Led by strong doubles play in both the semifinals and finals, Amarillo High and Randall stamped its tickets to the UIL state tennis tournament set for Oct. 26-27 in College Station.
Both teams have been dominant so far this season and nothing changed at regionals as the two squads are now a combined 62-1 on the season and strong contenders to bring home gold to the Texas Panhandle.
Randall (32-0) has occupied the top spot in the state all year long with teams bringing their best to try and upset a Raider squad that dropped from Class 5A this year.
“When rankings came out in August, and we were ranked No. 1 we immediately had a target on our back,” Randall tennis coach Darby Norman said. It created a new kind of pressure for us as we were always good (at the 5A level) but never the best”.
Based on the results so far, Randall has taken that challenge with flying colors. On Thursday at the Region I-4A Tournament in Abilene, the Raiders made quick work of an Andrews squad they had beaten in August 19-0 with a quick 15-0 victory. The Raiders were never really threatened throughout the morning with only one doubles win close in score and wrapping up the victory in singles without losing a set. Friday morning saw much of the same as Randall faced Wichita Falls High. The Raiders raced out to a 6-1 lead after doubles competition and finished off the Coyotes with singles wins from David Monroe, Dax Posey, Kynley Craddock and Landrey Posey.
The 10-1 win gave Randall their first appearance in the state tournament in school history after four losses in the regional finals. Next up for Norman’s squad is No. 4 Lindale out of Region 2 with doubles competition beginning at 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning on the intramural courts on the campus of Texas A&M.
For Class 5A and a No. 2 Amarillo High squad, the Region I-5A Tournament presented the Sandies with a tough Thursday semifinal match in Wichita Falls against No. 8 Argyle. During the doubles portion of their duel, the Sandies picked up victories out of their top two doubles teams on the boys’ and girls’ side but dropped number three girls and mixed doubles. That left a pivotal match at boys’ number three doubles. After splitting sets, Amarillo High won the third set tiebreaker to give the Sandies a 5-2 advantage and momentum headed into singles. In singles, they picked up victories at 3 of the 4 top spots in boys singles and 2 more wins on the girls side to knock off a talented Argyle club 10-3. In the finals, the Sandies faced a familiar opponent in Lubbock High. \ Back in August, Amarillo High dominated the Westerners 18-1 and nothing much changed two months later. Doubles again led the way claiming six of the first seven matches and a sizable lead where the Sandies netters made quick work of the Westerners in cruising to an 11-1 win and a state berth.
Amarillo High, led by last year’s state champion Eleanor Archer and qualifiers Wade Bryant, Taylor Vigil, Morgan Rose and Allex Gonzales, will face off against No. 12 Austin LASA (Liberal Arts and Science Academy out of Region Three). The Sandies and Raptors take the court Wednesday morning at 11:30 a.m. on the same intramural courts of Texas A&M.