Tennis: LA looks to get back to form

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By Mike Cote

The Los Alamos Hilltopper tennis teams are participating in their second event of the season this weekend.
Los Alamos’ boys and girls are taking part in the Bosque Invitational in Albuquerque. The two-day event will continue through Saturday.
Both Hilltopper teams will have to find replacements for some of their top players that were lost to graduation in 2010.
Los Alamos’ boys finished as the Class 4A runners-up last season, making a sparkling run through the 4A playoffs before falling to Albuquerque Academy. Academy, which only has Class 5A La Cueva to argue with about being the top program in the state, won its eighth consecutive team title in 2010.
For the Hilltopper girls, they advanced to the championship semifinals before getting knocked off by Farmington, which went on to win the girls title.
Both teams will have a solid nucleus coming back, but it remains to be seen whether either can get back to title-contending form this season.
The Hilltopper girls will be without Sarah Worland and Brenna O’Hara, two of their top players from last season who together finished third in the girls double state tournament.
Los Alamos will be looking for junior Gillian Hsieh-Ratliff and sophomore Colleen Fitzsimmons to step up. Hsieh-Ratliff and Fitzsimmons squared off in the District 2AAAA championship match, with Fitzsimmons prevailing after nearly three hours, 6-3, 6-4.
For Los Alamos’ boys, they will also be adjusting to a new coach, Lloyd Wilton. Wilton, a former standout player for Los Alamos, takes over for Giri Raichur, who resigned after last season. Los Alamos’ top two players, Patrick Raichur and Matt Whicker, are also both gone.
Chase Havemann and Dominic Lucido are seasoned veterans returning for their senior season and junior Stephen Townsley has been a solid singles and doubles player for the past two seasons.