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May 2013

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Don Vaughan PuBlISHER

Cindy Cowan Thiele EDITOR

Debra Mayeux lauren Duff Rick Hoerner Tom Yost J.P. Murrieta CONTRIBuTING WRITERS

Josh Bishop Tony Bennett Gordon J. Smith April Sanchez CONTRIBuTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Suzanne Thurman Jennifer Hargrove Michael Billie DESIGNERS

DeYan Valdez Shelly Acosta Aimee Velasquez Felix Chacon

EDITOR There’s a sport for every age and personality I’ve always found it interesting when I hear people say, “There’s nothing to do in Farmington.” Try telling that to the more than 80 percent of the population that participate in some incarnation of a sporting activity. We all tend to think of “real” sports as a competition that involves hitting, kicking, chasing, catching or throwing a ball of some size. The great thing about our area is that we have the weather, landscape and population devoted to just about any kind of sport you can think of, whether it is as an individual or in a team setting. That’s one of the reasons we started this magazine. We wanted to have a venue where we could highlight area sports, sports personalities

and individuals of all ages in our stories. Some hard core athletes wouldn’t consider geotracking, fly fishing, cycling or rock climbing a sport, but those people probably aren’t all that interested in putting on pads and playing football, either. Sports are diverse and all-encompassing. In San Juan County there is a sport and a place to go to enjoy that sport for almost every interest. Diversity is definitely evident in this issue. We have marksmen, basketball, golf, fly-fishing, trail riding, soccer and fitness competitors. As always we value your input. If you have a great sports story you think we should cover, send the information to and we’ll put it on our list.


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Four Corners Sports magazine is published once a month by Majestic Media. Material herein may not be reprinted without expressed written consent of the publisher. Opinions expressed by the contributing writers are not necessarily those of the publisher, editor or Four Corners Sports magazine. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication. However the publisher cannot assume responsibility for errors or ommissions. © 2013 Four Corners Sports magazine.


Four Corners SPORTS

covercredit Photography by Josh Bishop. Pictured on the cover is Brooke Raney.

May 2013

content | 12 |



As many seniors spend the month of May closing the book on high school, a particularly motivated senior in Aztec spends the days preparing for her opportunities to prove herself as an elite talent on the golf course.

Two local high school Junior ROTC teams received state recognition after scoring the first and second place trophies during the New Mexico State Marksmanship Championship in Albuquerque on April 12 through April 13.


| 10 | SUPER MOM She came in second place at the 2012 Fitness Universe international competition in Miami, Fla., and then decided to take some time off, refocus and be a mom for a year, before hitting the contest circuit and “going pro.”

Anyone with a horse can participate in North American Trail Ride Conference rides that happen each year across the United States. Some people ride for fun, while others have a competitive streak. Most, however, ride because they love the outdoors and being one with their horses.

| 26 | FHS BOYS SOCCER Since winning the state championships during the 2011-2012 Season, the Farmington High School Boys Varsity Soccer Team has shown dedication and hard work, earning them second overall in the state championships this past season.

| 20 | OUR HIDDEN JEWEL “We have a jewel in our backyard,” Trout Snouts Angling fishing guide, Jeff Massey said. “The problem is that hardly anyone from the area comes and fishes the river.”

| 28 | REBUILDING It was a successful season for the Shiprock High School boys varsity basketball team when they made it to the semi-finals, even though they lost to Hope Christian School, a private school in Albuquerque.

| 24 | 3 IN A ROW

| 30 |

By the time the Farmington Municipal School bus rolled out of the parking lot of the Santa Ana Star in Albuquerque at the end of the first day of state competition, the Piedra Vista Panther wrestling squad knew the blue trophy was in hand.

May 2013

10 Questions with Jeff Roth, Head Golf Professional San Juan Country Club Four Corners SPORTS


“It’s something I can play for the rest of my life. It’s also an individual sport and I like the fact that I’m the only person I have to rely on.” — Brooke Raney

DRIVING TO BE THE BEST by Tom Yost | photography by Josh Bishop

Raney continues golfing career at Western New Mexico University As many seniors spend the month of May closing the book on high school, a particularly motivated senior in Aztec spends the days preparing for her opportunities to prove herself as an elite talent on the golf course.

