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Girls tennis: Toppers looking to repeat

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By Mike Cote

Mum’s the word.There are plenty of reasons to be excited about the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls tennis team this season. Just don’t bring it up.“The first thing the girls said to me was ‘don’t tell us we’re favored,’” head coach Bruce Cottrell said.Like it or not, Los Alamos will be on the shortest of short lists in 2008 to challenge for a state Class AAAA title.In 2007, Los Alamos stunned Albuquerque Academy in the state championship final, 5-4, to win its first team title since 2004.This season, the Hilltoppers will have almost everyone back from that team, and expectations are running high, especially considering AAAA runner-up Academy, which was the top-seeded team at state last May, lost seven of its top 10 to graduation.To say Los Alamos has experience coming back is something of an understatement.“This is the oldest team I’ve had in 15 years,” Cottrell said of his senior-laden team, adding that “the other five I have that aren’t seniors are very good.”Going into this season, the Hilltoppers’ biggest problem may be that they have more good players than they have spots to put them.