into the medal round.
Peterson and Behrman took the first set, 7-5, against Kent Denver's Chase Procknow and Marshall Hickey, but lost the next two sets, 4-6, 2-6, in the match for third.
Reed and Ludoph lost a close two-set match, 5-7, 4-6, to Kent Denver's Brad Morse and Moses Taylor for fourth place.
Reed said he chose to play doubles this year to help his resume.
"Colleges want to see if you can play both," he said. "It took a while to get used to, because I'm so used to being on the baseline. At times, I wish I would have stayed singles, but it was a good experience."
The Sailors finished 6 points out of second place, with Mullen in third and Kent Denver in second. Two wins against Kent Denver would have put the Sailors in second.
"It didn't just hinge on us winning those last matches," Reed said. "There were earlier matches from everybody that could have made the difference."
For four years, the two players made the commute from Craig to Steamboat nearly every day after school in the fall.
"The 40-mile drive turns into nothing eventually," Reed said.
The drive definitely didn't seem to affect their grades: Behrman has a 4.0 and Reed has a 3.9 grade-point average.
During their three years on varsity, the Sailors extended its regional title-winning streak to eight consecutive years.
"It was fun, and I have no regrets," Behrman said.
In the end, a decision to pick up a racket and try something new may lead to college opportunities for both.
"I hope to play for Mesa State (College)," Reed said.
"I want to play baseball and tennis in college if I can," said Behrman, the baseball team's second baseman.