.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Boys tennis: LA takes top team honors at Carlsbad Invitational

-A A +A
By Mike Cote

Even through the dust, things were sunny in Carlsbad for the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys tennis team.The Hilltoppers took top honors at the Carlsbad Invitational this weekend, placing all six of their singles players and all three doubles teams in the top three to earn top team honors despite sustained winds of 40 miles per hour Friday and gusts that reached upwards of 60.The wind actually delayed the tournament for about four hours Friday afternoon.“It was especially hard,” Hilltopper No. 1 single Patrick Raichur said of the gale. “It wasn’t blowing in any one direction, and you couldn’t compensate for it.”Nevertheless, Raichur and the rest of the Hilltoppers persevered. Raichur took third in No. 1 singles and third in No. 2 doubles with partner Ben Havemann.Avery Colby and Matt Whicker were teamed at No. 1 doubles, and took third place, and Colby was a top three finisher at No. 3 singles as well. He said everyone on the team looked solid in what was only their second weekend of the season, and he personally felt good about much of his game.“My serve is really doing good,” he said following the tournament. “My groundstrokes were good. I had difficulties with my net game…but it was a real confidence-booster.”Colby/Whicker had to come back from a set down Saturday to knock off a doubles squad from Midland (Texas) Christian. The Los Alamos squad broke Midland’s squad serve in the second set, then scored a big break in the third set to close out the consolation final.Havemann/Raichur also had to bounce back from a set down in its consolation final. The Los Alamos squad was blanked in the opening set but turned it around, winning the second set 6-4 then finishing its Midland Christian opponent off 6-1.Those comeback wins were big for the Hilltoppers, whose main challenge during the early part of the season is to get their doubles lineup settled.“It feels great,” said Hilltopper Jason Grider. “It was a good measuring stick for us. All of us did really well. It bodes well for the rest of the season.”Grider was the top finisher this weekend in No. 6 singles. Because of the wind delay, he got to play his championship match under the lights in Carlsbad, beating an opponent from Burgess High School in El Paso, Texas, 8-3.Grider said he was the aggressor in his matches this weekend, which made a big difference for him.“It felt pretty good,” he said. “I haven’t played in too many tournaments where I’ve won outright.”This weekend’s tournament also included Class AAAAA teams from Hobbs and Clovis in addition to the homestanding Carlsbad Cavemen.Last week, Los Alamos earned a split in its season openers, beating Sandia but falling to Rio Rancho.“Perhaps it’s a harbinger of an exciting season,” Los Alamos head coach Giri Raichur said.Los Alamos will get a chance to keep its mojo working again this weekend, when it plays at the two-day Albuquerque Academy Invitational. That tournament starts Friday.