After having to reschedule matches due to inclement weather and cutting late-night games short, the four teams in District 32-6A advancing to the playoffs are focused and ready to go.
The four teams advancing to the team tennis postseason are Harlingen South, Los Fresnos, Harlingen High and Hanna. Team tennis playoff matches will kick off Oct. 15.
The Los Fresnos Falcons ended the regular team tennis season with a 4-1 record, finishing second in district.
“We’re very happy,” Los Fresnos coach Bill Sandlin said. “We’ve been working for this for several years. I think we’ve been competitivewith some of the upper teams, so now that we were able to get them, we’re very happy. We’re looking forward to our first (playoff) game. I know it’s a couple of weeks away, but we have to stay focused and practice to be ready to play whoever we go up against on the other district.”
Sandlin added the Falcons feel they have unfinished business in the postseason, as they are eager to see how far they can go.
“We think that our district is a tough district, so it prepares us well,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of good matches, and we’ll try to stay mentally focused.”
For Los Fresnos, No. 1 boy Chancellor Wyattand No. 1 girl Kayla Ortiz have provided the leadership and guidance the team
needed to finish the regular season strong.
“A lot of players look up to them for leadership,” Sandlin said.”They’ve usually been winning their matches, so they’ve been leading the team. … The younger kids, sophomores and freshmen, are looking up to them.”
Harlingen South cruised through the regular season, finishing first and undefeated (5-0) in 32-6A competition. Hawks coach Noe Stillman is proud of how far the team has come this season and is excited to watch itplay through the playoffs. However, to be the best in the district, the Hawks practiced hard and played tough matches against schools in San Antonio and Houston to prepare for the season.
Stillman said the hard work paid off, as the team is stronger than it has ever been. “On our boys side, for a second straight year, we were really strong,” he said. “We dominated pretty much everywhere we’ve been with the exception of Houston Memorial, they’re the state champions, but we held our own against them. “Along with that, our girls are young, and we are more athletic than we’ve ever been. They did a good job this year. Everywhere we’ve been at, we’ve performed well. I think those are the two things I would say really stand out.”
He said another reason the Hawks have been successful is because they have a deep team.
“Early on in the season, we played these two tournaments, one in San Antonio and one in Houston,” he said. “We went for the competition. We ran the gauntlet here in district, obviously. We might’ve lost a coupleindividual matches, but
those were pretty much because we substituted kids. We worked hard all summer to try to improve.”
The Hawks don’t know who they will face Oct. 15, but Stillman said the team will be ready.
The Harlingen High Cardinals were in a fight all season, aiming to get one of the four spots in the postseason. Fortunately for the Cardinals, hard work and dedication paid off as they finished with a 3-2 record and third in 32-6A.
Harlingen High faced a tough challenge after losing a top player, but coach James Tanamachi said the Cardinals put that behind them and fought through to get where they’re at now. “My kids have really stepped up this year after losing our returning regional qualifier and No. 1 boy who moved to San Antonio at the beginning of the year,” Tanamachi said. “Junior Luke Alvarado has played really well and won some big matches for us at No. 1 boys singles and doubles. Seniors Andy Cortez, Aaron Mitchell and Martin Lopez have won big matches for us as well.”
The Cards coach added the girls side also has risen to the occasion, even after losing its top two players to graduation last year.
“Addie Flores, Kate Scaief and Laura Macmanus all have stepped up and won tough matches throughout the season so far,”he said.”Laura Macmanus came from a set down to win a very important match in a thirdset tiebreaker for us versus Hanna this week that put us up 7-5 in matches after the singles instead of being tied at 6, so that was huge towards us winning.”
Overall, Tanamachi said he is proud of how the Cardinals performed throughout the regular season and can’t wait to see them take on the challenges the playoffs will bring.
“Even in our losses, our kids have kept fighting all year through every match until the last point,” he said. “As long as they continue with that work ethic, I think we will be successful this year in the playoffs and beyond, and even off the courts and in the classrooms.”
For the Hanna Golden Eagles, the girls side put the team on its back and carried it to a fourthplace finish in 32-6A competition, enough to secure the last playoff spot. Hanna ended the regular season with a 2-3 record.Eagles coach Tyrone Powers said if it wasn’t for the girls, the team might not have made it.
“Our girls have been steady and winning their matches,” Powers said. “They lost a couple of close matches, but for the most part, they’ve been pretty much carrying the team. The boys are getting better. They’re losing some close matches now, but at least we’re able to compete.”
The Hanna team is now preparing to take on whoever places first in District 31-6A. Either way, the Eagles achieved the goal they had been aiming to reach. “We had a goal to get to the playoffs,” Powers said. “We lost a lot of seniors last year, and these guys wanted to make the playoffs. They reached that goal. We won last year our first match in area, so we’re hoping to get by area and get to play somebody up north.”