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Prep notes: Rio Rancho plans to pick football coach by Friday

What could be the most important coaching hire in the history of the Rio Rancho High School football program could occur by the end of next week.

Rams athletic director Vince Metzgar said there were 21 applicants to fill the vacancy created when David Howes resigned to join the staff at the University of New Mexico to coach linebackers.

Rio Rancho will interview seven finalists over three days next week, starting Wednesday and concluding Friday. Metzgar said the school hopes to make an offer to their top candidate by Friday.

The Rams in late November lost the Class 5A state football title to rival Cleveland, 48-40, and the new coach will be tasked, in part, with maintaining Rio Rancho’s momentum from the 2019 season.

SOCCER: Albuquerque High’s Lucien Starzynski picked up two big honors in the aftermath of leading the Bulldogs to an undefeated Class 5A state title in November.

He was named New Mexico’s Coach of the Year by the United Soccer Coaches, and he was also tabbed the Far West region Coach of the Year.

MORE PREP FOOTBALL: One of the state’s top place-kickers from the last couple of seasons has decided on a college.

Alamogordo’s Brett Money earlier this week on his Twitter account announced his intentions to kick for New Mexico State. Money received the offer from NMSU on Friday, and committed later the same day.

  • La Cueva defensive end Ja’shon Lowery — who figures to be one of the most recruited Class 6A players this calendar year — received a visit at his home earlier this week from UCLA, he revealed on his Twitter account.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Lowery earlier this month was invited to the Under Armour All-American Camp Series, which is scheduled in February.

  • Also, Los Lunas’ Bryce Santana at the start of this week received his first Division I offer, from the hometown New Mexico Lobos.

The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Santana had 13 sacks and 22 tackles for loss last season for the Tigers, and he proved to be just about the most efficient fullback in the state with 15 rushing touchdowns out of Los Lunas’ goal-line package.

WRESTLING: The second annual all-girls event at Aztec High School saw four metro-area athletes take home individual titles Friday night.

Junior Sarah Wang of Albuquerque Academy was the 113-pound champion. Sophomore Aylin Mijares of Bernalillo took the 138-pound division. Moriarty had two winners, Jolie Chavez at 100 pounds and Araceli Kamplain at 132 pounds.

The host Tigers won the meet 90-85 over Moriarty. Last year, Aztec hosted the state’s first regular-season all-girls event.

Next month, the girls will have their first official state tournament at the Santa Ana Star Center.

The Albuquerque Metro Championships are Friday and Saturday at Atrisco Heritage. There is not a girls division at metros.

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