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The Los Alamos Hilltopper tennis teams will head to their third contest of the young spring season Friday.
Los Alamos will take part in the Farmington Quad tournament, which is hosted by Farmington’s Scorpions through Saturday.
Along with the Hilltoppers and Scorpions, the Scorpions’ cross-town rivals, the Piedra Vista Panthers, are also expected to participate.
The Hilltopper girls are entering this season as the defending state Class 4A champions. Last May, the Hilltoppers stunned the Scorpions in the final round of the state tournament to earn their eighth victory in program history.
But Los Alamos lost several players to graduation off that team, most notably its top doubles team of Gillian Hsieh-Ratliff and Madeline Margevicius, as well as one of its top singles players, Colleen Fitzsimmons.
The Hilltopper girls team has 18 players on its current roster, including returners Laura Whicker and Astrid Hengartner.
Meanwhile, the Hilltopper boys have a good chunk of their personnel returning this season, most notably senior Nikita Belooussov and freshman George Margevicius.
Los Alamos advanced a pair of doubles teams to last year’s state 4A tournament,
In their first tournament of the season, Los Alamos’ girls finished tied for 10th place at the El Paso (Texas) Austin Invitational, which was over the Valentine’s Day weekend.
That tournament featured teams from the southern part of the state and the city of El Paso — Los Alamos was the only team north of Carlsbad that took part.
The Hilltopper girls had 60 points at El Paso. El Paso Coronado won handily, while Las Cruces Mayfield finished tied for second.
Los Alamos’ boys were 16th out of 18 competing teams at Austin. Margevicius picked up a pro set win over Sam Howard of Carlsbad, 8-6.
Following this weekend’s tournament, the Hilltoppers will make their second trip of the season to El Paso. They will take part in the El Paso Chapin tournament starting March 7.
Last weekend, the Hilltoppers took part in a two-day tournament at Bosque School. The Hilltoppers finished third in that tournament following Farmington and Bosque.
For Los Alamos’ girls, sophomore Annie Smith defeated Bosque’s Kalin Baca in straight sets in a No. 4 match, but it was tough going for the Hilltoppers in several of their other matches. Louisa MacKenzie nipped Los Alamos’ No. 1 Sidra Hsieh-Ratliff, who started for the Hilltoppers as an eighth grader last year, 6-2, 5-7, 10-7.
The Hilltopper boys didn’t fare well against Bosque, losing five of the seven singles contests and two of the three doubles contests. JD Downing was a straight-set winner at No. 6 singles, while Downing and doubles partner Drake Terrill topped Bosque’s No. 3 doubles team of Thomas Donahue/Jacob Barney in a pro set, 8-1.