Farmington boys, girls nab second at ABQ Invite

Piedra Vista boys and girls each settle for fifth

Jake Newby

FARMINGTON — It was a successful business trip for the Farmington tennis teams over the weekend, as both returned from Albuquerque with second-place trophies.

Farmington tennis players Elise Ballard (far left), Monica Briones, Hailie Nygren, Riley Coleman, Katherine Fisher, Emily Nguyen and Michelle McGrath pose with their second-place trophy after the Albuquerque Academy Invite on Saturday in Albuquerque.

Coach Larry Larson's Scorpions shook off last week's fifth-place mark in Los Alamos to earn second at the Albuquerque Invitational, falling 9-0 to perennial powerhouse Albuquerque Academy in Saturday's final.

The Lady Scorps also enjoyed a nice run but suffered the same fate as the boys, losing to Academy in the final.

The FHS boys toppled Belen and Goddard 9-0 on Friday to set up an exciting battle with St. Michael's on Saturday morning, according to Larson.

"We were behind in five of the six singles matches after about 20 minutes of play and then rebounded to win four of them," Larson said. "This was a very competitive and exciting win for the Scorpion team."

The Scorps bested St. Mike's 6-3 before being shut down by the Chargers. Larson said Ned Merrion, Nate Benson, Elijah Larson, Andrew Moss, Sol Rascon, Khaleel Hollingsworth, Peyton Rasmussen and Kyle Hickerson helped carry FHS during the invite.

Coach Pat McGrath's Lady Scorps romped through the competition by blasting Belen, Goddard and St. Mike's, all by final scores of 9-0. Farmington's battle with Academy was more competitive than the boys' match, but FHS ultimately fell 6-3.

"This time they were the better team, but we gave a very good effort," McGrath said.

Elise Ballard won her singles match-up against Academy and also won at No. 3 doubles with teammate Monica Briones. Michelle McGrath was victorious at No. 5 singles and coach McGrath said he was impressed by her effort on the court.

"It was a very good match for Michelle. This was her first three set singles match and you always wonder how hard they will play that third set," he said. "She won 7-6, 1-6, 6-0."

Both the FHS boys and girls squads visit Robertson for matches on Friday before diving into district play on Saturday versus Gallup and Miyamura in Farmington.

The Piedra Vista girls and boys managed fifth place out of eight schools in the ABQ Invite. They were placed in a very competitive pool and wound up losing to the talented Academy and Los Alamos teams on Friday.

The PV teams rebounded on Saturday, as the Panthers downed Bosque 6-3 before besting Belen 8-1 in their final match, while the Lady Panthers defeated Bosque and Goddard both by scores of 8-1.

Lady Panthers No. 1 singles player Samantha Begay picked up a hard-fought win over Goddard's No. 1, Noor Osmani. Begay won the match 7-5, 6-1 and impressed her coach in the process.

"She was playing really great, attacking tennis," PV coach Allison Goff said of Begay. "Her placement and her net play was spot on. It carried her through that match."

The Panthers benefited from a balanced effort from top to bottom. Coach Jenny Baker said her No. 3 doubles team of Justin Allen and Kaden Weisheisit continued their consistent play.

Baker also said the ABQ Invite was a nice tuneup for both district and state.

"It was good for us to go 2-2 and see a lot of higher competition than we've seen," Baker said. "We'd only seen Los Alamos to this point, so seeing some other teams up close was good. It's a good way to see what we need to work on for state."

The PV boys and girls open up district play along with FHS against Miyamura and Gallup on Saturday in Farmington.

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.