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Tournament pool play positions puzzling

September 17, 2018

When the teams for each of the four pool play quartets for the Tournament of Champions were released, a few coaches raised their eyebrows at one particular pool.

That would be Pool D, with Las Vegas Robertson, St. Michael’s, Piedra Vista and Pojoaque Valley. Coming into the tournament, those four teams were a combined 16-3. The Lady Cardinals and Lady Horsemen were ranked No. 1 and 3, respectively, in the New Mexico Overtime Sports Center coaches poll, while Piedra Vista was No. 8 in 5A. Despite being 4-1, the Elkettes languished in 15th place.

When the dust settled, that pool owned the gold and silver bracket titles (St. Michael’s and Robertson, respectively) while the Elkettes took second. Piedra Vista, meanwhile, took fifth place in the gold consolation bracket. While some coaches (like the ones in Pool D) will use that as justification that its pool was the toughest, all of the No. 1 seeds in each pool advanced to the semifinals after Friday’s opening round — Santa Fe High (No. 1 in Pool A, Roswell Goddard in B, Farmington in C, St. Michael’s in D).

Oh, and congrats to the Lady Horsemen, who won their first Tournament of Champions title while also breaking the Santa Fe Jinx (no city school had won the tournament since Santa Fe High did it in 1998).

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It’s a family thing.

A player wearing the No. 21 jersey for the St. Michael’s football team usually means it’s a Fernandez inside the uniform. Horsemen head coach Joey Fernandez wore it back in his playing days at St. Michael’s in the late 80s. He then passed it along to his children and extended family members after becoming a coach a couple decades ago.

His son, Joey Jr., wore it as recently as last season.

The digits made an appearance once again three weeks ago when the Horsemen headed to Portales for their second game of the season. Freshman Lucas Coriz switched from No. 19 to 21 after he approached his head coach and, together, the two decided to break the numbers out.

The two are related through Coriz’s grandmother.

“I understand there’s pressure and expectations with wearing it,” Coriz said. “I know all about it.”

The team’s backup quarterback, Coriz still had the 19 sticker on his helmet during last weekend’s win over Capital.

“If you put on the 21 jersey, you do it for for the family,” he said.

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The darlings of girls soccer continued as the Academy for Technology and the Classics improved to 5-0 after a 6-2 win over West Las Vegas on Friday. Sophomore Xitlally Estrada-Perez recorded her first hat trick and leads the team in goals with seven on the season. How much longer will the Cinderella ride continue? That answer will come on Thursday, when the Phoenix head to Sun Mountain Field for a matchup against 3-1 Santa Fe Prep.

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An Instagram post back in April announced the signing of Tavian Percy by the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team. The 6-foot-5 freshman out of Pasadena, Calif., was recruited as a point guard and, if all works out, will see a little action as a true freshman for the Lobos this coming season.

The Insta post, however, depicted a computer-generated cartoon likeness of Percy wearing a black Lobos uniform. It had red lettering and numbers with cherry and turquoise piping on the shorts.

So are the Lobos going to wearing black uniforms this season.

“No,” said head coach Paul Weir. “Just the regular white and cherry, and probably the turquoise set we do for the N7 game and, I think, the camouflage jerseys we wear [for Veteran’s Day]. But no black.”

Bummer. The black kits were a hit on Instagram. The post has drawn 513 likes.

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OK, so maybe the Class 3A football champion will not come from Santa Fe or Las Vegas. How about Albuquerque? Hope Christian is now 4-0 after a 45-0 thrashing of West Las Vegas on Saturday. How good are these Huskies? They have allowed three points on the season — to Portales in the season opener. Hope Christian has outscored opponents 141-3 and that includes a 42-0 win over Española Valley that ended in the third quarter because of lightning.

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Who doesn’t love them a hefty kicker?

The New Mexico Highlands football team has one in 5-foot-8, 230-pound junior Israel Farfan. To complete the picture, he wears a number (52) that’s usually reserved for a lineman or a linebacker.

The Richvale, Calif., product was named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference special teams player of the week last week after successfully converting all three field goal attempts and eight extra point tries in NMHU’s blowout win over Adams State.

The Cowboys’ other kicker, freshman Edgar Ramos, tips the scales at a more kicker-like 144 pounds.

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Don’t look now, but the Los Alamos Hilltoppers are 3-1 after Friday’s surprising 28-20 win over Bloomfield, which beat St. Michael’s 47-7 a week earlier. With Del Norte 0-3 and Capital looking like a young football team after a 42-6 loss to the Horsemen, Los Alamos just might be the team to beat in District 2-5A. If the Hilltoppers can beat Gallup this week, they can officially announce their candidacy on Sept. 28 — at home against Hope Christian.

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