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Local netters denied titles

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CHS’s Jason Lane prepares for a volley as teammate Cyrus Madrid watches. (Rio Rancho Observer—GARY HERRON photo)

CHS’s Jason Lane prepares for a volley as teammate Cyrus Madrid watches. (Rio Rancho Observer—GARY HERRON photo)

ALBUQUERQUE — The Storm (5-2, 3-0) sent one singles and one doubles team to the state tournament last week. The Rams (4-10, 0-3) sent a doubles team.

Neither school had any qualifiers playing at state, though, after coming up short in the recent District 1-5A tournament.

There, sophomore Maliscia Evans of Cleveland wound up fourth in singles after losing to Cibola’s Stephanie Balmer (6-7, 7-5, 6-3, 6-1) and the Rams doubles team of juniors Kristin Baca and Jordon Von Unschuld was defeated by Cibola’s Elizabeth Tran and McKay Mortensen, 6-3, 6-3, in the third-place match.

The Rams girls beat the Storm on both meetings on the court this season. The CHS boys beat the Rams in their lone get-together.

The Cleveland boys won the District 1-5A team title, while Rio Rancho was last.

RRHS’s Cyrus Albano, left, and Chandler Ballantine keep their focus on their Mayfield foes. (Rio Rancho Observer—GARY HERRON photo)

RRHS’s Cyrus Albano, left, and Chandler Ballantine keep their focus on their Mayfield foes. (Rio Rancho Observer—GARY HERRON photo)

Boys at state

Fourth-seeded Rams singles player Sean Gabaldon, a sophomore, beat Vlad Sevostianov of Las Cruces 6-2, 6-0 Wednesday, advancing to a quarterfinal match Thursday vs. No. 5 Ben Dodson of Alamogordo.

Gabaldon then beat Dodson 6-2, 6-2, to make it into the semifinals, where La Cueva’s undefeated state champ Michael Tran beat him 6-0, 6-0.

Completing his busy, three-match day, Gabaldon was defeated in the third-place match by second-seeded Dane Paulsen of Manzano, 6-0, 6-2.

Unseeded Andrew Seaton, a Storm senior, was knocked out in straight sets in the first round by Paulsen, 6-0, 6-1.

Cleveland’s seventh-seeded tandem of Cyrus Madrid, an eighth-grader, and junior Jason Lane knocked off Mayfield’s Michael Walker and Adam Johnson in their first-round match Wednesday, 6-1, 7-5.

That victory sent them into a quarterfinal contest vs. La Cueva’s No. 2 team of Eli Echt-Wilson and Gavin Korsan on Friday. The Bears, poised for a state team title and numerous singles and doubles trophies, shut out the Storm 6-0, 6-0.

The unseeded Rams senior duo of Cyrus Albano and Chandler Ballantine disposed of Valley’s fifth-seeded tandem of Eric Williams and Elijah Sisneros, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, Wednesday. Albano had teamed with Sean Gabaldon in a match against the Vikings duo and been defeated (6-2, 6-4) on March 20.

They were then beaten 6-3, 6-3, in a Thursday morning quarterfinal by No. 4 Daniel Wilson and Dylan Pfeiff of Cibola.

The fifth-seeded Storm boys team played the No. 4 Alamogordo Tigers Friday afternoon in a quarterfinal contest.

Additionally, Hope Christian School senior Ben Spangler, who lives in Rio Rancho, was the No. 4 seed for Class A-AAA singles and received a bye in the first round.

In his quarterfinal match against No. 5 Juan Felix of NMMI, Spangler won, 7-5, 6-2.

He was then beaten by NMMI’s other top-notch netter, Gavin Lynch, the No. 1 seed, 6-1, 6-2, in the semifinals.

Lynch went on to become state champ; Spangler wound up third after beating Bosque School’s Will Katzman 7-5, 6-3.

That victory avenged Spangler’s 6-4, 6-3 loss to Katzman in a meeting back on April 8.

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