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2011 Was Year of Solid Success for Sports Teams

SANTA FE, N.M. — From Robertson wrestler Daniel Martinez and St. Michael’s runner Kate Norskog, to the Santa Fe Indian School Lady Braves basketball program and the Pojoaque Valley Elkettes volleyball squad, 2011 was not the year of one-and-done success stories.

Rather, it was a show of excellence repeated a year where lofty expectations were met and the best proved that, yes, they were indeed just that.

Here is just a small sample of the past 12 months, the Journal North’s year in review:


8 The Mora Rangers opened 2011 by claiming the title at the 63rd annual Northern Rio Grande boys tournament crown at the Ben Lujan Gymnasium.

11 The Santa Fe Demons completed the season sweep of rival St. Michael’s in boys hoops with a decisive 51-41 victory.

15 Robertson 160-pounder Daniel Martinez and St. Michael’s 152-pounder Jess Martinez capture titles at the prestigious Joe Vivian Classic.

20 St. Michael’s Horsemen pulled off an upset basketball victory in overtime over then-No. 2-ranked Sandia Prep. The Horsemen won 34-29.


12 The Santa Fe Demons, in their first season in District 2-4A, took home the district wrestling title, unseating Española Valley, which had won nine league titles in the past decade. Six Demon wrestlers became individual district champs.

18 Longtime Santa Fe Indian School boys basketball and football coach Ernie Rodriguez is fired. Through 12 seasons at the helm in basketball, Rodriguez said he finished with a record of 340-262. In football, the Braves were 43-51.

19 Robertson’s Daniel Martinez claims his fifth-straight state wrestling title, the first wrestler in Class A-3A and third in any class to accomplish the feat. Martinez cruised through the state field without giving up a point, finishing with a school-record 223 wins.

St. Michael’s Jess Martinez won his third state title, while teammates Adrian Montoya, Michael Lamb and Koery Windham won their second. Taos standout Dakota Swinehart captured his first title at the meet, as did fellow Tiger Matt Silva. Other area champs included Pecos’ John Torres; Capital’s Ernesto Salvidrez; Santa Fe’s Daniel Salvidrez, and the Demon’s Anthony Abeyta.

24 The Capital Jaguars snap a 15-game, five-year losing streak to the Española Valley Sundevils with a 44-43 overtime win in the District 2-4A championship game.

25 Santa Fe Indian School tops Hope Christian, 55-41, to claim District 5-2 girls basketball title.


8 The Santa Fe Indian School Lady Braves get a Class 3A quarterfinal win at the expense of West Las Vegas. The defending 3A girls state champions advanced to the state semifinals with a 71-45 rout of the Lady Dons in a rematch of last season’s state title game.

9 Socorro stuns Robertson Cardinals in boys basketball quarterfinal match, winning 54-51 with a toss in the final 20 seconds.

10 Mesa Vista’s season ended by a last-second shot, with a 3-pointer from Tucumcari’s Travis Garcia putting his team over the top 59-57, stopping the Trojans just short of an appearance in the Class 2A boys basketball championship game.

11 St. Michael’s was sent home in 3A boys semifinal basketball game by a familiar foe. After taking two games from its District 5-3A rival, Sandia Prep, during the regular season, the Horsemen wound up on the losing end of the 56-41 score.

12 Española Valley earns its first-ever 4A boys basketball title thanks to standout Rodney Coles. The 5-foot-7 guard scored 17 of his game-high 24 points in the final period, including sinking seven of eight from the foul line to seal the win. Coles also scored all 13 of the team’s final points.


1 Former West Las Vegas standout Vera Jo Bustos concluded her college basketball career at Adams State, being named an NCAA Division II Bulletin Honorable Mention All-American, among a host of other honors.


5 Robertson’s Miranda Garcia captured the Class A-3A girls singles title in tennis, St. Michael’s Casey Ish and Will Matthews took home the A-3A doubles title, and Los Alamos’ Chase Havemann and Dominic Lucido concluded their prep careers with the 4A boys doubles crown.

