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Prep tennis: ABQ High tops La Cueva for girls title

The state high school team tennis tournament offered a little bit of the redundant — the boys from Albuquerque Academy and La Cueva, to cite two examples — but also a offered a taste of something new. Something Kelly green.

In this case, that would be the Albuquerque High girls, who on Saturday earned the program’s first blue trophy, winning a tense Class 6A final on a chilly day at the Jerry Cline Complex.

Robertson swept the Class 1A-4A titles, with Farmington’s girls laying claim to the 5A crown.

Girls

While Robertson (1A-4A) and Farmington (5A) went back-to-back, the Bulldogs, the No. 3 seed, edged No. 1 La Cueva 5-4.

“That was our goal the entire time, to beat La Cueva,” AHS freshman Madelynn Chavez said.

The team match was determined at No. 2 doubles, when Chavez and sophomore Skye Dorato won in straight sets to get the Bulldogs a blue trophy.

“It was pretty nerve-racking,” Dorato said. “But we’ve played together all season, so we stayed calm.”

Individually, Chavez is part of AHS’ No. 1 doubles tandem with Abigail Nielsen. But as is often the case for team doubles, members are paired with different partners.

“Too much strength at the top doesn’t help the team,” AHS coach Becky Lee said.

Dorato and Chavez broke La Cueva at 3-all in the second set, and broke again moments late to win their match 6-4, 6-3, and clinch the team victory.

“We worked a lot on doubles this year,” said Lee. “It always comes down to doubles.”

Chavez on Thursday won a state title in individual doubles with Nielsen.

“It’s just crazy,” Chavez said. “I’m speechless.”

AHS had beaten No. 2 seed Mayfield 5-1 in the semifinals.

  • Farmington’s No. 3 doubles tandem of Arin Coleman and Danielle Nguyen had the deciding victory for the top-seeded Scorpions in their 5-3 win over No. 2 seed Albuquerque Academy. The Scorpions won Nos. 3-6 singles, forcing the Chargers to try to sweep the three doubles matches.
  • Robertson, the No. 2 seed, upset No. 1 Mesilla Valley 5-2 in the final.

Boys

It is 13 state championships in a row for Academy after the top-seeded Chargers made quick work of second-seeded Farmington, 5-0, in the Class 5A title match. Academy has won state in 17 of the past 18 seasons.

Many of the Chargers — and this is a young team — weren’t even born in 1998 when the streak started.

“I’ll tell you, it’s an endless pipeline of kids that keep coming in,” Academy coach Ray Jaramillo said.

Academy posted a 127-4 mark in singles and doubles sets this season, Jaramillo said. And in six of the past seven seasons, the Chargers managed to beat the big-school state champ in the regular season, he said.

Academy’s 13-0 record this year includes an 8-1 romp over 6A state champion La Cueva, although Jaramillo said Farmington was the best team the Chargers played this season.

No. 1 seed Academy dropped a combined 10 games in its five matches that determined the team trophy.

“This is always such a great environment,” said No. 1 singles player Henry Collis, who finished as the 5A individual runner-up Thursday. “It’s our main sport, and we’re very hard-working.”

  • No. 1 La Cueva downed No. 2 Hobbs 5-3 in the inaugural 6A state tournament. The Bears got a key victory in No. 2 doubles from freshman Tyler Paddor and sophomore Kyler Kunzler, and that sparked La Cueva to a 2-1 lead going into singles.

“We knew there would be a lot of pressure on them, but they played a great match,” La Cueva coach Dick Johnson said of Kunzler and Paddor.

After doubles, the Bears, led by No. 1 Eli Echt-Wilson and No. 2 Gavin Korsan, owned a noticeable edge in singles. Echt-Wilson leaves as the school’s all-time wins leader, either with 106 or 108; Johnson was unsure of the exact number.

La Cueva has been the big-school champ in 12 of the last 15 seasons.

“These kids at times overachieved,” Johnson said. “We went through a lot this year. We weren’t the dream team like last year.”

Said Korsan: “For sure, we knew we’d have more competition this year. It was really a team effort.”

  • In 1-4A, No. 1 Robertson blanked No. 2 Mesilla Valley 5-0. It is the Cardinals’ first title since 2007.
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