Canyon’s Ware, AHS-Hereford mixed doubles teams lead charge for Texas Panhandle at UIL state tennis
Canyon’s Bryce Ware hits a backhand against Siddhartha Movva of North Hills Prep during the Class 4A boys singles state championship matches in San Antonio on Friday. [Logan Lawrence/ UIL Athletics]
San Antonio— The Texas Panhandle made it a successful showing at the University Interscholastic League state tennis tournament Friday at the Northside Tennis Center in San Antonio.
Canyon’s Bryce Ware won the Class 4A boys singles state title, the Hereford mixed doubles team of Nicky Villalovos and Victoria Betzen brought back a 4A gold, and Amarillo High’s mixed doubles squad of Jackson Harwell Eleanor Archer are state champs at the Class 5A level.
Amarillo High’s Eleanor Archer and Jackson Harwell won the Class 5A mixed doubles state championship Friday in San Antonio. [Craig Sperry/ Press Pass Sports]
Highland Park has been a nemesis for AHS over the years but Harwell and Archer picked up a hard fought 6-4, 6-4 victory.
“We’ve played Highland Park a bunch in fall and spring tennis so this was a really special win,” Amarillo High coach Koby Otto said.”
Harwell and Archer were up 5-2 in the second set but the Scots didn’t go away. In the end, Harwell’s booming serve was the difference for the Sandie netters.
“Harwell’s serve really held us through this match,” Otto said. “Eleanor’s play in the semifinals helped get us here. I’m extremely proud of both of them.”
Harwell finally found gold at state to cap off an illustrious career after falling in the semi’s in 2018, and the finals in 2019
Hereford’s Nicky Villalovos and Victoria Betzen won the Class 4A mixed doubles state championship Friday in San Antonio. [Craig Sperry/ Press Pass Sports]
Hereford caps off stellar season
Hereford picked up its first ever individual tennis championship in dominating fashion as Nicky Villalovos and Victoria Betzen took a straight sets victory defeating Wills Point 6-4, 6-1.
For the dynamic doubles duo gold was doubly good as they followed up their Class 4A fall team tennis championship with this win.
“This was very special,” Hereford tennis coach Cody Crouch said. “They also did it pretty dominating fashion.”
Villalovos and Betzen found themselves in a barnburner midway through the first set when Crouch felt he needed to talked to his team during change over having stern words for Betzen.
“I told her if you want to be the best then you need to start playing like the best,” Crouch said.”
Betzen turned her game around changing the momentum of the match. With Hereford leading 5-4 in the first set, Betzen hit a volley winner that catapulted her game, leading the Whitefaces to victory.
“In the first set I was very nervous,” Betzen said. “Luckily I was able to settle in and play my game, and stopped playing fearful.”
Villalovos was overly thrilled to win his second gold medal.
“It’s a fantastic feeling,” Villalovos said. “This is just unreal. I’m very blessed to be where I am right now.”
Canyon’s Bryce Ware won the Class 4A boys singles state championship Friday in San Antonio. [Craig Sperry/ Press Pass Sports]
Ware claims second career gold medal
Canyon senior Bryce Ware added his second UIL tennis gold with a spirited 7-5, 6-1 victory over Siddhartha Movva of North Hills Prep. Ware, who won the 4A boys double title in 2019 with partner Asher Melton, went toe-to-toe with the highly rated Movva in the first set before closing it out 7-5.
“There’s been a lot of training, and hours on the court,” Ware said. “I knew my legs could go as long as I needed to so I just kept grinding.”
Canyon tennis coach John Gonzalez noted that Movva tried to slow play Ware in the first set, but Ware’s experience allowed him to stay patient.
After taking the first set, Ware never looked back playing with a determined spirit that was very evident.
“Tennis players are rated on a scoring system known at UTR and Movva has a very high score,” Gonzales said. “After Bryce took the first set I think he realized he could do it, and was going to do it.”
Nazareth freshman Harley Gerber serves during a mixed doubles state semifinal match in San Antonio on Thursday. [Photo by UIL athletics]
The Canyon girls doubles team of Kelsey Braudt and Aubrey Thomas fell to Houston Stafford on Friday, 6-4, 6-1, to claim the only silver for the Amarillo-area.
Tascosa’s Ethan Ruppanner earned a bronze in Class 5A boys singles.
At the 1A level, Ali Friemel of Groom grabbed bronze in girls singles, and Nazareth had two doubles teams bring home bronze.
Luke Betzen and Trent Gerber placed third in boys singles, while Carson Heiman and Harley Gerber finished third in mixed doubles.