Tennis: Topper teams file postseason rosters

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By Mike Cote

Both the Los Alamos Hilltopper tennis teams submitted their postseason lineups to the New Mexico Activities Association before Sunday's deadline.

There were no big surprises in the lineups the Hilltopper teams submitted. The submitted lineups will be what all teams will have to stick with throughout the postseason, barring doctor-confirmed injuries.

The District 2AAAA tournament starts May 2 at Taos, the Class AAAA team tournament will be played the following weekend and the individual state tournament the following weekend.

Hilltopper girls head coach Bruce Cottrell was unhappy with having to finalize his roster on April 20 this season. Prior to this season, the lineups weren't due until April 30.

Part of Cottrell's dilemma was that he had a few players who, with an extra 10 days, might have been able to work their way into the top six singles or top three doubles, as has happened in the past.

"I think the NMAA was getting tired of hearing me complain about it," Cottrell said.

The top six singles and the top three doubles are used to determine the outcome of the district and state team championships. At the district tournament, three singles players and three doubles teams from each squad will compete for the individual title.

Both teams will be seeded first for the 2AAAA team competition based on their undefeated finishes at this weekend's pre-district competition.

Los Alamos' girls beat all three other district squads, Capital, Española Valley and Taos by scores of 8-1. Against neither Capital nor Española Valley did the Hilltoppers play their strongest lineup.

The 'Topper boys, meanwhile, knocked off Taos and Capital 9-0 and lost just one match to Española Valley at the pre-district competition.

"This is the time to peak," Hilltopper boys head coach Giri Raichur said. "From here on, we've got to focus on solid strategies going through the end of the season."

Los Alamos has just one more competition prior to district, that coming Friday and Saturday at Farmington. Both coaches said Farmington's Scorpions will provide a good test to benchmark readiness for the postseason.

The 'Topper boys are changing very little with the lineup they've used for the bulk of the season. They will go with Patrick Raichur at No. 1 singles. He'll be followed by Matthew Whicker at No. 2, Avery Colby at No. 3, Ben Havemann at No. 4, Michael Lyon playing No. 5 and Sean Erickson at No. 6 singles.

The boys' top three doubles teams are Whicker/Colby, Raichur/Havemann and Stephen Townsley/Daniel Trugman.

Jeena Kim and Grace Kim will play at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, and the two will be paired at the No. 1 double slot for the 'Topper girls.

Brenna O'Hara is inked at No. 3 singles, followed by Megan Townsley at No. 4, Chelsy Smith at No. 5 and Elyse Jalbert at No. 6.

O'Hara/Townsley will be at No. 2 doubles and Emma Myers/Desta Shelley will play No. 3 doubles.