Storm doubles duo gets all the way to semis in state tennis tournament

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.

Seniors William Gebhardt, left, and Antonio Ortiz were the 4 seed in the 5A state doubles tournament, where they lost to the eventual champs for the second year in a row.

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.