Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Thatcher’s second-ranked boy’s tennis team went 5-0 to finish first in an area tourney over the weekend. Members of the team, from left, are head coach Chris Cook, Talon Brown, Amon Hatch, Brandon Udall, Tyler Bierman, Michael Greer, Grant Richardson, Aaron Hatch, and Carson Turley.
By Raymundo Frasquillo
THATCHER – Not everyone opens the door when opportunity knocks. An opportunity to improve and get better was too good to pass up for Thatcher boys tennis head coach Chris Cook.
One of eight teams pulled out of its commitment to attend Thatcher’s 2-day tourney, and Cook instead inserted the schools’ junior varsity teams.
“I was just trying to get them some experience,” he said.
Thatcher’s varsity went 5-0 in its own meet, posting 4-0 wins over Douglas, Miami, and Morenci during pool pairings, plus 3-1 over New Mexico Silver during the semifinals and 3-1 over Benson during the championship. Benson downed Morenci 3-1 in the other semifinal.
Silver topped Morenci 3-1 for third place, Thatcher’s J.V. defeated Miami 3-1 for fifth place, and Safford won a tie-breaker to slip past Douglas for seventh place.
In the consolation semifinals, Douglas downed Thatcher’ J.V. 3-1 and Safford won a tie-breaker to edge Miami 3-2.
Pool A second place Morenci (2-1) defeated Miami (0-3) and Douglas (1-2) by identical 3-1 scores and third place Douglas downed Miami 3-1.
Benson (3-0) topped Silver (2-1) 3-2, Safford (1-2) 3-1, and Thatcher J.V. (0-3) 3-1; Silver had 3-2 wins over both Safford and Thatcher J.V., and Safford slipped past Thatcher J.V. 3-2 in B-Pool.
Each team was assured five matches during the meet. The top two teams in each pool were cross paired with each other as were the third and fourth place teams on the second day.
Two singles and two doubles entrants from each team were paired against other teams for each match, and they did not necessarily have to be locked into that format for each pairing.
The unbeaten Eagles won seven duels before finishing as winners of their own 2-day, 8-team tourney on March 23.
Thatcher blanked Sierra Vista Buena 9-0 in the season opener Feb. 25, before doing the same to Duncan Feb. 26, Safford Feb. 28, Morenci March 5, Willcox March 6, and Duncan March 19. The Eagles defeated Benson 6-3 March 21.
The Chris Cook-coached Eagles have seven duels plus a tourney left on their regular season schedule, beginning with Safford March 26, at Duncan March 28, Miami April 3, at Morenci April 4, at Willcox April 9, Pima April 11, and at Benson April 16.
Thatcher is ranked second of 44 Division III boys’ tennis teams, behind Tucson Pusch Ridge Christian.