Among the regular functions Sydney Moore takes advantage of on her cell phone, one in particular seems most relevant.
“I have it color coordinated, too,” she said with a laugh. “For my sanity.”
And if you were Sydney Moore, you’d probably have to do the same.
Forget for a moment that the 6-foot-3 Moore, who has committed to play volleyball for the University of New Mexico, is not only Eldorado High’s best player but one of this fall’s key impact players.
It’s the rest of her responsibilities that truly command attention.
She’s Eldorado’s student body secretary and helps run the school’s government, and also helps plans things like dances and assemblies. She is the secretary of the Key Club, vice president of the Spanish National Honor Society, a member of the National Honor Society, and is part of a group called Eagle Advocates, whose noble work has helped Eldorado retain a family therapist to be on campus during school days.
Factor in her school work and volleyball, and it’s easy to understand why the calendar in Moore’s phone is such a vital instrument in her life.
How does she find the time to manage all of this?
“Honestly,” she said with a smile, “I don’t know.”
She does know that being a Lobo has been on her to-do list since she was a small girl, attending camps at UNM.
“I always had that dream of playing for my hometown,” she said.
Then she met UNM coach Jon Newman-Gonchar, and the sales pitch was complete.
“One of the reasons I chose UNM was that I really love the coach,” Moore said. “And I could see how much that he cares for the volleyball community, and I could see he wants to grow it, and that was something I wanted to be a part of.”
Moore has only been heavily involved in volleyball since her eighth-grade year when she joined a club.
And her explanation about how volleyball came to separate itself as her sport of choice — from, say, basketball — was quite practical.
“I did play basketball,” she said. “And my favorite part of playing basketball was blocking the shots. So I thought, why not play a sport where I can do that all the time?”
Moore, a team captain, is a blocker and hitter for the Eagles. Coach Rob Pierce wants to deploy her from pin to pin in both capacities.
“She is always the one to get the team going,” Pierce said.
So while some other local prominent talent has left Albuquerque in recent years for New Mexico State — Sandia Prep’s Catherine Kelly, and La Cueva’s Mari Sharp and Sidney McIntosh are on that list — Moore preferrred to follow in the footsteps of her grandparents, her father and her brother, who were all Lobos.
Last summer, Moore, who plans to study engineering at UNM — “I’ve always liked the sciences and how things work, and that’s how my brain works,” she said — put together a video of her highlights that heavily factored into the Lobos recruiting Moore. She will sign her national letter of intent later this school year.
As for the Eagles’ chances this fall, they’re going to have to contend with rival La Cueva in their district, but Pierce said Eldorado and its big lineup has the pieces to contend.
“We have the potential to be excellent,” he said.
Centennial won the state championship in Class 5A in the abbreviated spring season, and the Hawks may well be the favorite to repeat in November. La Cueva, Rio Rancho, Las Cruces and Cibola are poised to contend.
The Bears, Rams and Cougars are part of the field at the Albuquerque Metro Championships, which begin with pool play Wednesday. Bracket play begins Thursday, with the final slated for 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Del Norte.
La Cueva is perhaps the most potent of the challengers inside the metro area. The Bears are led by returning all-state setter Erin Jones, plus hitters Isabella Harrison and transfer Ella Sanders, formerly of Albuquerque High. Jenna Sandoval is a four-year libero. Jones and Harrison were first-team all-state selections in the spring.
“We’re good,” Bears coach Steve Archibeque said. “We’re really good.”
Cibola coach Christina Norton is equally enthused about her Cougars, who are switching to a 6-2 attack with setters Abby Carlsen and Kayla Ison. The size comes from 6-1 Logan Smith and 5-9 Maddy Saavedra.
“We’re very excited about this group,” Norton said. “We have some high flyers, kids that want to get after it.”
Freshman hitter Cecilia Vance of Rio Rancho certainly will be among the players to watch, as will junior setter Ashleigh Meyer. The Rams last weekend fell in straight sets to Centennial in the final of a tournament in Las Cruces.
Rio Rancho has only two seniors and returns its roster largely intact from the spring.
“It’s a fun group. Fast, athletic, they’ve played a lot of volleyball,” longtime Rio Rancho coach Toby Manzanares said. “We just need more time together.”
In 4A, the last two state champions are Albuquerque Academy and St. Pius. Those two and 6-0 Hope should contend.
Academy’s bid to repeat will be sparked by 6-5 junior Tristen Lujan (who has moved from outside to the middle) and senior setter Portia Bryce.
“I think it could be anybody’s ballgame (in 4A),” St. Pius coach Jordan Russell said.
Hope is led by senior hitter Emma Villalpando and fifth-year setter Kiersten Cobos, and only graduated one senior from its spring team.
Portales and Artesia are among the teams expected to challenge from outside the metro area.
Sandia Prep is defending its 3A state title with new coach Stewart Weadock and returns most of the players from that squad in the spring, including first-team all-state senior middles Ramona Delyser and Haley Feuerherd.