NMAA may cancel state spirit competition

April 15, 2019

Is the spirit competition in peril?

The Albuquerque Journal reported Sunday that the New Mexico Activities Association is considering the cancelation of next year’s state spirit competition amid unsportsmanlike behavior that included death threats aimed at two people helping the organization with the event.

Also, social media posts — specifically on Twitter — castigated the NMAA and the judges of the state spirit competition on the handling of scores at the event. The Journal also reported there was another Twitter page that attacked the NMAA and teams but it was taken down.

A Northern New Mexico coach who requested anonymity added that there were fans from opposing schools who almost fought each other, as well as coaches who posted rude comments about the NMAA and boomerang videos (videos that play forward and backward) of teams making mistakes in their routines. The coach also defended the sport, feeling that the bad behavior is overshadowing the sport.

“There is good, too, not only bad,” the coach said. “It breaks my heart.”

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Capital set a new mark in its baseball program April 11 when it shut out Española Valley 11-0. It is the highest win total since the 2006 team went 12-11, won a district title and made its last appearance in the state tournament. To put the travails of the Jaguars into perspective, their 11 wins over the past two years are as many as they had in the previous six.

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Santa Fe High senior Judith Allision became the top 300-meter hurdler in the state after her performance at the Rio Rancho Invitational on Saturday. She ran the event in 45.71 seconds and became the second runner in the state to break into the 45-second range. On Friday, Rio Rancho Cleveland’s Hannah Kiess ran a 45.91 at the school’s own Storm Relays.

Allison also posted her best time in the 100 hurdles, running it in 16.11 to win the event by 1.07 over Taos’ Abigail Gunther. It is the fourth-best performance in Class 5A and could get her into the Marilyn Sepulveda Meet of Champions set for April 21.

And this note — or maybe a correction: Taos senior sprinter Jonah Vigil is not the only runner in the state to break 50 seconds in the 400. Thomas Williams of Albuquerque Volcano Vista ran a 49.48 to finish second to Vigil on Saturday.

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Remember the RoadRunners?

Probably not. Santa Fe’s former junior league hockey team relocated to Kansas after a three-year run at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center. Recast as the Topeka RoadRunners, they were rebranded as the Topeka Pilots this past season.

A week ago, they wrapped up a third straight miserable season, missing the North American Hockey League’s playoffs, the Robertson Cup, for a third straight year.

The team’s history dates back to 2003 when the were christened as the Lone Star Cavalry in the Dallas area. The team floundered in their one year in Texas and was purchased by a group of who’s who guys from the NHL, including then-Los Angeles Kings head coach Andy Murray, then-Colorado Avalanche star Rob Blake and then-Boston Bruins winger Glen Murray. Blake was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014.

That group moved the team to Santa Fe and it was Andy Murray’s idea to name the team the Mission and cast its logo as an Alamo-looking building. It was quickly changed to RoadRunners and the rest, as they say, is history.

The team made the playoffs twice in Santa Fe, never making it out of the first round. Average attendance never climbed above the 400-500 level, ranking among the worst draws in the NAHL. The relocation to Topeka was greeted with open arms and, for a time, the ’Runners were one of the top draws and had eight straight seasons in which they finished first or second in their division.

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We’re just a month away from the start of the 2019 Pecos League season. That means a return of the Santa Fe Fuego and dozens of games under the lights at Fort Marcy Ballpark.

What it won’t mean is a continuation of the ongoing experiment in the Atlantic League, which is using a 62-foot, 6-inch mound, bigger bases, the banning of defensive shifts and computer-assisted strike zones.

The Pecos League did, however, experiment with the longer mound distance in its final spring game last week. The pitching rubber was moved back two feet for a game played at Coastal Baseball Park in Houston. Pitchers didn’t seem to be adversely affected, saying the biggest adjustment was in hitting spots with breaking balls.

It’s all part of Major League Baseball’s exploratory measures meant to speed up games, increase scoring and make the game more exciting.

The Fuego open their season at home May 30 against Alpine.