Meets spawn new rivalries

November 13, 2018

Saturday was the start of a few cross-country rivalries that should last for at least a couple of years (and that doesn’t include the annual Los Alamos-Albuquerque Academy slugfest).

Class 1A/2A girls will be dominated by the Pecos-Academy for Technology and the Classics rivalry, because both teams are loaded with young talent. The Lady Panthers lose only Faith Flores, who was their No. 5 runner, but will have the duo of Vanessa Dominguez and Mistidawn Roybal around for the next couple of years. Add to that mix sophomore Kianna Quintana and freshman Savannah Ortiz, and Pecos is primed to go on the kind of trophy run the boys did from 2015-17.

As for the Phoenix, they return every single runner and head coach Tim Host has a strong middle school program that is churning out strong runners. The pleasant surprise was eighth-grader Noelani Van Loon, who came on strong down the stretch and settled in as the No. 2 runner behind Maggie Rittmeyer. ATC was loaded with freshmen (Josette Gurule and Maiah Trujillo) and eighth-graders (Van Loon and Lily Rittmeyer).

The challenge for the program, though, could be the success of the soccer team. If ATC advances beyond the 1A/3A first round, it will add some mileage on the legs of the Rittmeyers and eighth-grader Sofia Barker, who also competes for both programs.

While Navajo Pine stopped the Pecos boys from a fourth straight title, the Panthers were a young group. They relied upon freshman Antonio Garcia and sophomore Derek DeHerrera as a part of their scoring five, and should lessen the sting of the impending graduation of seniors Angel Varela, Devin Gonzales and Keith Flores.

Meanwhile, the Warriors return their entire team, including three runners who finished in the top five.

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Santa Fe Prep’s boys cross-country team made a splash in their first year in 3A, as they placed second in the 2-3A meet and took seventh at state. The Blue Griffins almost put a runner on the top-10 podium, as senior Adrian Whitten took 12th. The good news for Prep: Whitten is the lone runner out of its starting seven who will not return.

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Northern New Mexico’s second straight trip to The Pit ended the way everyone expected, with a lopsided loss to the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team. Nothing to be ashamed of. The Lobos have massive amounts of resources compared to NNMC, so any kind of experience the Eagles got was a good one.

The only curiosity was the team’s navy blue road uniforms, which had “Northern” arced across the chest and “New Mexico” scrawled under the numbers. Every player in the starting lineup had their jerseys tucked so far in that the “New Mexico” was obscured below the waistband of the shorts.

One of the few players to pull his jersey out far enough was freshman guard Jeremy Anaya, a recent graduate of Capital.

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Saturday’s Las Vegas Robertson-St. Michael’s quarterfinal matchup in the Class 3A football playoffs might have Horsemen faithful cringing. They remember all too well the last time they watched a rematch of these two Northern titans. In 2013, the top-seeded Horsemen lost to the Cardinals 22-13 after beating them 50-0 in mid-September. Robertson went on to win the 3A title that season.

Once again, St. Michael’s had the upper hand in the first game, beating Robertson 39-7 on Oct. 27. Want some source of inspiration, Horsemen fans? Well, Escalante played Estancia twice this season, and the Bears followed a 46-6 win on Sept. 14 with a 63-12 thrashing of the Lobos on Friday.

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Here we go again.

For the second straight year it’s entirely possible that the UNM football team will follow a 3-2 start with a seven-game losing streak to close things out. That’s potentially 0-and-14 down the stretch.

Not good.

On the bright side, that third win of the season was enough to fling head coach Bob Davie into a tie for third on the school’s all-time wins list with 33 since his arrival in 2012. Dennis Franchione went 33-36 in his six years with the Lobos; Davie is 33-52 in seven years with the program.

Bill Weeks is No. 2 on the list with 40 while Rocky Long’s record of 65 wins in 11 years seems completely out of reach. Davie was asked last week about the possibility of sticking around long enough to threaten Rocky’s standard.

“I don’t know,” he said with a big smile. “It’s probably not a good week to ask me.”

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How long as it been since Santa Fe High placed a volleyball team in the big-school state tournament bracket? Try 2005, when the Demonettes were paired up against a top-seeded Rio Rancho team that had forfeited 17 wins for using an ineligible player and had to win the District 1-5A tournament to get into the tournament.

The Lady Rams swept Santa Fe High in a 16-team bracket, as the NMAA used the seeding and selection process for the sport.

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The opening scene from Office Space where Peter is stuck in traffic has nothing on the poor souls trapped in the left turn lanes outside the New Mexico Soccer Tournament Complex at Santa Ana Pueblo last week.

The complex was the site of the annual soccer state tournament, a three-day event that ended the afternoon of Nov. 9.

The stoplight at the intersection of highways 550 and 528 immediately west of Bernalillo at the Santa Ana Star Casino was a rage-inducing nightmare for people trying to get back to Interstate 25. The arrow pointing east stayed green for all of 8.5 seconds during daytime hours. It was a few seconds longer during the peak of rush hour.

It takes 8 seconds to earn a payday riding a bull in the rodeo.

Ordinarily, no big deal. The intersection doesn’t get a lot of north-south cross traffic unless there’s an event at the soccer complex. In this case, a flood of cars trying to get out clogged the left turn bays and only a handful of cars were able to get though on each light cycle.

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