Prep Tennis: Eagles’ shot at state comes to an end

........................................................................................................................................................................................

Belen senior Gilbert Devlin finished fourth but the Eagles boys and girls failed to place anyone in the top three in the District 1-4A tournament held at Belen High School over the weekend.

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: BELEN SENIOR Gilbert Devlin, top, hits a shot at the net during his match Friday afternoon. Devlin finished fourth in the Dist. 1-4 Tourney this weekend.

Devlin beat Grants’ Ryan Peterson and Miyamura’s Kelly Radosevich of Miyamura on Friday to advance to Saturday’s semifinals, but poor starts in matches against Piedra Vistas’ Austin Evans in the semifinals and Brandon Adair in the third place match doomed his chances of making state. Evans defeated Devlin 6-4, 6-4 while Adair won 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday, relegating Devlin to a fourth place finish in his final matches as a prep tennis player.

“I just played not to lose, I didn’t play to win. That’s all it was,” Devlin said. “I should have won the first match and played better in the second one. It was all mental. I got pretty good starts and I had the lead but I just couldn’t do it.”

BHS boys tennis coach Gary Elkins said despite the losses on Friday, and loss of Devlin to graduation, he feels the team is beginning to develop.

“These are some tough schools, (PIedra Vista) and Farmington both have great programs,” he said. “It was very competitive. We’re disappointed but still happy with their play.”

Devlin’s fellow seniors Katee Lucero and Esperanza Hererra didn’t have much more luck on the girls’ side.

Lucero lost a hard fought match to Farmington’s Hannah Faulkner 6-0, 6-3 while Hererra lost to halie Nygren of farmington in a similary tough match, falling 6-2, 6-3.

On the girls’ side, the doubles team of Mariam Mojtabi and Shania Sanchez fell just short of the semifinals, losing to the Farmington team of Casysee Epsloose and Aria Coleman by a score of 6-2, 6-0.

“We had a good season and it’s a young team,” said BHS girls coach Regina Elkins. “I think they have an idea of what to do. They’re young and that’s the bottom line. but they’re going to be ready for next year. They’re going to be some tough players.” Gary Elkins echoed that sentiment on the boys side.

“We have some rebuilding to do, but we’re young and a lot of them will be in the summer program and now they’ve got as (high school) season under their belt.

“They’ve improved and they’re starting to understand the game. SO things are loking up,” he said.