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Judy Harlas



Children: Jeremy, 23; Lindsay, 20

Photo of Judy Harlas and family
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What makes tennis a special part of your life?

To me, tennis means family, friends and fun. Since my kids were five, I would bang the ball around with them in my backyard. When they were in elementary school, I’d have their friends also come over to the house, and we would play games. There were times in the summer when so many neighborhood kids came over to play. When my son was in Cub Scouts during the second and third grades, I volunteered to help direct the Sunshine District Day Camp. Guess what one of the merit badges was during the camp of 100 campers? Tennis!


When my son and daughter reached middle-school age, I started the middle school tennis program in Las Cruces. It’s grown from six schools to nine schools over the last 13 years, and I’ve seen more than 1,000 kids learn and play tennis. Around the same time, I became the local area coordinator for Junior Team Tennis (JTT), and I coached both of my kids’ teams. For several years, both my son and daughter played on the same team and advanced to Sectionals and Nationals. When my son was 14 and my daughter was 11, their JTT team made it to Nationals in Mobile, Ala. What made that year even more special and fun was that their cousin, Olyvia, was also on the team. I got to enjoy a true family affair at Nationals.


When my son decided to play on the high school team, they were short a coach, so I became the high school coach at Mayfield. While coaching my kids at the high-school level, my son’s team won the team state championship in 2010. They were also team state finalists in 2009 and 2011. Additionally, Jeremy took a fourth-place singles medal his junior year and finished in third place in singles his senior year.


My daughter, Lindsay, helped her high school team win team state championship titles in 2012 and 2014. She also won a state doubles title her freshman year. Her sophomore year, she took third in singles, and then in her junior and senior years, she finished fourth at state in singles.  


Both of my kids then went on to play college tennis at New Mexico State University (NMSU).  


Tennis has given my kids confidence. It has taught them how to problem solve and to go after whatever they dream. It’s taught them how to time manage. My daughter wants to go to vet school after she graduates. Tennis opened the door for her to get an internship as a vet tech at an animal hospital because a tennis friend put in a good word for her character and hard work.


This May, my son graduates with his master’s degree and will be commissioned in the U.S. Army as a 2nd lieutenant. He joined the NM National Guard and ROTC in college. During the last few years in college, he competed in the Rangers Challenger test and also the WSMR Bataan Memorial Death March. He also ranked in the Top 10 percent of all cadets in the nation.


I’m very proud of my two kids and feel like tennis has been a big part of their lives. I still enjoy playing Mixed Open Doubles with my son and Women’s Open Doubles with my daughter.


Why do you think it is important for your children to play tennis?

It feels good to be outside running and laughing. It relieves stress from everyday life. It’s also a good way to be social with your friends.


Is there any other interesting background information you’d like to share about yourself?

I grew up in a tennis family with three sisters. My sisters and I played high school tennis together and then college tennis at NMSU. We would go out to the courts and play “winner stay on” as kids, then we would always go out for ice cream.


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