Morenci tennis boys blanked in the season opener with Safford

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Grant Smith returns the ball to Morenci sophomore Jarel Diaz. The Safford senior posted an 8-4 win and along with senior Emanuel Torres, posted an 8-2 doubles win. Safford left Morenci with a 9-0 team win. The Bulldogs host Willcox on Thursday, March 25, and visit Thatcher on Friday, March 27, and Benson on Tuesday, March 30 while Morenci heads to Willcox.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

MORENCI – The Wildcats tennis boys were blanked by the visiting Safford Bulldogs, 9-0 on March 23. In last season’s opener with Safford, the Bulldogs prevailed 6-3 over Morenci

Through March 23, Division III – Section I members Willcox (2-0) and Safford (1-0) are both unbeaten, Morenci and Pima are both 0-1, Benson (0-2), and both Duncan and Thatcher have yet to play.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Quinton Wiltbank attacks the net during his first varsity tennis match. The Morenci sophomore is in the No. 2 slot.

Willcox defeated Benson 9-0 (March 16) and Saint David (March 20), Pima fell 1-8 to Saint David (March 22), and Benson also fell 0-8 to Tucson Desert Christian (March 18).

In upcoming section pairings, Safford hosts Willcox Thursday, March 25; Pima is at Willcox and Thatcher at Safford Friday, March 26; Duncan is at Benson, Morenci at Willcox, and Pima at Thatcher Tuesday, March 30.

Non-section pairings include Tombstone at Pima on March 25, Saint David at Duncan on March 26; and Safford at Benson and Gilbert American Leadership at Thatcher Monday, March 29.

The top six for Willcox are senior Luke Kauffman, freshman Jacob Kauffman, junior Hunter Childers, senior Marcus Barba, senior Carson Shannon, and junior Ryan McClaine in its top six; for Safford, senior Grant Smith, senior Emanuel Torres, sophomore Doyle Cluff, senior Joseph Pace, freshman Kody Guylas, and freshman Thomas Biggs; for Morenci, sophomore Jarel Diaz, sophomore Quinton Wiltbank, senior Jayden Yazzie, sophomore Joshua Biggs, senior Alfredo Vigil, and freshman Ryan Biggs; for Pima, senior Keanu Hansen, sophomore Leland Thompson, junior Owen Lunt, junior Calin Paull, sophomore Carter Bryce, and sophomore Tucker Wilkerson; for Benson, senior Camden Waite, sophomore Scott Lutz, freshman Aubry Harris, senior Adam McBride, senior Liam Galloway-Sprietsma, and sophomore Conner Curtis; and for Thatcher, senior Michael Greer, senior Carson Turley, senior Timmy Rubalcava, sophomore Austin Haynie, junior Derek Bierman, and junior Carson Beals.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Safford No. 2 Emanuel Torres meets the ball against Morenci. He notched an 8-0 shutout in singles play and, along with Smith, the same in doubles.

Safford – 9, Morenci – 0

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Jarel Diaz serves the ball during his initial varsity singles match against Safford. The Morenci sophomore is in the top slot.

It was completely different personnel for Morenci in 2021, none with varsity experience, than the five in 2020 with one returnee.

In singles, Safford No. 1 Smith topped Diaz 8-4, No. 2 Torres, No. 3 Cluff, and No. 4 Pace each posted 8-0 wins over Wiltbank, Yazzie, and Josh Biggs, respectively, No. 5 Guylas went 8-1 over Vigil, and No. 6 Biggs downed Ryan Biggs 8-3.

The No. 1 Smith – Torres duo blanked Diaz – Wiltbank 8-0, the No. 2 Cluff – Pace duo prevailed 8-2 over Yazzie – Josh Biggs, and the No. 3 Guylas – Biggs duo defeated Ryan Biggs – Vigil 8-3.

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