By Tony Parra
Tennis season for Portales High School is over, and now the students are becoming the teachers.
Portales tennis coach Bill Wahlman is coordinating the annual city tennis league as one of two sport recreation activities offered through the city. There is also an arts/crafts recreation activity offered by the city, which begins on June 1. Wahlman said a Portales senior, who will graduate Friday, will instruct the camp.
Wahlman said he’s been overseeing the tennis summer camp for over 30 years now. He’s used a combination of assistants and high school players to instruct the tennis camp.
Kristen Van Wettering and Rachelle Self instructed the tennis camp last year. Van Wettering attends Eastern New Mexico University and helped the Portales tennis high school team as an assistant coach.
“They (players) don’t have to go each day, only when they want to,” Wahlman said. “It keeps them busy in the summer. One of the best things is that it’s free.”
Wahlman estimated 60 to 75 players will attend the camp.
This year, Hailey Quick will be the instructor and teaching camp-goers various tennis skills. Quick won the doubles state championship in Class 1A-3A with Self as her doubles partner.
Quick said she has had experience coaching children.
“I’ve coached basketball and soccer to little kids,” Quick said. “I really like it. I want to go into coaching. I want to get certification and come back and coach the Portales high school tennis teams.”
Wahlman said there are three divisions, beginners, advanced beginners and advanced players. He said the camp is meant for grade school children and will last six weeks.
He said the camp takes place in the mornings because it gets extremely hot in the afternoon and can be harmful for the younger children.
Quick also has some ties with the girls softball summer recreation league. Her father, Lee Quick, is organizing the girls softball summer recreation league and she will be playing in the league, also.
Lee said there are three divisions: Pee Wee (ages 8-10), Junior (10-14) and Senior (14-18). There are six teams in the Pee Wee and Junior divisions and four in the senior division. According to Lee, there is a need for more Pee Wee girls to sign up. He said interested players can sign up by calling 356-2791.
“We’ve been able to maintain our number despite other activities for girls such as AAU basketball,” Lee said. “Our numbers have been growing each year. Girls sports have been growing. There are more choices for girls.”
Lee said he has three daughters who play softball, Hailey, Kaycee and Sarah. According to Lee, his daughters help out with the concession stand and groundskeeping. He said the softball league members don’t sell candy or other items as fund-raiser. Lee said people from the community have been helpful in groundskeeping and other tasks.
“We had people such as Richard Villanueva and Alan Roberts help at times,” Lee said. “We couldn’t have done it all without the help of community members.”
Lee said there is a $20 fee, which goes to the cost of uniforms, to sign up for the softball league.
There are three recreation programs offered through the city and Wahlman said the beauty of the tennis program is it’s free. Enrollment begins on Tuesday for most programs and the games and training camps will start on Wednesday.