Jennesis Martinez was no different from hundreds of other athletes who wanted to compete in college. Her intent was to circulate both her name and her skills.
“I had created my recruiting video, and within a few hours of me posting it, the coach from Colorado Mesa contacted me, saying he wanted to talk to me about wrestling for his program,” said Martinez, a Manzano High School senior.
And in fact, just last week Martinez announced that she will be wrestling for Colorado Mesa University, located in Grand Junction. Martinez certainly is one of the first New Mexicans to transition from high school competition in New Mexico – where girls wrestling is not yet a sanctioned sport – to a women’s college program.
“Going into college for wrestling is really exciting for me,” said Martinez, 18, a two-time state champion for the Monarchs as New Mexico the last two seasons staged an exhibition tournament concurrent with the boys state event. “I hope other girls can see there are opportunities for them to go to college and wrestle. The sport is growing.”
Martinez also is a standout soccer player at Manzano, and said she toyed with the idea of trying both sports in college. But she decided it was better to narrow her focus on wrestling.
Although Colorado Mesa does not yet have money to award scholarships, Martinez said, she hopes that will change in the coming years.
Martinez has been wrestling, she said, since she was about 5 years old, and comes from a wrestling family.
“I was always in the wrestling room watching practice,” she said. “And I thought it was fun.”
Travis Mercado was named Colorado Mesa’s first-ever women’s wrestling coach just last May.
CLOSE TO HOME: For many weeks, the Twitter account of Taos track and field sprinter/jumper Jonah Vigil had been teasingly ambiguous about his college intentions.
“I will be attending” was followed by white space on his social media page.
That space is blank no longer.
The Tigers’ standout has committed to Adams State in Alamosa, Colo., about a 90-minute drive north from Taos.
“I just thought, they have a good program … and on top of that, I got a full ride over there,” Vigil told the Journal on Wednesday by telephone.
Vigil is almost certainly the state’s most dynamic track and field male athlete. He was a four-time state champion (100, 200, 400, long jump) at last year’s Class 4A state meet, and is the state’s record-holder in the 400-meter dash.
He will be in Albuquerque on April 22 for the Marilyn Sepulveda meet at the University of New Mexico, where last April he recorded the state’s first ever sub-47 second time in the 400 (46.99) at the high school level. With his college choice behind him, he said, he can focus squarely on these last weeks of his prep career.
“My coach told me I needed to figure it out. He wants me to be focusing more on track than worrying about where I’m going,” Vigil said.
COACHING UPDATES: Matt Abney on Wednesday announced via Twitter his retirement from teaching and coaching the Las Cruces High girls basketball team.
The Lady Bulldawgs advanced to four state semifinals during his 14 seasons in Las Cruces.
Also, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Española Valley boys basketball coach James Branch will not be retained. Branch took the Sundevils into the Class 5A state title game 13 months ago against Belen.
GO FUND THEM: A few weeks after winning the Class 3A boys basketball state title, the Hot Springs Tigers are taking a somewhat novel approach to paying for their personalized championship rings: they started a GoFundMe page.
The team has raised almost half of the $6,000 they say they need to pay for the rings.
THIS AND THAT: The Hootman brothers from Albuquerque Academy, seniors Coleton and Hunter, on Tuesday nearly suffered the first tennis doubles defeat of their five-year career to a duo from another school. But they staved off two match points in the third set and overcame La Cueva’s Jason Lyons and Julian Lee 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5). … Sandia Prep boys basketball player David Gelb today will sign to play with Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y. … Two Rio Rancho High girls have finalized their college basketball plans, with Laura Gutierrez de-committing from Texas A&M International in favor of Adams State, and teammate Julia Chavez opting for Eastern New Mexico.