Belen junior Derek Lynch will be the No. 1 seed in singles competition at the District 3-4A tennis meet on Saturday. It seems there is no stopping him from claiming the district title and earning a high seed at the Class 4A state tournament next Wednesday and Thursday at Albuquerque Academy.
Lynch breezed through the district competition during the regular season without losing a set, though he missed one match against Deming due to a sore shoulder.
But Lynch said his shoulder is feeling better and will not be a deterrent. “My shoulder’s still sore, but there’s not any real pain,” he said. “It’s not a factor.”
So Lynch remains confident he will repeat as district champion again this year. “With tennis, a lot of it is mental, so anything could happen. But I’ve been working on my mental game a lot.”
Though no other Belen players are expected to qualify for state (the top three singles players and top two doubles teams advance to state), Lynch is hoping to have some company.
“To tell you the truth, I think Charles Montoya might,” Lynch said of his sophomore teammate. “He’s stepped up his game a lot, and, if he keeps his head, I think he can get second or third.”
Matches will start at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The boys will play their matches at the Belen Multi-Purpose Park, while the girls will be at the high school courts.