Boys tennis: Hilltoppers sweep district accolades

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By Mike Cote

TAOS — It was about as clean a sweep as could be gotten.


At the District 2AAAA tennis championship tournament, the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys picked up every accolade that was there to be had.

Los Alamos earned top three places in the boys singles, boys doubles and grabbed the team championship for the 2010 season this weekend. The team and all the individual entries will now advance to the Class AAAA tournament this week.

The Hilltoppers, who have been among the top programs in the state all season and have proven that on several different occasions, waltzed through the district singles and doubles tournaments, not dropping a single set to anyone but each other.

“Placing all nine players is outstanding,” Los Alamos head coach Giri Raichur said. “But we said all along, we’re strong. This indicates we’re strong in district. What we need to prove next is at state, by exhibiting some quality tennis and do well in the individual and team.”

Los Alamos’ Chase Havemann came back from a set down in the district singles final against teammate Stephen Townsley to earn a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 victory.

In this weekend’s doubles draw, Patrick Raichur/Matt Whicker knocked off teammates Erik Edelmann/Eli Berg in the 2AAAA final, while Los Alamos’ final doubles squad, Kirk Webber/Naftali Burakovsky got off to a slow start but recovered in plenty of time to beat Matt Mendel/Brandon Mutz of Capital in straight sets.

To round out the weekend, Los Alamos turned away Taos in the championship of the 2AAAA team tournament, winning five of the six singles matches, which was good enough to earn the sweep.

Havemann had to go through a pair of his own teammates in the draw, knocking out both Lucido in the semifinal and Townsley in the final.

In the final, Townsley came out with guns blazing, but Havemann said he thought if he could hold on through the big initial push, some opportunities would present themselves.

“He was playing really well in the first set,” Havemann said. “But I knew if I stuck with it, he would start to make some mistakes. I never really took anything off my shots. Coach told me to never play timid. I just stuck with it.”

Townsley, who is state-bound as well lost just five games en route to the final with Havemann.

Lucido, meanwhile, had perhaps the toughest road to grab a top three finish, having to meet Taos’ top player, Erik Christian, in the quarterfinals — Christian had a first-round bye — then meet Capital’s No. 1, RJ Adams, in the third-place contest.

But Lucido quickly got Adams out of his game in Saturday’s consolation. Adams, who likes to serve-and-volley, found that Lucido was up to the challenge at the net.

Meanwhile, Lucido settled into his game and started putting in a lot of first serves.

The combined problems for Adams wore on him quickly.

“That was definitely an issue for me all season,” said Lucido, talking about his first serve. “(Friday and Saturday) I started to get a lot of first serves in and get some consistency.”

The singles and doubles teams will play in the AAAA tournament starting Wednesday — the official bracket is scheduled to be released sometime today — while the team tournament will start Friday and continue through Saturday in Albuquerque.