State champs begin new tennis season
The year is getting a lot busier for Portales High senior Hailey Quick, and that’s not even counting her responsibilities as a student.
The 5-foot-2 1/2-inch Quick (“Gotta have the half-inch,” she said) is getting prepared for her final season of Portales tennis, as she and her teammates prepare to defend the Class 1A-3A state title.
Between a part-time job at Subway and tennis, it’s a loaded schedule before her obligation to City League basketball. She and her sister, freshman Kaycee, coach the Sharks senior league girls team.
“It’s not really too hard,” Quick said. “Sometimes I miss a few games.”
The tennis season starts Friday, when Portales travels to Clovis for a three-team competition including Hereford. Despite the graduations of Sara Bulls and Kristen Van Wettering, Quick thinks the team will be in good shape.
“I’m excited, I can’t wait,” Quick said. “We’ve got some good players, like Bethany Self, coming up.”
Improvements are being made across Portales High’s baseball field, with new fences and batting cages being built.
The top question, though, is whether the Rams can make an improvement on 2003’s 7-16 campaign. Greg Hill is pretty confident the answer is yes.
“I think we’re going to be better pitching-wise, I think we’re going to be better leadership-wise,” said Hill, who said the Rams started practicing Monday.
Portales will host both Friona and Morton March 2 — those teams will play a game, with the Rams facing one of them afterwards.
Hill said that about 47 players started tryouts, but he has made cuts and intends to keep a roster of about 32 — even when more players come following the basketball season.
“We’re young and old,” Hill said. “We’ve potentially got some freshmen that will play a lot of innings.”
Softball has yet to start for the Lady Rams, who have advanced to the Class 3A regionals in each of the last two seasons.
Portales coach Robbie Crowley said the first practice would be Tuesday, giving the Lady Rams about a month to prepare for season openers (junior varsity March 15 against Clovis, varsity March 17 against Roswell).
Crowley expects about 25-30 players to come out, but will wait on the conclusion of basketball season for some of its nucleus.
“We haven’t lost much as far as the varsity,” Crowley said. “We’ve got a few positions to fill, but we’ve got the kids to fill them from the varsity.”
The team finished 8-14 last season, losing to eventual state champion Bernalillo in regionals.
PNT sports writer Kevin Wilson can be reached at [email protected].