Pecos standout Yeshemabet Turner captures her sixth individual state title on day one of the small-school track and field meet at UNM. Turner eclipsed her previous record of 36-8 in the triple jump set two years ago with a leap of 37-7.

Peñasco’s Sean Sanchez wins the 800-meter run, while teammate Antonio Varela wins at 3,200 meters.

7 The Santa Fe Prep girls team takes home team title in track and field, finishing first with 46 points, followed by Estancia with 45.

Yeshemabet Turner caps off her final state track and field meet for Pecos with a perfect 35-point meet, including five state titles. She recorded first-place finishes in the triple jump, high jump, long jump, and the 100- (12.82) and 200-meter sprints.

Peñasco’s Sean Sanchez finishes first in the 1,600-meter run.

St. Michael’s girls fall to Robertson, 5-4, as the Cardinals take home the state tennis title.

St. Michael’s boys team dropped a nail-biter, 5-4, to Bosque in the A-3A tennis semifinals.

10 St. Michael’s finishes second at A-3A state golf meet. Lovington took the team title with a two-day total of 654 — just one stroke ahead of St. Mike’s.

Last season’s individual golf champion, Marty Sanchez of St. Michael’s, finishes in second place overall.

12 St. Michael’s falls in 3A baseball quarterfinals to Silver High, 10-2, while Robertson falls, 14-2, to Sandia Prep.

McCurdy concludes baseball season in 10-0 semifinal loss to Capitan.

13 Kate Norskog caps off day one of the 3A state meet for St. Mike’s with her fifth-straight title in the 3,200-meter run, while teammate Nicolette Serrao wins her first title in the javelin.

Pojoaque Valley’s C.J. Berryman and Amanda Babicke take gold in the long jump.

Robertson’s Jon Adam Dimas improved his best mark by half a foot to claim the 3A title, clearing 6-2 on his first try.

Los Alamos’ Chase Ealey wins the state title while breaking her own record in the shot put, with a throw of 42-03.75.

14 Los Alamos girls win their third-straight 4A track-and-field title, while ‘Topper Chase Ealey earns high-point honors, with four first-place finishes.

‘Topper Andy Thoma took home first-place medals in the 400-, 800-, and 1,600-meter relays, as well as in the open 400. Fellow ‘Topper Tim Wermer earned a title in the 3,200-meter run. The Los Alamos boys placed third with 42 points, behind first-place Artesia (65) and Albuquerque Academy (57).

Santa Fe’s Jerry Chavez beat the field in 110-meter hurdles, at 14.95, to earn the Demons’ first title in recent memory.

Amanda Babicke and C.J. Berryman led the high-point sweep for Pojoaque Valley. Babicke placed first at 400 meters after also taking first in the long jump, tying for the overall prize with Hope Christian’s Aasha Marler. The Elkettes finished third overall behind St. Michael’s. Berryman took first in the 100-meter dash after taking first in the long jump on day one.

Lady Horsemen Kate Norskog concluded her prep career as a five-time champ in the 1,600-meter run. Teammate Maya McGowan claimed the top prize in the 100-meter hurdles.

Robertson’s Daniel Martinez claims state title in the 300- and 110-meter hurdles. Also, the Cardinals’ 1,600-meter girls medley squad of Abby Bradley, Chantelle Davis, Kristan Montaño and Belen Romero took first place for Robertson.

20 Journal North names St. Mike’s Kate Norskog female athlete of the year.

26 New Mexico Highlands’ Jillisa Grant claims the long jump title at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Thursday in Turlock, Calif., jumping 6.36 meters to win the first national title for the Cowgirls program.

28 Journal North names Daniel Martinez male athlete of the year.


13 Santa Fe plays host for the first time to the Zia Regional Rodeo, New Mexico’s only gay rodeo.


3 Former West Las Vegas standout Vera Jo Bustos inks a seven-month contract to play professional basketball in Greece, with Apollon Kalamarias.

