ROSWELL – With only two boys and a load of inexperience, one would think the Ruidoso tennis team would have had a rough go of it at the District 4-4A/1A quad, April 15-16, at New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell.
True, there were more losses than wins, but Ruidoso’s athletes showed they weren’t pushovers.
“They’re working hard and really representing Ruidoso well,” said Warrior coach James Cantu. “They’re known throughout the district as the team that won’t quit.”
Ruidoso’s only two boys to make the trip were Alex King and Cristian Castro. There were several other boys that couldn’t be there due to schedule conflicts.
While King and Castro didn’t do that well as singles on day one against Mesilla Valley and Portales, as a doubles team, they were unbeatable. They defeated Kevin Cui and Josh Frazier of Mesilla Valley 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 and turned around to best Portales’ Enrique Cabral and Zeke Aguirre 7-6 (7-1), 6-2.
“I overheard one player say to another, ‘you may win, but you’re going to be out there for a long time,’” Cantu said. “That’s a compliment to our kids. They’re going to be out there giving 110 percent.”
The girls had a full team, but struggled on day one. Mesilla Valley – a team Cantu said is “poised to be the best in the district – swept the Lady Warriors, while only Sidney Davis and Erica French were able to get singles wins over their Portales counterparts.
Day two was a much different story, as the Lady Warriors defeated New Mexico Military Institute and Silver.
Even their loss against Portales was actually a close one. There were two matches that
went to three sets – Poojan Karnik vs. Danielle Ruiz in singles and a doubles loss of French and Karnik to Danielle Ruiz and Kinsey Bilberry.
Additionally, Davis and Julie Fragoso’s doubles loss toe Zamorye Cox and Mireya Lopez included a tiebreaker in the first set.
“Had those gone our way, we would have won the team dual,” Cantu said. “Some of these wins the other teams used to take for granted against us don’t exist anymore.”
Ruidoso heads back to Roswell, April 26, for rematches against Portales and NMMI. Until then, they’re working hard, as evidenced in the team’s practice on a cold day in Ruidoso.
“I can see it in their eyes, they’re fighting every single day,” Cantu said. “Right now, it’s about 45 degrees and they know we have another hour of practice. No one has once asked if we’re going to call it.
“There’ll be no sun when we finish, and they’re OK with that. They don’t even ask anymore,” he added. “You can’t ask for anything more than that.”