Eldorado High School’s haul at the state tennis championships at the Jerry Cline complex was considerable, as the Eagles captured both Class 6A singles titles and also girls doubles.
Albuquerque Academy’s Malachi Coleman and Bosque School’s Neil Katzman also won singles titles Thursday on a perfect afternoon and evening for tennis.
The two-day state team competitions begin today at various locations. The 6A and 5A boys/girls will be at Jerry Cline on Saturday for the finals, while the 1A-4A boys and girls are at Albuquerque Academy on Saturday.
The Corley sisters, Carmen and Ivana, accomplished exactly what they set out to do when the week began.
Carmen, a freshman, nearly double-bageled Albuquerque High’s Abigail Nielsen in singles (6-1, 6-0), while junior Ivana — the two-time defending singles state champion who opted to focus on just doubles this week — triumphed with partner Taylor Jones as they won in straight sets for the Eagles.
“I’m so happy for her,” Ivana said of her sister, who was the No. 1 seed. “I wanted her to get the same feeling I had when I was a freshman. I feel like she deserved it.”
Carmen wasn’t on court long. In fact, she barely broke a sweat in any of her victories. Corley dropped just three games in the tournament over four matches.
“I think it’s great to follow in her footsteps,” Carmen said of her sister. “Because I’ve always looked up to her.”
The sisters did not face each other in singles during the season.
“We decided not to do that,” Carmen Corley said.
Not that they don’t have a healthy sibling rivalry.
“We’re pretty competitive,” Ivana said. “But it’s, like, funny competitive. We’re always trying to one-up each other.”
Sadly, for those who would be eager to see them meet in 2018 — and that must be a long list of people in the prep tennis community — it appears unlikely. At least not at Eldorado.
“I think it would be great to do it,” Carmen said, “but I don’t think we will.”
Ivana Corley and Jones, the top-seeded team, rolled 6-1, 6-1 over No. 2 Courtenay Leonard and Arianna Lumanog of Sandia.
Ivana Corley is two-thirds of the way toward becoming the first Eldorado girl to win state singles, state doubles and a team championship. The Eagles are seeded No. 1 this weekend.
Emily Nguyen of Farmington (5A) and Megan Lynch of New Mexico Military Institute (4A), both No. 1 seeds, joined Carmen Corley as singles champions.
The 1A-4A doubles match had four Fulgenzi family members. Brandi and Lauren whipped cousins Jaci and Jenese, 6-1, 6-0.
Coleman in Class 5A and Eldorado’s Michael Mounho in 6A both successfully repeated as state champions Thursday. Katzman, a freshman, won when NMMI’s Farid Yunes had to retire with cramps in the third set, with Katzman serving and leading 3-2.
No. 1 seed Coleman beat second-seeded teammate Abraham Yohannes 6-4, 6-0. It was an all-Eldorado final in 6A, with No. 1 Mounho defeating No. 3 Elias Samaha, 6-3, 6-1. Katzman, the No. 2 seed in 1A-4A, prevailed 2-6, 7-5, 3-2 (ret.).
Mounho rather matter of factly said he doesn’t pick up his racket much outside of the prep season.
“I play minimally the whole year,” he said. Still, he won in straight sets in four matches.
“I think I was definitely more comfortable (this year),” said Mounho, a junior. “The competition was probably a little better this year.”
Mounho’s primary sport is basketball.
“I think if I put in more time (in tennis), I could be really good,” he said. “But I like basketball.”
Coleman registered seven 6-0 sets in his four match victories Wednesday and Thursday. Yohannes is the only player Coleman has faced this year to win as many as four games from him in a set.
Coleman broke Yohannes in the first game of the match Thursday, setting an early tone.
“It was a great match. He played really well,” Coleman said. “I was able to get an early break and hold.”
NMMI’s Yunes had to retire in the third set because it was the second time he needed a trainer because of cramps. And he also received some attention in the scheduled 10-minute break between the second and third sets.
Yunes was clearly in pain as he tumbled to the court after a point in the crucial sixth game, when he was trying to break Katzman to square the set.
“It’s really sad to see a good player like that get hurt,” Katzman said. All the boys and girls singles finalists had to play three matches Thursday; Katzman had spent more time on court Thursday than Yunes did, and admitted to having cramps in his quarterfinal victory earlier in the day.
“I knew it would be a grind,” Katzman said. He won state doubles last year with his brother Will.
Two metro doubles teams also won state: Kyler Kunzler and Tyler Paddor of La Cueva (for the second straight year), and the Hootman brothers, Coleton and Hunter, from Academy, for the third straight season.