“I love both softball and golf, but I felt golf had a better future for me,” explains Raney. “It’s something I can play for the rest of my life. It’s also an individual sport, and I like the fact that I’m the only person I have to rely on.”

Brooke Raney started playing golf with her grandfather at the age of 10. As a young girl, her natural athletic abilities allowed her great opportunities in sports such as softball, and as she grew and started participating more in golf, a tough decision was offered her.

The athleticism and hand-to-eye coordination of hitting a moving ball with a bat in softball only solidified her strengths as a golfer. Raney’s long fluid golf swing and powerful move through the hitting area make her one of the longest hitters in high school. “I am strong off the tee and I get good distance,” confirms Raney.

Unfortunately, too many athletes with natural ability do not put in the necessary practice time to develop those talents further. Probably the most important quality that Raney seems to exhibit is her passion for the game of golf and the drive continually to improve her game. “I think the sky is the limit with Brooke,” says Hidden Valley Golf Professional and Aztec High School Golf Coach, Tom McClurg. “She has the God-given physical talent to go as far as she wants, including the LPGA Tour. She is very athletic, she picks things up very quickly and she is a very hard worker. She continues to improve and she is getting very confident in her abilities.” “I keep pushing myself to be the best I can possibly be, and to see how far I can go playing golf,” explains Raney. It is that attitude that has not only improved her golf game, but paved her way to receive a scholarship to continue her golfing career at Western New Mexico University, a Division II


Four Corners SPoRTS

May 2013

school in Silver City that has become a national ladies golf contender in recent years. “It felt good that all my hard work was starting to pay off,” said Raney when asked to describe her reaction to the scholarship offer. “It made me want to work even harder to make other dreams come true as well.”

valuable tools to help Raney in all aspects of her life. “… And to be honest, respect also helps me off of the golf course in how I treat the adults in my life, such as coaches, teachers and parents,” explains Raney. Setting goals is also a major component that Raney has taken to heart.

Raney continues to take her game and her life to the next level – something she learned while participating in The First Tee for the past seven years. By incorporating golf instruction with life skills and character values, The First Tee has helped nurture her passion for golf and provided

“My goal at the moment is to shoot par consistently. After I reach that goal, I would like to shoot scores in the 60s,” states Raney. “My goals at Western are to be the best golfer and student I can possibly be while I am away. I also want to help win a national team championship and to become an All-American.” Lofty goals for a sweet, fun-loving high school senior from Aztec – but hidden behind the beautiful smile is a goal-oriented and driven golfer who is proving that nothing is outside the realm of possibility. “Brooke needs to keep tightening up her swing, continue to work hard on the mental part of the game, continue playing tough competition and working as hard as she is now,” says McClurg. “She needs not only to want to take her game to the college level and beyond, but to believe in her abilities, and she will go as far as she wants to go. Again, the sky’s the limit for Brooke if she wants it and is willing to continue working hard on her game, both physically and mentally.” If her attitude and work ethic throughout high school are any indication of future success, then Brooke Raney is a name you might be hearing in the world of golf for years to come.




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Personal challenge takes Guerrero to international fitness win by Debra Mayuex photography by Gordon J. Smith She came in second place at the 2012 Fitness Universe international competition in Miami, Fla., and then decided to take some time off, refocus and be a mom for a year, before hitting the contest circuit and “going pro.” Cami Guerrero, a 31-year-old chemical engineer, began working out with competition on her mind about six years ago. Her son, Santiago was 6 months old, and she wanted an outlet that would not only transform her body but help her lead a healthier life. “I started eating a clean diet and mountain biking, and lost 15 pounds,” she said. “Then I decided to work out with a trainer to lose weight.” Guerrero began lifting weights under the supervision of Anthony Romero, a personal trainer and owner of Complete Physique. She wanted to follow in the footsteps of a friend who was preparing for a fitness and figure competition, so she began eating to cut fat and build muscle.

