and Sarianna Kuuttila
are the favorites to dominate New Mexico tennis this spring.
Paulsen, a senior at Manzano (Albuquerque)
, already has beaten No. 2-ranked La Cueva (Albuquerque)
senior standout Eli Echt-Wilson
6-2, 6-2 to win the Albuquerque Public Schools City Tournament. Echt-Wilson, who played despite a back problem, is the No. 3 winner in school history with a 73-11 record and climbing the charts.
The La Cueva boys are defending large-school state champions and have won five state titles under veteran coach Dick Johnson, who — counting five years coaching girls teams — is nearing 300 career wins.Albuquerque Academy
, which plays in the state's second-largest class, has fielded a dominant tennis program for many years, notching 12 state titles in a row and 16 of 17 during that stretch.
Coach Ray Jaramillo has claimed six of those titles with singles champions and with doubles champions four times. His top returnee is junior Jack Apodaca
, who shared the state doubles crown last spring.
boys and girls are always a threat because veteran coach Ryan Galindo annually produces champion doubles teams and often wins with depth at singles.
Carlsbad has won eight large-school team championships — five in the girls division and three in the boys division. Seven times it has earned doubles crowns.Girls Tennis
Kuuttila, a sophomore at La Cueva
, has a tradition to uphold since her older sister, Anna, is a former state singles champion. She was handed her only two losses last year by the eventual state champion.
Besides La Cueva, Albuquerque Academy
and Mayfield (Las Cruces)
also have strong teams.Eldorado (Albuquerque)
can't be counted out either, because it is led by the state's No. 2 player, Ivana Corley
. Though she is just a freshman, Corley is one of the top-ranked players in the Southwest Regional, according to first-year coach Helen Horn, a former Division I college coach.
The Academy is led by junior Melissa Pick, a two-time state singles champion. Last year she was unbeaten in singles and doubles during the regular season, then played only doubles in the state tourney and finished second despite playing with a cast on her right wrist.
Mayfield's standout is senior Lindsay Harlas
, daughter of coach Judy Harlas. After placing fourth in singles last year and third as a sophomore in the largest class, she is off to a perfect 17-0 start this year — winning four invitationals.Small Schools
In the smaller-schools division, New Mexico Military Institute (Roswell)
, a Class 4A school this year, can hold its own against the bigger powers.
New coach Sean Reeves is very high on his 19-player team and believes he has three standouts "who could compete for No. 1 any place."
His No. 1 player is senior Ian Nelson
, No. 2 is Juan Felix Garcia
, a senior from Mexico, and No. 3 is Vicente Rios Velasco
, a first-year sophomore transfer from Mexico.
Reeves, who is a Sergeant E/5 with the Army National Guard, has inherited a team which has won at least the last four state team titles and 108 matches. The records, he noted, are not yet fully researched and the streaks could be even longer.