Portales girls win state tennis championship
ALBUQUERQUE — The Portales girls tennis team swept Ruidoso 5-0 on Saturday at the University of New Mexico on Saturday, capping its run through Class 1A-3A with the state title.
The title is the third in school history and the second in the last three seasons for the Lady Rams, which ended the season with a 13-3 record and a perfect record in Class 1A-3A.
“The girls did well,” Portales coach Bill Wahlman said. “They made a committment to doing it throughout the year and they did it well.
“They have talked about winning it for the last few weeks,” he said. “They not only talked about it — they worked hard and made it come true.”
It was more than talking for the Lady Rams, as Sunday afternoons revealed over the season. Senior Kristen Van Wettering talked about how she would call Rachelle Self out of nowhere on a Sunday to go work on hitting. By the time they arrived, the rest of the team was at the court with the same idea.
Van Wettering said that Portales was an “extremely young” team and probably wouldn’t have earned a state title without those Sunday afternoons that became informal practices.
“I feel extremely satisfied,” Van Wettering said. “I think we had a dream, we busted our butts all season and we got it done.
“This is exactly where I wanted to be.”
Portales earned a pair of state championships on the courts this week, as Van Wettering and Sara Bulls defeated teammates Hailey Quick and Rachelle Self in the doubles championships on Wednesday.
Van Wettering and Bulls were dominant again for Portales in its two team matches, as the Lady Rams went undefeated in its six singles flights on Friday and Saturday.
Van Wettering had no problem in No. 1 singles against Ruidoso’s Heather McDougal, winning 6-1, 6-1. Hailey Quick defeated Kristine Bewley 6-0, 6-1, while Morgan Erf and Jessica Bulls won 6-2, 6-2 over Elizabeth Pruet and Jennette Zagune.
In the other doubles match, Self and Kaycee Quick defeated Beth Robinson and Katherine dunson 7-5, 6-4.
With the state championship already clinched, Sara Bulls and Christine Brown played their third set in No. 2 singles as a pro set in order to clear the court. Bulls defeated Brown 4-6, 6-2, with a 10-8 win in the pro set.
Van Wettering said a driving force for the Lady Rams was to win one for Wahlman, who completed his 27th season as Portales’ tennis coach. While Van Wettering did not want to speculate on Wahlman’s future plans, she knew that it was her last season under Wahlman.
Portales 4, St. Michael’s 1
In what Wahlman considered Portales’ toughest match, the Lady Rams survived a series of tiebreakers to score a 4-1 victory over St. Michael’s on Friday. The Lady Horsemen had knocked out defending state champion Sandia Prep, but could not pull off a semifinal victory over the Lady Rams.
Van Wettering and Sara Bulls took easy victories over Virginia Luff and Annie Garcia in singles, while Hailey Quick needed a second-set tiebreaker to oust Erica Summer for a 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) win.
In doubles Self and Kaycee Quick needed only two sets against Kat and Martine Lopez, but faced tiebreakers on each set in a 7-6 (13-11), 7-6 (7-5) win.
St. Michael’s took its only win in No. 2 doubles, as Jessica Butler and Jennifer Pacheco defeated Erf and Jessica Bulls 7-5, 6-3.