The District 3 tennis championship was good for the Portales High girls for two reasons, coach Sara Bulls said.
First, Portales qualified as a team and both of its doubles and singles entrants earned individual state nods. Second, it was a hot weekend in Lovington, conditions that likely will be similar to this weekend in Albuquerque.
“I think our district tournament was a great prep for state,” said Bulls, who won a doubles championship and played for Portales team title winners in 2001 and 2003. “Some of my girls played five matches in one day in 90-degree weather. Knowing they’ve done that before, I think, is going to help.”
The individual tournament will be Thursday at the Jerry Cline Complex, while team competition is Friday and Saturday at Albuquerque Academy.
Shelby Lucero and Marissa Best will compete in singles, while Portales has doubles teams of Makynsi Whited and Kim Spotswood and Megan Combs and Sabrina Montoya. Should any of them reach the championship match, they’ll have to play four matches on Thursday.
“They’ll definitely have to be prepared,” Bulls said. “As long as they keep winning, they’ll have to play a lot of tennis over the next three days.”
Portales, seeded fifth, will face Bosque in an 11 a.m. Friday quarterfinal. The winner will face either top-seeded St. Michael’s or District 3 champion Ruidoso.
“I think the girls are really ready to compete against Bosque. They graduated some seniors. We graduated some seniors, and some girls didn’t come back to play this year. I think we’re on an even ground this year.”
The boys team only has one representative, senior Walker Partin. He has competed once as a sophomore, when he played doubles with older brother Skyler Partin and finished fourth. The other two seasons, Walker chose band over the district tennis tournament, meaning he also gave up any chance at state.
“We usually do a spring trip at the end of the year,” he said, “and it always fell on top of tennis.”
This year, Partin just did tennis, and ended up qualifying in singles. He’s seeded sixth, and has an 8 a.m. quarterfinal against unseeded Graham Mullins of Santa Fe Prep.
Partin said his 2007 experience taught him to always have his A-game.
“One thing I learned, there’s a lot of competition out there,” Partin said. “We see our district and we see the best players around the area. But I’m looking at this bracket, and I recognize one name. It’s a whole new ballgame.”