Clovis district underdog

CNJ staff photo: Rick White Clovis sophomore Mandi Baca stretches to return a serve.

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

Clovis High’s tennis teams know they have their work cut out in today’s District 4-5A tournament at the CHS courts.
After all, the boys and girls teams absorbed 9-0 losses in regular-season duals from Hobbs and Carlsbad.

The seeding meeting for the three-school event is set for 9 a.m., with play beginning around 10 a.m.

Each school can have three entries in singles and doubles. With full fields, that would necessitate play-in matches between the eighth and ninth seeds to set up eight-team bracket play.

Lady Wildcats coach Billie Merritt said she’s not sure just who will play singles and doubles for her squad.

“I don’t know for certain what we’re going to do,” she said. “What the other coaches do will make a difference in what I decide to do.”
Freshman Heather Trujillo could be the girls’ best hope in singles, but if the other teams go strong in that division, Merritt said she could team Trujillo with freshman Kalee Haragan in doubles.

Haragan, though, is nursing a pulled muscle in her arm suffered while lifting weights earlier this week and her status is uncertain. She missed Wednesday’s dual against Portales at CHS.

“If Kalee is out, then Heather would play singles for sure,” Merritt said.

Clovis boys coach Dan Replogle said he expects to play seniors Marlon Wright and Devin Aragon and freshman Andy North in singles, with junior Cory Young and senior Andrew Tressell, senior Dustin Hughes and freshman Gerben VanderPloeg and senior Pavan Angadi and junior Evan Ferguson making up the doubles teams.

“I’m hoping we can sneak a singles player and maybe a doubles team into state,” said Replogle, in his first year with the program.
He said he realizes the Wildcats have a tough task ahead against the more developed programs at Hobbs and Carlsbad.

“They’re all very experienced by the time they come to high school,” Replogle said. “We’re just going to have to get our players going in the summer, and get them started a little bit sooner.”

He thinks Hobbs has the top player in the district in Josh Baker, and expects him to play singles. That may lead Carlsbad to go a little stronger in doubles.