Best football rivalry in New Mexico? An unassailable fact.
Best prep football rivalry in America?
Well, one poll from a national media outlet makes an argument in that direction.
USA Today recently published a story, headlined “Ten football rivalry games that still matter” — and Las Cruces-Mayfield was among the 10.
What’s more, the paper included a poll — naturally, the poll is completely and utterly unscientific — which asked participants to vote for the top high school football rivalry game. As of Friday afternoon, Cruces-Mayfield was far and away the leader in that poll, with 56.7 percent of the vote, and nearly 10,900 votes total.
Running a distant second was the District of Columbia pairing of Gonzaga versus St. John’s, which has garnered 17.2 percent. It is possible for people to cast multiple votes.
USA Today said it focused on games between rivals where at least one of the two had won a state title in the last five years and one in which neither school had won more than 65 percent of the games.
This rivalry almost didn’t make it based on the first criteria; 2013 was the last time either won state, with Las Cruces beating Mayfield 27-26.
ACCOLADES ABOUND: Rounding up some New Mexico kudos:
Volcano Vista midfielder and soon-to-be Notre Dame Fighting Irish Brianna Martinez has been named to USA Today’s All-USA second team;
Sandia Prep hurdler Sevilla Duran, a double state champion in May, earned All-America honors in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles (on the East Coast they run that race at 400 meters as opposed to 300 here in New Mexico) by placing second in the 15-16-year-old division at the USATF National Youth Championships in Rochester, N.Y., last weekend;
La Cueva’s Gerard Pineda has been named the Region 7 Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association. His Bears, the Class 6A state champions, also finished with some national rankings of note: No. 7 by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, No. 10 in the MaxPreps composite, No. 11 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 and No. 16 in USA Today. Pineda’s son Jack, was named a first-team infieldier by Collegiate Baseball’s newspaper;
Hope Christian forward Kevin Sanchez (4.34 GPA) and Alamogordo midfielder Keith Wilder (4.12 GPA) were selected to to the United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-American team.
DIRECTOR’S CUP: La Cueva, Artesia, Hope Christian, Pecos, Fort Sumner and Melrose are the top schools from the 2017-18 Subway Director’s Cup standings.
The lists in each of the state’s six classifications rank schools based on success in activities, athletics and sportsmanship. Points are awarded in 21 sports, including cheer and dance.
La Cueva scored 2,700 points during the last school year among Class 6A schools. Cleveland (2,400) and Eldorado (1,700) were second and third, respectively.
In Class 5A, Albuquerque Academy (2,140) was second to Artesia, which scored 2,280 points. Hope Christian (2,080) was 520 points better than second-place Silver in Class 4A.
THIS AND THAT: Former Los Lunas High standout Jacob Holland, after a season at New Mexico Highlands and graduating from NMHU, announced on Twitter that he will complete his basketball playing career at Division I University of Detroit Mercy. … Cleveland High’s new girls track and field coach is Carla Chavez, who replaces the retired Tim Flores. The Storm won four state championships under Flores; Chavez was one of his assistants. … La Cueva High School continues to advertise for a new head swimming coach. Those interested can apply on the Albuquerque Public Schools website, aps.edu.