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.
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.