Panthers reach new heights with win over FHS

PV boys tennis team revels in first victory over rival Farmington

Karl Schneider
kschneider@daily-times.com
  • Sophomore Kaden Weisheit provided the clinching victory in a three-set match.
  • The victory was the Panthers' first tourney title of the season.

FARMINGTON — The Piedra Vista boys tennis team did something this season the Panthers have never done. They beat crosstown rival Farmington.

From left, Riley Hill, Kyler Edwards, Kaden Weisheit and Spencer Hill pose for a portrait on Friday at the Farmington Tennis Complex.

Last weekend during the Farmington Invitational at the Farmington Tennis Complex, the Panthers and the Scorps met in the finals, with PV edging the hosts with a 5-4 victory.

PV coach Jenny Baker said that when Farmington's longtime coach Larry Larson presented the first-place trophy, he told her it was the first time the Panthers had topped the Scorps.

Baker said that as the final match concluded, she stepped away from the courts, walking away from the crowd and her players as they celebrated to shed a few tears of joy. She was thinking back on all the work that has been put into the program to get it to the level that it's at now.

"Their tennis has progressed, but their mental progression, I think, has been the most important," Baker said. "We decided that the pressure was not on us, and I asked them to go out and do their best like any other match we play, and I think that flip of the switch was enough for them."

The Panthers have been catching up to Farmington over the past couple of years. At last season's FHS Invite, the Scorps earned a 5-4 win over PV in the finals, leaving the Panthers feeling they let one slip away.

But even though PV lost last year, the close decision showed the Panthers how far they've come.

PV senior Kyler Edwards said he goes back and looks at previous results, seeing the improvement the team has made over the years while never being able to topple the Scorps. And when the Panthers finally got past their rival, he felt sheer joy.

"It's hard to describe that feeling," Edwards said. "Going through high school, we've played them so many times. We always refer to them as a great team and saw them as unbeatable for a while. You look back at it, and we kept losing and losing. It felt so great to finally say that we beat them."

Fellow senior Spencer Hill echoed Edwards' words that the Panthers looked at Farmington as an unbeatable opponent.

"A lot of the times, we lost so much that it felt like a block on our brains. We went in expecting to lose," Hill said. "But this time, it was different. We had a different energy that I think helped us overcome it. We came out wanting to win and not expecting to lose, and that changed the entire game."

Down 2-1 after the doubles matches, Edwards, brothers Spencer and Riley Hill, and Kaden Weisheit won their singles matches with Weisheit notching the match-clinching victory in the third set.

Weisheist said at some point in the third set he had a feeling the day's outcome would be determined by his match, but he said he never let that get to him.

"I don't know why, but I didn't feel any pressure," Weisheit said.

Baker said part of what makes this year's group great is its ability to come together as a team. No one on the roster is the more of a leader than the next guy. They all share the responsibilities and have built a connection that pushes them to be better, she believes.

"Surprisingly, that is the different part of this team," Baker said of the leadership. "They're very honest with each other. They'll tell each other, 'Hey, you need to get it together.' They're real straightforward, but they all know they're working for each other."

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