17 The Pojoaque Valley Elkettes volleyball team finishes first in the 20-team at the Tournament of Champions in Santa Fe. The Elkettes dismissed the Hilltoppers in three games — 25-19, 25-21, 25-13 — at Santa Fe High, grabbing their fifth straight championship in the annual event.

21 Santa Fe High School was allowed by the board of directors of the New Mexico Activities Association to remain in the Class 4A division for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.


1 After winning its first four games of the season for first time in more than four decades, the New Mexico Highlands football team suffers its first loss — a 15-14 defeat to previously winless Western State College. The Cowboys dropped the next seven-straight games to conclude the season 4-7.

St. Michael’s ends a more than three-decade-long losing streak to St. Pius with a 24-14 win.

12 Monte del Sol boys soccer team earns its first-ever win, 2-1, over St. Mike’s.

18 Capital finally beats Los Alamos, 2-0, in boys soccer action. The Hilltoppers had not lost in district play since the 2007 season.

22 Capital wins first-ever district soccer title with the 2-0 win over the Santa Fe Demons.

29 St. Mike’s takes its first-ever District 5-3A football title, with a 37-10 victory over Hope Christian.

Robertson eliminates Santa Fe Prep in the opening round of the Class A-3A boys state soccer tournament, winning 3-0.


2 New Mexico Highlands gave up three second-half goals to conclude its season at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference soccer tournament, falling 3-1 to Fort Lewis in the quarterfinals. The two-time RMAC player of the year, Julissa Rodriguez, concluded her collegiate career by scoring her 16th goal of the season. Rodriguez is Highlands’ all-time leading scorer, with 31 career goals in just two seasons.

3 The Capital Jaguars fell 3-0 in the Class 4A soccer quarterfinals to Atrisco Heritage. It was their worst defeat of the season.

4 The Los Alamos Hilltoppers girls soccer team gave up three first-half goals to Albuquerque Academy en route to a 3-1 loss in the Class 4A semifinals.

5 The Taos Tigers become the first public school to play for the Class A-3A soccer title. Taos would fall 2-0 to Sandia Prep.

Sean Reardon led Los Alamos to its first team title at the NMAA State Cross-Country Championships since 2007. Reardon was among five Hilltoppers to finish in the Top 10 of the 4A meet.

Pojoaque Valley took home the Class 3A boys cross country race, edging out Shiprock, 81-86. Sam Roybal led the way in the win, placing third overall. Carlos Trujillo (13th) and Jereme Santisteven (15th) rounded out Pojoaque’s top three.

9 The Pecos League, with semi-pro teams in southeastern New Mexico and Texas, which argued beer sales were needed to establish a Santa Fe team, won approval with a 4-4 City Council vote, with Mayor David Coss breaking the tie.

11 Los Alamos had no answer for Los Lunas, falling 55-0 in the opening round of the 4A football playoffs.

12 The Pojoaque Valley girls volleyball team completed a perfect season with its third straight Class 3A state championship. The Elkettes (24-0) defeated Portales 25-11, 25-8, 22-25, 25-13. It was the third-straight season Pojoaque beat the Rams for the state crown. Pojoaque Valley only dropped two games through 24 matches all season.

McCurdy loses 28-7 to Mesilla Valley in the semifinals of the Class A football playoffs.

19 Robertson’s rally from a 21-point deficit fell short, falling 41-21 to Silver in the 3A football playoffs.


2 The St. Michael’s Horsemen fall to Lovington in state title game 14-10.

St. Michael’s tops Santa Fe 48-41 in overtime to claim first place at the Lady Jaguar Basketball Tournament.

10 The St. Michael’s Horsemen top Class 5A’s then-top-ranked Clovis Wildcats at the Capital City Basketball Tournament, 56-44. On the girls’ side, Santa Fe defeated the Lady Horsemen, 49-36.

22 The Española Valley Sundevils claim the 20th annual Ben Lujan Girls Basketball Tournament with a 67-38 win over host Pojoaque Valley. On the boys side, Bernalillo wins the 12th annual boys tourney with a 69-59 win over the Elks.