FARMINGTON — For the past few seasons, the Farmington high tennis squads have been among the most consistent winners in the state.
The FHS girls have made the finals every year since 2008, taking the championship on four of those six occasions, while the boys team has finished as the runner-up three straight times.
The Lady Scorpions are eager to regain their crown as the top 4A team in the state.
From 2009 through 2012, FHS won four straight girls team championships, but came up just short in 2013 after dropping a 5-4 decision to Los Alamos in the final.
The second place finish a year ago has served as motivation for the girls throughout this season.
"We all realize how hard we need to work," junior Sydney Schumacher said. "This year, we know what to expect and we'll be ready."
The team has stepped up its game this season, winning every tournament they've taken part in, including the district championship against Piedra Vista on Saturday.
"I think we've come together and bonded a lot as a team," junior Liza Briody-Pavlik said.
The boys team faces a much more difficult task if they want to claim the first team championship in school history.
Standing in the Scorps way is perennial 4A tennis giant Albuquerque Academy, who has won 15 of the last 16 state championships including 11 straight.
"We're just doing the best we can," junior Matt With said. "I feel like we have a good shot at both individual and team titles."
The Scorpions' goal is to find their way to the final against the Chargers then give it their best effort in hopes of pulling the upset.
"So far, we've done really well," said senior Nathaniel Pavlik, who won the 2013 individual doubles state title with his partner Curtis Hunt. "We have to win at least two out of the three doubles to have a chance. That will give us momentum going into the singles." Pavlik and With will team together this year in the individual doubles.
"We just want to start strong and finish strong down there," With said.
This week, the teams will head to Belen to play in the district individual singles and doubles tournaments where the top three placers will qualify for the state tournament.
"I think everyone wants to qualify but it's not too much different than a team event, because everyone is there supporting you," sophomore Riley Coleman said.
The state individual event will take place May 7-8, and will be followed by the team tournament on May 9-10.
Girls head coach Pat McGrath is expecting the team title to be as difficult as ever this season with as many as five teams expected to pose a threat for a championship.
"We know it's going to come down to the wire," McGrath said. "We'll need to have our best game for the semis though or we won't even make the final. None of the semis will finish quickly this year."