Published: 12:01 am, Sun. May. 1st, 2016Updated: 12:50 am
The Bulldog and Lady Bulldog tennis teams checked a major goal off their list Saturday at the District 4-AAAAA Individual Tournament in Lovington, qualifying four individuals apiece for the Class 5A State Tournament.
The Lady ‘Dog doubles duo of Marissa Lopez and Kabryn Conner, and Bulldog Jamey Kennemur came away with District 4 titles Saturday, while Josiah Kraft placed second overall in boys’ singles, Jake Trejo and Peyton Prothro logged a runner-up finish in boys’ doubles, and Melissa Richards and Baylee McKinney took third in girls’ doubles to also punch their tickets to state.
And perhaps most meaningful of all, the Bulldogs’ and Lady ‘Dogs six seniors – Kennemur, Kraft, Prothro, Conner, Lopez and McKinney – ensured they’ll be competing this year in both the state individual and team tournaments.
“All of our seniors did exceptionally well leading their teams to state and then also getting the opportunity to play as individuals at state, and that’s really a success story for both sides to be able to do that,” head coach Tim Trentham said Saturday. “I’m really proud of our seniors.
“Especially when you spend so much time with those kids and put in so much work, it’s sometimes hard to see the finish line, but they can all be proud of what they accomplished today.”
The boys’ singles final Saturday was a bit unique for the Bulldogs, as it found teammates Kennemur and Kraft squaring off against one another.
Kennemur made his way to the title tilt with a first-round win over Lovington’s Juan Martinez (6-1, 6-0) and semifinal victory over Nathaniel Trombla of Roswell (6-1, 3-6, 6-0). Kraft, meanwhile, dispatched Ric Hernandez of Lovington in the opening round (6-4, 6-1) before edging out Goddard’s Leo Melendez in the semis (5-7, 6-4, 6-4).
With both athletes knowing their state slots were secure, Kennemur ultimately came away with the win, 6-2, 6-1.
“It’s kind of hard when you meet each other in the finals,” said Trentham. “We had to be kind of hands-off, because you don’t want to coach one more than the other. At that point, you just let them play and let the chips fall where they may.
“It was good to see them both competing for first place.”
Trejo and Prothro, meanwhile, got a bye through the first round and easily defeated Lovington’s Luis Aceves and Reid Figueroa in the semifinals, 6-2, 6-2. That pitted them against Goddard’s ace team of Jace Crawford and Christian Crawford in the final, however, and despite a hard-fought match, the ‘Dogs fell in three, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6.
“That one could have gone either way,” Trentham said. “There were just some shots that didn’t break for us.”
In girls’ doubles competition Saturday, Lopez and Conner dominated the bracket. The pair opened with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Lovington’s Dylan Davis and Fernanda Valdovinos de Dios, then bested Roswell’s Kirtsen Griffen and Macey Martinez 6-1, 6-0 in the semis before handily topping Tatiana Villa and Lizzy Latimer of Goddard in the championship, 6-2, 6-0.
“Marissa and Kabryn did great overall,” said Trentham. “They won all of their matches fairly easily.”
Richards and McKinney, meanwhile, blanked Roswell’s Zaiyra Dominguez and Elizabeth Castillo Sarellano 6-0, 6-0 in the first round but were edged out in three sets in the semis by Villa and Latimer (6-1, 4-6, 5-7). The pair came back in the third-place match, however, against Griffen and Martinez of Roswell, 6-1, 6-3.
“Baylee and Melissa had some struggles in the second round,” said Trentham. “They went up in the first set and then just kind of fell through. But they came back and handled the Roswell team pretty well.”
Tailor Baggerly and Juan Montanez came up just short of adding another doubles qualification for the Bulldogs, falling to Lovington’s Aceves and Figueroa in the third-place match (2-6, 1-6) after defeating Chris Brooks and Nickolas Elwell of Goddard (7-5, 6-4) in the first round and falling to Crawford and Crawford in the semis (0-6, 0-6).
In girls’ singles play, Hailey Ashe and Nicole Marquez were both eliminated in the first round with respective losses to Roswell’s Guadalupe Ortega (1-6, 0-6) and Goddard’s Noor Osmani (0-6, 6-2, 1-6).
“Tailor and Juan came up against the Crawford brothers in the second round and couldn’t get past them, and that put them up against Lovington’s No. 2 doubles team,” said Trentham. “They competed well, thought, and Hailey had a tough match, but I thought she played well, also.
“Nicole did split sets with Goddard’s No. 1 singles player, so that was a pretty good moral victory and a good confidence-booster for her.”
The Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs will now have two final practices this week before departing for state at 8 a.m. Wednesday at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex.
The Class 5A Team and Individual Tennis Tournaments will be seeded Sunday, and competition will run Wednesday through Saturday in Albuquerque at the Jerry Cline Tennis Center, Albuquerque Academy, and the Sierra Vista West Tennis Complex.