Belen tennis players gain valuable experience in tourney

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A recent weekend trip to Farmington gave 11 Belen-area tennis players a chance to face quality competition.

Many of the Belen players came home with medals.

News-Bulletin file photo: Belen’s Melanie Martinez competes in a high school match in the spring. Martinez was one of 11 Belen-area players to compete in the recent Four Corners Junior Tennis Open in Farmington.

Belen High assistant coach said players of all ages competed in the Four Corners Junior Tennis Open the weekend of July 13-15. While it was not a sanctioned USTA event, it still offered the Belen players a chance to face top talent — much of which was from the Farmington area.

The Farmington High girls tennis team has won the last four Class 4A state team titles, and many FHS boys and Piedra Vista players and their youth-feeder counterparts are formidable as well.

Matt Becker, Gilbert Devlin, Mikey Brown, Xavier Castillo, Isaiah Castillo, James Rivera, John Rivera, Noah Rivera, Bianca Baca, Melanie Martinez and Esperanza Herrera competed in Farmington.

Becker, a BHS senior-to-be, was the only Belen boy to compete in the 18-and-under division. He placed second, winning one match.

Devlin competed in the 16-and-under boys category. He also won one match, and lost an intense match to a talented player with ties to Farmington High.

Brown is an eight-grader-to-be, and he was one of only three boys to compete in the 14-and-under division. He was the only Belen athlete not to come out on the winning side at least once during the weekend, though both of his round-robin singles matches were intense, three-set affairs.

Brown also teamed with a Farmington player for doubles play. They lost to a duo that included the same player that defeated Devlin.

The rest of the Belen boys competed in the 10-and-under division.

Xavier Castillo, age 8, won a three-set match. His brother, Isaiah, age 7, also competed.

The three Rivera brothers, James, age 10; John, who is 8; and Noah, age 7, had some success. James and Noah teamed up for doubles, and lost a match against John and his Farmington partner.

James and Noah also won one singles match each.

On the girls side, Martinez, a BHS senior-to-be, played in the 18-and-under category. Herrera, who will be a junior, played 16-and-under. However, the pair combined for doubles.

Martinez won a singles match. She lost to Karen Moss, a high school player from the Farmington area, 6-2, 7-5. Herrera also won a singles match.

Baca, an eighth-grader-to-be at St. Mary’s of Belen, played in the 14-and-under girls bracket. She won a singles match, and earned a trophy for placing second in the category.

Baca also paired with a Farmington played for doubles, with the duo going 1-1 to take first place in the age group.


-- Email the author at jbrooks@news-bulletin.com.