Portales High’s girls are hopeful of doing some good things in Class 1A-3A individual state competition today and Thursday at the Jerry Cline Tennis Center in Albuquerque.
Both PHS squads are scheduled for state team competition later in the week. The boys earned one of two at-large berths in the tournament after losing in district play last week.
The Lady Rams have junior Shelby Lucero competing in singles, with senior Makynsi Whited and sophomore Kim Spotswood forming one doubles team and freshman Sabrina Montoya and eighth-grader Emily Walker also paired up. Lucero was seeded fourth in singles and Whited and Spotswood earned No. 5 seed in doubles in the 12-team bracket, while Montoya and Walker were not seeded in the top eight.
As the No. 4 seed, Lucero drew a first-round bye and won’t play until the quarterfinals on Thursday, where she will face either St. Michael’s Paloma Gomez or Mesilla Valley’s Jenna Coyle.
Whited and Spotswood will face Raton’s Danielle Leininger and Mikala Vertovic in a 3:30 p.m. first-round match today. If they will, they meet fourth-seeded Abby Younger and Margaret Stebbins of Sandia Prep at 8 a.m. Thursday.
Lady Rams coach Sara Meeks noted that Whited and Spotswood beat the Raton duo in a tourney earlier this spring. “I definitely have high hopes for that doubles team,” she said.
Montoya and Walker qualified despite their relative lack of experience. They will face Santa Fe Prep’s Willa Kaufman and Lyle Kotsch, seeded sixth, in today’s opening round at 3:30 p.m.
If they win, they get rivals Rebecca Frazier and Callie Kerby of Lovington in the quarterfinals.
“This will be great experience for them,” Meeks said. “Emily just started playing this year, and it’s Sabrina’s second year.”
For team competition on Friday, the Lady Rams were seeded fifth and play Sandia Prep at 10:30 a.m. The semifinals and finals will be on Saturday.
“My girls are definitely going to have to play tough,” Meeks said. “We lost to (Sandia Prep) in the (Las Vegas) Robertson tournament, but that was in a 2-3 (two doubles, three singles) format.”
The PHS boys also face Sandia Prep, but the Sartans come into that one as the top seed and beat Portales 5-0 earlier in the Robertson tournament. Friday’s match is scheduled for 1:30 p.m..
“These kids will et to see what state is like and play against some experienced team,” Rams coach Brian Kirchner said. “They’re pumped and ready to play. We didn’t do so well against them earlier, but the guys feel confident they can play with them.”