By Mickey Winfield: PNT staff writer
The Portales tennis team brought home plenty of hardware from last year’s state tennis tournament, and they hope to have a repeat performance this spring.
Senior Ella Erf and junior Bethany Self compose the meat of the Portales girls lineup. Erf and Self combined to go undefeated and win the Class 3A state championship girls doubles competition last season. While Erf and Self are coming back, they will concentrate on singles instead.
“(Ella and Bethany) will be competing for individual titles,” second-year Portales girls tennis coach Michelle Wallis said. “For Ella, she’s a senior, and I think it’s a choice she made.”
“I enjoy both (singles and doubles) and so does Bethany,” Erf said. “We just kind of thought we’d do doubles one year, and singles the next, and just see what happens,” Erf said. “I think it would be cool if I end up getting to play her (at the state tournament). We’re both pretty competitive.”
Beyond Erf and Self, Wallis said there’s plenty of depth.
“We have everybody back,” Wallis said. “We have eight strong girls.”
Cassandra Short returns, as does fellow junior Tessa Bryant. According to Wallis, Short and Bryant are ready to assume the No. 1 doubles role. Portales senior Jayna Nance is back as well. New this year, will be a couple of youngsters Wallis is especially excited about.
“Shelby Lucero and Lauren Woodward are both incredible as eighth-graders this year,” Wallis said. “They’ve worked so hard this summer.”
The boys, however, are not quite as organized. A few of the top boys, and the head coach are currently tied up with basketball. Ram tennis coach Wade Fraze is the girls basketball junior varsity coach as well as assisting with the varsity. Brothers Skyler and Walker Partin are also busy with basketball.
Last year’s top boys, Logan Brown, Justin McCasland and Matt Tucker have both graduated, so attention turns to seniors Kyle Adams and Davy Riser as well as the Partins.
“I think the boys will be OK, I just think that right now, not everybody is out,” Wallis said.
The Lady Rams begin their season today with a trip to Roswell to play in the Goddard tournament.
“Goddard is probably going to be our toughest competition,” Wallis said. “It will give me an opportunity to see where we are at this point so we can get better.”