The metro area has two new head boys basketball coaches.
Marcos Rivera, a longtime right hand to St. Pius’ Damian Segura and part of four state championship seasons with the Sartans, is taking over the Sandia Prep Sundevils.
Andrew Dunnell, with nearly a decade of experience as an assistant at Manzano and Sandia, is Belen’s new coach.
Rivera, 34, had been with Segura for 14 seasons. Willie Owens stepped down at Sandia Prep to assume athletic director duties from the soon-to-be retired Pete MacFarlane.
“I’ve been waiting for the right job, the job I felt would fit me well, and I think Prep does that,” said Rivera. “It’s a really great opportunity. And it’s very similar to Pius and what I’ve worked with the last 14 years.”
Rivera, a University of New Mexico and Pojoaque Valley High graduate, had applied for openings at Los Lunas and Los Alamos, he said, prior to getting this job.
Dunnell, 28, won a state championship as a player under coach Greg Brown at Manzano in 2006. And he spent seven years as an assistant with the Monarchs after he graduated, and the last three at Sandia.
“I’m really excited,” said Dunnell. “It seems like they have a really good core group of kids coming back, and they expect success.”
Dunnell replaces Patrick Mondragon, who in February was arrested for allegedly having criminal sexual contact with a 17-year-old minor. The Eagles, however, are coming off one of their best seasons in years, and reached the Class 5A quarterfinals at the Pit in March.
“I’ve always dreamt about having my own program,” he said. “Belen was too good of a job to pass up.”
NMADA AWARDS: Sophie Long of Academy and Brendon Armstead of Cleveland are the recipients of the New Mexico Athletic Directors Association Scholar Athlete awards.
Each athlete receives $1,500 in scholarship money toward college.
Long, whose GPA is 4.36, plans to attend Washington University in St. Louis and study neuroscience.
Armstead (GPA 4.18) is headed to Notre Dame to major in mechanical engineering and neuroscience.
SIGNINGS: Volcano Vista’s two undefeated state wrestling champions, Marcus Santillanes and Richard Govea, have chosen their colleges.
Govea, who was 17-0 as he rolled to his third individual state title, has signed with Division I University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.
Santillanes, 33-0 last season and a four-time state placer, has signed with New Mexico Highlands.
Also from the Hawks, Andre Pino, a two-time state qualifier, has signed with Division III MacMurray (Ill.) College.
… Albuquerque Academy quarterback Clay Crosby has signed a letter of intent to play for Trinity University in Texas. He was signed as an athlete.
… Albuquerque Academy third baseman Derek Purcella has committed to play for D-III University of Texas at Dallas.
… Two Sandia boys soccer players have signed: Victor Gallardo with Neosho (Kan.) Junior College, and Nathan Valles with Eastern New Mexico. Another Matador, midfielder Shamach Broussard, already has signed with UNM, as did Eldorado’s Mike Sprauer.
… Rio Grande High School has two athletes moving on to the next level. Shooting guard Jose Rodriguez, Jr., will play at Colorado Northwestern Community College, and defensive lineman Orlando Peralta is going to Ottawa University in Phoenix, the same school that recenting signed La Cueva quarterback Chris Campbell.
NEW CHAPTER: Last week, Oñate boys basketball coach Saul Perez resigned.
“It was just time,” he said. “The biggest motivating factor was my family.”
He said he wanted to spend more time with his wife of 20 years, Vanessa, and watch his daughter Jayden play her final season with the Oñate girls basketball team next season.
“At this point, it’s time to give back to them,” Perez said. “When I coached, I coached with a lot of passion and energy. If I wasn’t gonna be able to do that I didn’t want to (keep coaching).”
Perez, 44, coached the Knights to the Class 5A state championship in 2011 as a No. 1 seed. Oñate was the No. 1 seed in each of the last two seasons in 6A, as well.
He also coached at Gadsden for a dozen seasons.
“I’m not saying gone forever (from coaching),” he said. “You never know.”
SACRAMENTO BOUND: Albuquerque Academy senior thrower Jackson Morris has again qualified in the javelin for the U20 USA Track and Field Junior Nationals. This year, they are in Sacramento, Calif., from June 22-25.
Meanwhile, his throwing successor at Academy, freshman Teagun Glenn, is nationally ranked in all three throws in his class. Last weekend, Glenn finished in the top three in both the javelin and the discus at the metro championships.
TRACK AND FIELD: The Class 1A/2A/3A state meet is Friday and Saturday at the UNM complex.
Field event finals begin at 8 a.m. both days. The girls 1,600-meter final and boys 3,200-meter final are also Friday. The remainder of the running finals are Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m.
The larger schools’ state meet is next weekend, May 12-13, also at UNM.