Abilene, TX – As the Compass Academy sports programs continue to build on their foundation, Cougar tennis player Neena Mendez added to the success of an inaugural UIL season on Tuesday. She claimed a third place finish at the Region I Class 3A tournament at Rose Park Tennis Center and will be an alternate at the state tournament.
Mendez is the first regional qualifier in the tennis program’s short history. The Compass Academy junior won her opening match (6-2, 6-4) over Tornillo’s Lizbeth Delagdo to start the day. She followed that with another win (7-6, 6-2), this time over Lamesa’s Bella DeLaRosa in the quarterfinal round. The Lady Cougar hit a snag in the afternoon match and fell 6-2, 6-0 in the semifinals to Kate Bryant from Jim Ned.
Picking up a walkover victory over Kayla Hicks, Mendez was awarded third place in the Girls Singles bracket. The top two individuals from the two-day regional tournament advance to State, and Mendez will be the alternate should one of the qualifiers have reason to withdraw. The Class 3A Tennis Championships will be held on May 20-21.
In order to get to the Region I-3A appearance, Mendez defeated Alexys Suarez from Crane (6-1, 6-1) in a playback match to secure a second place finish in the District 5-3A tournament. It was in Big Lake on April 6 that she qualified for the regional tournament.
Mendez made it to the district finals, but ended up falling (6-4, 6-0) to Reagan County’s Lizbeth Hernandez to set up the playback match for the second qualifying spot. The Reagan County tennis team also qualified, along with Sonora and Crane. Mendez qualified for the Lady Cougars, while Alpine’s Sarah Romero and Adayna Garcia advanced in Girls Singles.
Mendez has a few years under her racket. Even as a young tennis player, she competed in the USATA Junior Tennis Spring Championships in 2013 and 2014.