Portales netters qualify four individual entries for state

Freedom Newspapers

LOVINGTON — Portales High qualified one singles and one doubles for the boys and both doubles teams for the girls on Friday in Class 1-3A District 4 individual tennis competition with top-three finishes.

The Rams and Lady Rams return to Lovington today for team competition. Class 1-3A state tennis team competition is scheduled for next Friday and Saturday and the individual competition for May 12-13 in Albuquerque.

Junior Kyle Adams and senior Matt Tucker teamed up to win the doubles championship, while Rams senior Logan Brown finished third in singles.

Meantime, junior Ella Erf and sophomore Bethany Self captured the girls doubles title and sophomores Tessa Bryant and Kassandra Short placed third.

Adams and Tucker, seeded second, cruised past Roswell Valley Christian’s Kyle Wilson and Vilin Bhakta 6-0, 6-1 in the first round, then rallied to beat Alex Black and Isaac Brown of Lovington 1-6, 7-5, 6-0 in the semifinals. They beat Lovington’s top-seeded team of Juan Uranga and Tim Brown 7-5, 6-1 for the title, avenging a 6-1, 6-3 setback to that same tandem in dual competition on Tuesday.

“I was very pleased with our doubles,” Rams coach Wade Fraze said. “(Thursday) at Clovis I said (Adams and Tucker) played better than they had all year, but today eclipsed that.”

Portales’ other doubles team, junior Davey Riser and senior Justin McCasland, lost in the first round to New Mexico Military’s Ian King and Eric McMahon 6-4, 5-7, 6-2.

In singles, the second-seeded Brown cruised past Valley Christian’s Paul Huebner 6-3, 6-1 before losing to Mark Helfman of NMMI 6-2, 6-4. He earned a trip to state by beating teammate Colton Stanton 6-3, 6-2 for third.

Stanton, the fifth seed, whipped fourth-seeded Johnny Newton of Lovington 6-3, 6-0 in the opening round before losing in the semis 6-0, 6-0 to Kyle Lynch of NMMI, the top-ranked player in 3A.

“Colton has just really improved over the last week or two,” Fraze said.

Erf and Self, both undefeated this season in singles as well as doubles, had a cakewalk through the bracket. They earned a first-round bye, then blanked Alyssa Bromley and Kruti Bhakta of Lovington 6-0, 6-0 before thumping the Lady Wildcats’ Danielle Olivas and Sarah Maker in the finals 6-1, 6-0.

Bryant and Short beat NMMI’s Katie Bromley and Rebecca Bhakta 6-1, 6-0 in the first round, then lost to Olivas and Maker 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 before beating Bromley and Bhakta 6-1, 6-0.

Lady Rams coach Michelle Wallis was pleased to get Bryant and Short through.

“They did very well,” Wallis said. “Tessa’s ‘poaching’ (drop shot) was really good. It was a back-and-fourth match (with Olivas and Maker) with some great shots.”

In singles, junior Tamara Stroik lost to Lovington’s Katy White 6-1, 6-0 while sophomore Tara Thron lost to Alina Peredeyko 6-4, 6-4 in first-round matches.