Prep notes: Albuquerque High and Valencia have new — but familiar — girls basketball coaches - Albuquerque Journal

Prep notes: Albuquerque High and Valencia have new — but familiar — girls basketball coaches

Marty Zeller, right, shown coaching the Los Lunas HIgh girls in 2019, will next coach the Valencia High girls. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Teri Morrison was looking for a change in scenery. Marty Zeller is returning to familiar scenery.

Morrison, 63, who led Sante Fe Indian School to the Class 3A state championship game this year and was coaching with the Braves in two other title-game appearances (2019, 2022), on Monday was named the new head girls coach at Albuquerque High.

Zeller, 65, who won five state titles at neighboring Los Lunas between 2013 and 2020, on Saturday was announced as Valencia High’s next girls basketball coach.

Morrison said chats with a couple of current Class 5A coaches, Lori Mabrey at Rio Rancho and Matt Abney at Las Cruces, swayed her.

Teri Morrison

“I love what they say about the 5A level,” said Morrison. “It was an arena I wanted to be in, and (AHS) just seemed like a fantastic opportunity.”

Morrison has been coaching or teaching for 40 years, most of them in Texas. Santa Fe Indian was her first head coaching job in New Mexico.

Albuquerque High was a spectacular 25-3 during the 2022-23 season.

Zeller coached the boys from Class 1A Legacy Academy on the West Side last season.

“I definitely wanted to go back home where I wouldn’t be traveling as far, and (Valencia) has a really good situation with their athletic period, and the quality of life for me (in Los Lunas) is really good,” said Zeller.

The Jaguars were 19-11 last season under coach Micaela Medina. Zeller said Valencia’s style would most certainly change after the Jags averaged just over 41 points a game. Zeller is renown for his frequent substitution, up-tempo style.

Legacy made it to the Class 1A state tournament in March.

“I wasn’t looking to leave at all,” Zeller said. “And it was not easy to leave Legacy.”

Ambrose Romero

GOING HOME: Ambrose Romero admitted there was something special about taking over as head baseball coach at his alma mater, Eldorado. The 28-year-old, who graduated in 2014, late last week was tabbed to take over the program from Mike Robertson, who resigned.

Romero’s father, Wally, coached alongside legendary Eldorado coach Jim Johns for 15 years. Romero played for Johns.

“I kind of grew up in that dugout, that atmosphere,” said Romero. His first name is a tribute to Ambrose Alday, the late son of former (and also deceased) UNM coach Rich Alday. “I saw them winning state championships. It means a lot to me. Coach Johns meant a lot to me. The culture created there means a lot to me.”

Romero was Robertson’s varsity assistant and Eldorado’s JV coach last year. He also has coached at Colorado State Pueblo, where he played.

“I really respect coach Robertson; he (taught) me a lot of lessons,” Romero said. “I’m excited for the next step. This has been in my mind 20-plus years in the making.”

CASTILLO TO BE A LOBO: Los Lunas senior right-handed pitcher Ryan Castillo, the District 5-5A baseball player of the year, will be a preferred walk-on at the University of New Mexico, he said.

“I had a couple of opportunities with a couple of out-of-state schools, away from home,” he said. “I thought being closer to home and being at a four-year school, it’ll be better academically.”

The 6-foot-2, 165-pound Castillo went 8-4 last season with 110 strikeouts.

Two metro-area standouts also from the Class of 2023, Rio Rancho High second baseman Vascon Smith and St. Pius first baseman/designated hitter Gene Trujillo, will be on scholarship with the Lobos.

MASS SIGNINGS: Albuquerque Academy last week had a huge signing ceremony for 17 student-athletes.

Softball standout Sarah Post signed with St. John’s in New York. Tristen Lujan signed with Santa Clara volleyball. Gigi Galles, a superb jumper for the track and field team, signed with San Diego State. Anna Babinski, one of the state’s best soccer players, signed with Cal Poly. Nate Klein signed to run track at Columbia. Multiple state champion thrower Franklin Rambo signed with the Colorado School of Mines.

Four of the Chargers football standouts also signed — quarterback A.J. Rivera with Case Western Reserve in Ohio, receiver Kellan Gehres with Rhodes College in Tennessee, tight end Cole Conway with Trinity University in Texas, and defensive end Spencer Lyon with Austin (Texas) College.

Other signings: Michelangelo Duva (baseball; Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania); Hallie Vigil (golf; Oklahoma Wesleyan); Josh Simon (tennis; Muhlenberg College, Pennsylvania); Harrison “Hattie” Villegas (volleyball; University of Puget Sound in Washington); Iona Nelson (volleyball; Dickinson College, Pennsylvania); Katie Patton (cross country/track; Occidental College in California); and Quint Stein (track; University of Chicago).

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