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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, April 12, 2004

Eagles seeded in three spots entering 4-3A tennis tourney

The Pecos Eagles’ tennis team sent four players to Region I-3A competition last season, and that’s the number they’re expected to again send this season, when the Eagles compete at the District 4-3A tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday in Fort Stockton.

Pecos goes into district play with two No. 1 seeds and a No. 2 seed in the four singles and doubles divisions. Trent Graham, the defending 4-3A champion in singles, is seeded No. 1 again going into Tuesday’s opening round of play, while Natalia Ornelas, who finished second to Monahans’ Christi Gatzki at district a year ago, was given the No. 1 seed over Gatzki during the 4-3A coaches’ meeting in Fort Stockton on April 3.

The coaches met as rain washed out the finals of the Fort Stockton tournament, which would have matched Ornelas against Gatzki. The two had split a pair of finals matches in Pecos and Monahans the previous two weeks, with both players coming away with wins on their opponents’ home court.

“It’s going to be a good match-up,” Eagles’ coach Mike Ortiz said last week, in anticipation of another finals between the two players.

By getting the No. 1 seed, Ornelas avoids having to face No. 3 seed Casee McKenzie of Fort Stockton, in the semifinals, while at the same time, earning a first round bye after the Prowlers’ other scheduled singles player dropped out of the bracket. Ornelas will face either Greenwood’s Carey Senger or Monahans’ Trina Esamilla in the semifinals, while Pecos’ other singles player, Crystal Ikeler, takes on McKenzie in her opening round match.

None of the players Graham beat on the way to the 4-3A title last year are back this time around, and like Ornelas he’ll have an opening round bye on Tuesday. Graham will take on either Monahans’ Woody Vidana or Fort Stockton’s Alex Marquez in a semifinals match, while Pecos’ other singles player, Francisco Hernandez, plays No. 3 seed John Wilhelm of Monahans in his first round match.

Hernandez lost in the opening round last year to Fort Stockton’s Bjorn Subia, who would end up losing to Graham in the finals. This year, the Panthers’ Brian Fierro is the No. 2 seed, while Marquez is seeded fourth.

The other seeded players for Pecos are in girls’ singles, where Mimi Ornelas and Whitney Lamb go in as second seeds to Monahans’ Laura and Wanda Ramirez. Ornelas and Lamb will take on Fort Stockton’s Kayla Guliher and Darcy Ripley in their first round match, while the Eagles’ other doubles team of Sara Natividad and Catherine Garcia, will take on the bracket’s No. 4 seeds, Leigh Hampton and Jessica Fierro of Fort Stockton.

The Eagles are unseeded in boys’ doubles, where Donald Walker and Francisco Ornelas will take on No. 4 seeds Leonal Ramirez and Patrick Colvin of Greenwood in their first round match, while Michael Orona and Jessie Hanks face No. 2 seeds Robby Barriga and Bjorn Johansen of Fort Stockton in their tournament opener. The Panthers’ duo of Bryan Rainwater and Vishal Chopra are seeded No. 1.

The district tournament will also have a junior varsity division. In boys’ singles, Cedrick Pendleton will take on Edurado Fierro in his first round match, while in girls singles Pecos will have three entries. Chantel Orona is seeded No. 2 and will face either Taylor Walsh of Greenwood or Ashlee Galvan of Fort Stockton in a quarterfinal match, while Amber Pando is seeded fourth and will face Rashinda Smith of Greenwood in her first round match, and Angelica Prieto will take on Greenwood’s Alissa Rogers in her opener.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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