Clovis High’s boys have qualified for Class 5A state team tennis competition at Albuquerque’s Jerry Cline Tennis Center on May 7-8.
Today, the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats, who did not qualify their team, take part in the District 4-5A tournament at Hobbs, hoping to send qualifiers to 5A state individual competition at the same location on Wednesday and Thursday.
Clovis, Hobbs and Carlsbad will each enter three singles players and three doubles teams, with the top three finishers in each advancing next week.
The meet, which starts at 8:30 a.m., was originally scheduled for Clovis but was moved because the rugged winter weather created some cracks on the CHS courts.
Who qualifies for state depends to some extent on how teams line up — whether schools go stronger in singles or doubles.
Clovis boys coach Tom Ebel will send senior Andy North, junior Nate Carter and freshman Jordan Pitts into singles competition, while the Cats doubles teams to be made up of senior Seth Zarate and sophomore Charlie Sharp, junior Kyle Ferguson and sophomore Jay Shah and juniors Rosstin Ahmadian and Brady Meador.
Ebel said North, who finished fourth at state in doubles with the graduated Matt Tryon last year, can win the district singles title, and Carter also has a good chance to qualify. The Cats’ hopes in doubles are led by Sharp and Zarate.
“I’m hoping Andy wins district,” Ebel said. “Nate could win his first match or he could come in second, and I think Charlie and Seth could come in first or second.”
North, a native of England, said he prefers singles to doubles.
“I set myself to play singles at the start of the year, and I’ve been focusing on that,” he said. “Individual (state competition) is a big thing. Last year, I took fourth (in doubles); this year, my goal is to get third in state.”
North lost to Hobbs’ Bryan Loflin 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 on Tuesday at CHS and could meet him again in the finals. North beat Loflin 7-5, 6-0 in the finals of a tournament at Hobbs earlier this spring.
“Give him his due — he played a really good match (on Tuesday),” North said. “But I had a very bad match. I was not very happy with myself.”
CHS girls coach Billie Merritt did not divulge her lineup for today, saying she wanted to see whether or not Carlsbad goes strong in doubles. Freshman Jesenia Velez and senior Audie Rodela, both of whom qualified in singles last year, could both go singles or form a doubles tandem.
“If we go (strong) singles, I feel really good about Jesenia and Audie,” Merritt said. “If Carlsbad goes strong in singles, I feel pretty good about those two in doubles.”