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FARMINGTON – The Farmington girls tennis team took a step forward Saturday at the Los Alamos Invite, tying Robertson for first place with 21 points, one point clear of the host Lady Hilltoppers in second place.

“This tournament always seems to be the time that the girls start to click. We saw a lot of positives during the matches,” Farmington head coach Pat McGrath said.

At the tournament, which included 16 teams, Emily Nguyen placed third in No. 1 singles, Elise Ballard placed second in No. 2 singles and Monica Briones won the No. 3 singles bracket.

Riley Coleman and Hailie Nygren placed second in No. 1 doubles with McGrath saying the two showed a big improvement from their previous performances.

“Riley and Hailie, up until now, had not looked very good. This weekend they started serving and returning much better, and moving much better as a team,” McGrath said.

In No. 2 doubles, Michelle McGrath and Katherine Fisher placed second.

The Piedra Vista boys finished up a strong weekend with a third-place performance at the Española Valley Invite on Saturday.

The Panthers finished with 23 points, one back of Santa Fe Prep in second place. Robertson won the title.

Pol Nicolai placed third in No. 1 singles and the No. 2 doubles team of Kaden Weisheisit and Justin Allen finished second.

The surprise of the tournament for the Panthers was Jacob Van De Valde.

Van De Valde, who is usually the No. 9 player for PV, was moved up to play No. 3 singles and placed second.

“He had a great weekend. Just to come up (to varsity) and do that well, it was pretty awesome," PV head coach Jenny Baker said of Van De Valde. “As well as each of them did individually, they accrued points for the team, and third place was a pretty nice finish for us at this tournament."

The Farmington boys had a tough go at the EV Invite, finishing fifth with 17 points.

“We lost three really close quarterfinal matches, and if you lose in the quarterfinals you don’t get any points,” Farmington boys head coach Larry Larson said. “We lost three three-set matches in the quarterfinals and it knocked us from being right up at the top to fifth.”

Ned Merrion placed second in No. 1 singles, and Elijah Larson and Khaleel Hollingsworth won No. 2 doubles.

The PV girls also competed at the Los Alamos Invite. Head coach Alison Goff could not be reached for comment.

The Farmington and PV boys and girls will play at the Albuquerque Academy Invite on Friday and Saturday.

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.

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