Warrior tennis in flux

By Todd Fuqua

Ruidoso’s tennis calendar hasn’t been your normal high school athletic schedule this year.

It’s changed so often that a full schedule isn’t even listed on MaxPreps.

That’s not anything against Ruidoso coach James Cantu, who has been blindsided a few times by NMAA rules and regulations.

It also hasn’t helped that Ruidoso’s rosters have flipped dramatically as well. In February, Cantu was looking forward to a year with full boys and girls teams.

But now it’s only the boys that have enough players for a full squad, and most of them are playing for the very first time.

That makes the Warriors’ prospects of getting anyone to State a very distant goal, but Cantu said his team’s progress from beginner has been promising.

“Most of my guys have only played for three weeks,” Cantu said. “This isn’t a sport you get very good at in three weeks. Although I’d take these kids against any other players that have played for three weeks, and I think our boys doubles team could surprise some people.

“But to throw state expectations onto someone who’s just learning the sport, I think that’s unfair,” he added.

Ruidoso’s last appearance on the court was a scheduled dual against Roswell on April 4. Before that, the boys only were in Albuquerque for a tournament against District 4-4A/1A opponents that was cut short due to weather.

“It was a tough meet, and we were playing against NMMI, which traditionally does well against us,” Cantu said of the Albuquerque tournament. “It was a sound defeat against everyone we played, but against NMMI I did see some improvement.”

This weekend, they’re in another tournament at Las Cruces against district opponents, this time facing teams from the southern half of the state.

They’ve also got two more duals against district opponents Portales, Silver and Moriarty before the district tournament, April 28-29, back in Albuquerque.

Every single one of those days is on the road, as the Warriors don’t have a suitable sets of courts to host a team match in a centralized location.

“We’re going everywhere, and playing a lot,” Cantu said. “It’s kind of what you’d pay to go to camp for. It’s going to be intensive.”

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