Virus aside, metro area continues to produce college prospects


Sandia’s Viané Cumber, New Mexico’s Gatorade Player of the Year last year as a junior, is expected to sign with the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal

In this most unusual of years, at least national signing day remains a welcome constant.

Starting Wednesday, dozens of athletes from the metro area will begin signing their national letters of intent to colleges around the country.

One of the big winners is the University of New Mexico women’s soccer program, which continues its recent tradition of landing multiple locals in its recruiting class.

This year, that includes Albuquerque High’s dynamic scorer, Zaria Katesigwa, Albuquerque Academy forward Willa Wiese and La Cueva back liner Taryn Robles.

“In New Mexico, you don’t get very many opportunities (for college), and when you realize a great program like UNM is interested in you, it’s a dream come true,” said Katesigwa.

“I’m super excited to join such a strong program, and one of the main things I look for while looking at college is the culture of the team,” added Wiese. “UNM has a really great team culture.”

One of Wiese’s Academy teammates, goalkeeper Lorelei Logan, will sign with Memphis. New Mexico State’s recruiting class includes Manzano standout midfielder/forward Blakley Edgar.

There is a certain symmetry to St. Pius forward Marcus Garcia signing with the University of Maryland’s men’s soccer program, since his coach, A.J. Herrera, also was a Terrapin. Garcia verbally committed to Maryland over a year ago.

“I’m totally stoked about it,” Garcia said. “It’s been a long wait. I’ve been anticipating it.”

Valley’s Josh Baros is signing with the University of Tulsa’s men’s soccer team.

Usually, one of the largest ceremonies at the start of the signing period can be found at the Albuquerque Baseball Academy.

Two of Sandia High’s standouts, right-handed pitchers Jacob Kmatz (Oregon State) and Aiden May (Wichita State), will be among the group to sign on Wednesday.

“I really fell in love with Wichita,” said the 6-foot-2 180-pound May. “Mainly (I’m going there) for the coaches. I feel like they’re some of the best in the country, and they’ll help me with where I want to go. … I think going to a program like this will give me the best chance to improve my game.”

The metro area’s two high-profile girls basketball players both will sign today: Sandia guard Viané Cumber with UNM, and Highland guard Cailee Crawford with San Diego State.

Hope Christian’s Savanna Lewis, a 6-1 forward, is going to the Naval Academy.

Two Cleveland High softball standouts are going Division I in shortstop Ashley Archuleta (New Mexico) and pitcher Aalijah Alarcon (UTEP). Both will sign on Wednesday.

“I’m a local kid, and I really want New Mexico athletics to go far and be recognized,” said Archuleta. “I want to be part of the chain, and really turn Lobo athletics around.”

Sandia’s dazzling sprinter and multiple state champion, Adriana Tatum, is signing Wednesday with Arizona State. Cleveland High equestrian athlete Rylee Shufelt is signing with Texas A&M.

Other locals who are New Mexico State-bound include La Cueva’s volleyball standout hitter, Sidney McIntosh, and Sandia swimmer Grace Pino.

Three members of Los Lunas’ girls state championship basketball team – Natalie Jojola (Western Colorado), Mia Guest (Colorado Christian) and Feleena Gabaldon (Adams State) – are going to the next level. Piedra Vista guard Celina Watson also is bound for Alamosa, Colorado, to play for Adams State.

NOTES: Cibola shooting guard Azia Himeur will sign with Eastern New Mexico. … Academy runner Justin Hickey is signing with Brown of the Ivy League. … A list with additional local signees can be found below:

Matt Romero, Sandia (Pima Community College, Arizona)
Christian Hoffman, Cleveland (New Mexico JC)
Evan Muhlberger, St. Pius (New Mexico JC)
Bo Kidd, Eldorado (Cochise College, Arizona)
Dylan Grube, Manzano (Luna Community College, N.M.)
Taylor Harrison, La Cueva (Eastern N.M.)
A.J. Naranjo, Cleveland (Otero JC, Colorado)
Eryn Renteria, Cleveland (Luna Community College, N.M.)
Hailey Baca, St. Pius (Lamar CC, Colorado)
Mikaela Payne, Eldorado (Yavapai College, Arizona)
Neleah Hibben, Volcano Vista (Aurora University, Illinois)
Xochitl Trejo, Sandia (Trinidad JC, Colorado)
Stuart Smith, Rio Rancho (Fort Scott CC, Kansas)
Tyler Murphy, Rio Rancho (Texas A&M-Texarkana)
Miriam Ney, La Cueva (Western Colorado)
Ellie Cook, Sandia Prep (Fort Lewis, Colorado)
Alicia Barela, St. Pius (Lubbock Christian, Texas)
Sabrina Reyes, Albuquerque High (Fort Lewis, Colorado)
Gabriela Meraz-Fishbein, Albuquerque High (Fort Lewis, Colorado)
Jesse Sanchez, Albuquerque Academy (Washington University, Missouri)
Jackson Cotter, Cibola (Northern Michigan)
Cece Barela, Eldorado (Maine Maritime Academy)
Luke Mummert, Albuquerque High (Colorado State-Pueblo)
Moses Santiago, Volcano Vista (Northern Colorado)
Christopher Rios, Atrisco Heritage (Bethel University, Minnesota)

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