Farmington High claimed one tennis state title and just barely missed a second at the individual state tournament.
Curtis Hunt and Nathaniel Pavlik captured the 4A boys' doubles title in a thrilling three-set match over Albuquerque Academy's Henry Collis and Mason Mellot 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-5 on Thursday at the Jerry Cline Complex in Albuquerque.
“It's great and feels satisfying,” Pavlik said. “We've been talking about winning this for like three years.”
The Scorps' duo was able to bounce back after a difficult first set to upset the No. 2-seeded team from Academy.
The FHS team came out tight in the first set but loosened up as the match progressed to pull out a victory.
“We focused on every point and were able to execute our shots,” Pavlik said.
After entering the tournament as the No. 5 seed, Hunt and Pavlik felt like they were able to fly under the radar.
“It gave us an advantage because, even though the teams were all pretty close, it looked like we were the underdog,” Hunt said.
The team had close losses early in the year to teams from Goodard and Santa Fe, resulting in the lower seeding in the state tournament, but Hunt and Pavlik were able to gel when it mattered most.
“As the season progressed, we fell in a slump,” Hunt said. “But we got it done when it counted.”
In the semifinals, Hunt and Pavlik avenged one of their early season losses by smashing the No. 1-ranked doubles team from Santa Fe, Warren Fulgenzi and Brandon Mutz 6-3, 6-0.
“They played really well against Santa Fe,” said FHS boys' head coach Larry Larson. “That's a team we lost to 6-4 in the third (set) earlier in the season.”
The FHS doubles team also knocked off the No. 4-seeded doubles team from Centennial, 7-5, 6-2, giving them three wins over the top-four ranked teams in the tournament.
In the girls tournament, the top-seeded doubles team of Molly Merrion and Danielle Nguyen fell just short of a state title for FHS, losing in the final to No. 3 Madeline Margevicius and Gillian Hsief-Ratliff of Los Alamos, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.
“They played a little too careful in the first set, but played very well in the next two sets,” said FHS girls' head coach Pat McGrath. “They were even through most of the match, but they just couldn't win the decisive points.”
Merrion and Nguyen defeated No. 5 team from Mesilla Valley 6-4, 7-6(3) in the semifinals and the No. 8 team from Moriarty 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.
No. 6 Riley Coleman and Liza Briody-Pavlik won their opening match on Wednesday 7-5, 6-1, but lost in the quarters to Margevicius and Hsief-Ratliff 6-4, 6-2.
Caroline Moss and Payton Sandoval lost in the first round of the doubles tournament, 7-6(4), 6-2 to the No. 4 seed from Los Alamos.
“This was a great experience for all of them,” McGrath said. “Most had not played in the individuals, and they looked pretty good.”
In boys' singles, Piedra Vista's No. 3 Sean Barela and Zander Halgryn and Farmington's No. 5 Matt With all won their first round matches but lost in the quarterfinals.
In girls singles, No. 4 Allie Linville of Farmington won her first round match 6-1, 6-1, but fell in the quarterfinals to No. 5 Dani Apodaca of Academy 6-0, 6-3.
Farmington's Sydney Schumacher lost in the first round 6-3, 6-1 to No. 7 Greta Miller of Santa Fe.
The Farmington and Piedra Vista boys and girls will begin the team competitions today.
“We're confident, but we know there are a lot of good teams,” Larson said. “Except for Academy, everybody is pretty even.”
The Farmington High girls enter as the No. 1 seed and will play the winner of No. 8 Roswell and No. 9 Espanola Valley.
Piedra Vista is the No. 7 seed and will open with No. 10 Artesia, with the winner facing No. 2 Los Alamos.
On the boys side, Farmington was awarded the No. 2 seed and will play the winner of No. 7 Mesilla Valley and No. 10 St. Pius X.
Piedra Vista is the No. 4 seed and opens with No. 5 Goddard.
Joshua Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.