ALBUQUERQUE — Battling the wind and cold as much as their opponents on the other side of the net, Rio Rancho’s state tennis tournament contingent had a respectable showing Thursday, when the entire singles and doubles tourney was contested, at the Jerry Cline tennis complex in the Duke City.
The District 1-5A team champions — the Rio Rancho High School girls and the Cleveland High boys — were involved in the team tournament late last week, with varying degrees of success.
Three of five Rams singles players got as far as the quarterfinals before being knocked out.
The girls had three players entered:
• Breanna Ford rallied from a first-set loss to beat Albuquerque High’s Sage Garcia (2-6, 6-1, 6-1), then beat fourth-seeded Mikayla Lerrera of La Cueva (6-1, 6-0) in the round of 16 before falling in the quarterfinals to also-unseeded Kate Stratton of Albuquerque High (6-2, 6-1).
• Samantha Baltz had no problem defeating Roswell’s Kathia Hernandez (6-1, 6-0) to get to the round of 16, then lost to No. 2 seed Ashley Seay of Carlsbad (6-1, 6-1).
• Katelyn Segal was Seay’s victim in the quarterfinals (6-4, 6-0); Segal had beaten Centennial’s Maggie Long (6-1, 6-0) in the round of 16.
Two Rams boys also played at state:
• Ben Ogden, playing in one of four first-round matches, lost to Ethan Jimenez of Hobbs (3-6, 6-0, 6-3); Jimenez then lost in the round of 16.
• Phil Chacon beat Centennial’s Alex Chang (6-1, 6-3) in the round of 16, then fell to No. 1 Georgio Samaha of Eldorado (6-0, 6-1) in the quarterfinals; Samaha is the defending 5A state champ.
The Storm had two boys and one girls doubles teams entered:
• Unseeded Mikayla Barrette and Cadence Boras were KO’d by Centennial’s Jordan DeArmond and Alexie Stiles (6-4,0-6, 6-1) in the first round.
• Unseeded Bryce Schuman and Jackson Stone fell to Antonio Rubio and David Elder of Sandia (6-4, 6-4) in the first round, too.
• Fourth-seeded seniors William Gebhardt and Antonio Ortiz beat a Centennial duo (6-2, 6-0) in the round of 16, then took care of Mayfield’s Parker Cunningham and Robert Jones (6-2, 6-0) in straight sets, moving them into the semifinals, where top-seeded Julian Lee and Jason Lyons of La Cueva — last year’s state champs and also seniors — waited.
It was the second year in a row Gebhardt-Ortiz were seeded fourth; they were knocked out in the quarterfinals in 2018.
But, once again, the Lee-Lyons duo was more than they could handle, as the Storm tandem bowed in the final match, 6-1, 6-2. Later, Lee-Lyons repeated as state champions.