SUNDEVILS COACH RETURNS: Richard Martinez was placed on paid administrative leave from his coaching and teaching duties earlier this week, but was reinstated by the Española Valley school board on Thursday. In his absence, Martinez’s brother, Eric Martinez, assumed head coaching duties. With Eric Martinez at the helm, Española Valley (11-10, 3-1 District 2) fell 63-62 to Bernalillo (9-13, 2-2) for its first district defeat. The Sundevils, however, remain in first place in the district.
HUSKIES TOO MUCH FOR HORSEMEN: Want to know the difference between the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in Class 3A?
It’s 22 points.
That’s because No. 2 St. Michael’s (17-4) traveled to face top-ranked Hope Christian (18-3) and fell 61-39 in both teams’ District 5 opener. The Huskies out-scored the Horsemen 19-5 in the final period to conclude the rout. St. Mike’s will look for its first district win tonight when it plays host to Sandia Prep (10-11, 1-0) at 7 p.m.
NATIONAL SIGNING DAY: Three area athletes have committed to play their respective sports at the next level. From St. Michael’s, running back Daniel Ortega has committed to play for the New Mexico Military Institute; from Santa Fe High, Bryana Garcia has committed to play soccer for NCAA Division II Wayne State College in Nebraska; and from Taos High, Zoie Hensley has committed to play soccer for NCAA Division I Tennessee Tech.
HENSLEY EARNS NATIONAL HONOR: Taos senior Zoie Hensley has been named the 2013-14 Gatorade New Mexico Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Hensley is the first female soccer player of the year to be chosen from Taos High School.
The 5-foot-4 forward finished with 54 goals and 17 assists this past season, leading the Tigers (14-4) to the Class A-3A state semifinals.
TRACK AND FIELD
SLACK NAMED ATHLETE OF THE MONTH: New Mexico Highlands junior Salcia Slack has been named Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Female Field Athlete of January. Slack provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships in the pentathlon with 3,824 points during last month’s Air Force Invitational. She also has the fourth longest long jump in Division II with a leap of 5.87 meters.
3 THINGS TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND
BASKETBALL: With three teams – Santa Fe, Capital and Bernalillo – tied for second place with two losses each in the District 2-4A race, things may get even more crowded by the end of the weekend. The Sundevils play host to the Demons at 7 p.m. Saturday in a pivotal league matchup at Española Valley High.
SHOVEL RACING: Shovel racing returns to Angel Fire this Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. The free-to-attend event features beer-bellied men in tight suits, female TV news talking heads and anyone else with a shovel, sliding down a steep run for cash prizes and bragging rights. While it may be hard for some to tell the difference, the actual “dummy” race begins at 5 p.m. That’s when sleds, equipped with non-living dummies, are launched off a ramp to the delight of people who like to watch things go boom.
WRESTLING: With district tournaments still a week away, 13 teams will gather at Los Alamos for the Bryan Sanchez Invitational in a final tune-up for the penultimate event of the season. Teams in attendance include St. Michael’s, Robertson, Española Valley, Pecos, Taos and, of course, Los Alamos.