When asked what she and doubles partner Shay Brady plan on doing at the state tennis tournament, Kalee Haragan put it simply.
“We’ll bring the heat,” the junior said.
Mother Nature should have that handled in any case. The weekend in Albuquerque is expected to be pretty similar to Tuesday afternoon’s weather in Clovis — in the mid-90s without a lot of cloud cover.
Girls coach Billie Merritt said that in addition to the temperature at the Jerry Kline Complex, the compacted scheduling of the state tournament could have significant drawbacks.
The New Mexico Activities Association put a temporary halt on athletic competition last Monday after some schools closed due to swine flu fears. Sports resumed two days later with a revised schedule for state championships.
The individual tennis championships were originally scheduled for two days last week, and team championships for two days this week. Now, the individual competition is Thursday, with team competition Friday and Saturday.
As a result, should Brady and Haragan reach the doubles championship, or Yesenia Velez and/or Audie Rodela reach the title round, it will be their fourth match of the day.
If a player has a long match, like Rodela’s three-hour match in the District 4-5A championships, there’s not a lot of recovery time.
The New Mexico Activities Association has accounted for that with super tiebreakers, but Merritt thinks a state tournament should be a full tournament.
The Clovis boys have qualified their team and three individual players — sophomore Nate Carter in singles, and Andrew North and Matt Tryan in doubles.
Boys coach Tom Ebel isn’t sure Thursday will have much bearing on Friday’s team championships. The Wildcats, Ebel said, face No. 9 Cibola for the right to face top-seeded La Cueva, which has a bye. Also, Jacob Correo will be out with a hand injury, so Ebel’s moving other singles players around.
He’s made other adjustments, as well.
“We usually practice in the morning,” Ebel said, “so heat usually isn’t a factor.”
To mitigate that, Ebel said he’s tried to schedule recent practices in the afternoon.
Rodela said as long as the players stay hydrated in Albuquerque, they shouldn’t get too worn out.
“It’s more of a mental game,” said Rodela, who finished second to teammate Velez in district singles competition. “You take care of that, and let adrenaline take over.”