Guerrero’s first competition was in May 2011 at the Hard rock Casino in Albuquerque, where she won her division in the Musclemania Bikini Competition. the next step was to prepare for nationals at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., where she ended up earning a top 10 in the bikini competition against 50 other girls. “I felt pretty good about it,” she said. “I never in a million years thought I would do this.” the judges spoke with Guerrero after the competition and recommended she consider competing in the Figure category. “they thought if I switched to Figure, I would do better,” she said. Figure, while still feminine, is a category for leaner, more muscular women. Guerrero thought she would give it a try. once again she turned to romero for help. “Cami needed to put on some weight, but stay healthy. It took about four months of hard work, focusing on her diet and workout in the gym,” romero said. He has a good record of training area athletes, many of whom have gone on to win fitness and figure competitions. the process was not an easy one. “It’s hard to gain weight in a healthy way,” Guerrero said. She, however, was successful again. Guerrero placed 2nd in figure against 50 girls and was one of the top 10 out of 40 women, who competed in the bikini

competition at Fitness Universe. When the 2012 season was over, Guerrero decided to take time off to spend with Santiago, who entered kindergarten last fall. “I wanted to make sure my training didn’t get in the way,” she said. Santiago did get to spend more time with Mom, but he still joined her at the gym for her weekly workouts. then Guerrero was approached with a new opportunity and challenge. this 1999 Bloomfield High School graduate was offered a position at Coch Exploration in Denver. Guerrero had been working for Conocophillips, but decided to take this new job and run with it. She is the operations engineer and is able to get involved in all aspects of the energy industry – from drilling completion to facilities production and managing a gas plant. “I get to flex my engineering muscles,” she said. Guerrero recently moved her home to Denver and has gotten settled into the new job. Now, once again, she is ready to focus on her body with the goal of turning pro in the fitness world. “When you have a pro card, you get approached for sponsorships and I will get to compete against other pros,” she said.

May 2013

Guerrero is competitive by nature. She was involved in high school sports and she enjoys giving herself challenges and meeting them. “It’s up to you and your discipline,” she said. “You put in the work and stick to the diet or you don’t succeed.” She also enjoys being and eating healthy, because those are habits she can pass on to her son. “It’s not about being thin or in shape, it’s about being healthy,” she said. She believes anyone can be successful on a fitness program if they are willing to put in the work and follow the diet. Guerrero is “anal” about her diet, according to romero. “She has a spreadsheet for her spreadsheet and that’s just for her diet,” he said. this engineer is not embarrassed to say that she outlines her diet, counts calories and plans meals each week. “I don’t eat processed food. I eat tons of lean proteins, lots of veggies, oatmeal and fruit,” she said, “and I eat six times a day. I eat more than most people eat a day by noon, and I do have a cheat day. Everybody needs a cheat day for their sanity.” Guerrero cooks all day on Sunday and plans out her meals for the week. She passes on the healthy eating to Santiago, who is proud of his mom and her “protein competitions,” he said. “It is a personal challenge that makes me feel accomplished – that I can do it all and be Super Mom,” Guerrero said.

Four Corners SportS


Local marksmen shine

Kirtland Central, Piedra Vista place 1 and 2 at state championships by Lauren Duff and Rick Hoerner | courtesy photos Two local high school Junior ROTC teams received state recognition after scoring the first and second place trophies during the New Mexico State Marksmanship Championship in Albuquerque on April 12 through April 13. The event was held in conjunction with the CMP or Civilian Marksmanship Program, Western Regional Championships sponsored by the CMP.

In this event the best shooting teams from 13 western states qualified for the National Championships to be held in Anniston, Alabama this coming July. Kirtland Central High School’s JROTC Marksmanship Team earned first place in the state championships and Piedra Vista High School’s JROTC Marksmanship Team earned second place.

“It has been a long year of competitions, and with each one we kept improving. Our ultimate goal was to make it to the state championships,” said Thomas Frost, Kirtland Central JROTC instructor. “The kids were elated when they found out we placed first.” David Naber, Piedra Vista JROTC instructor, said the students were pleased with their overall score. “I was also particularly pleased with the performance of the sophomores on the team. They shot exceptionally well,” he said, referring to sophomores Brandon Von-Ha, Darnell Lincoln, Shelby Wyckoff, Joseph Johnson, and Broderick Conniff. Naber said the two high school teams also broke school records during the competition. The New Mexico State Championship was held in conjunction with the Civilian Marksmanship Program Western Regional Championship. Since the two teams competed in the regional championships during the same weekend as the state championships, the Kirtland Central JROTC Marksmanship Team was recognized as first in the region and third in the nation and the Piedra Vista JROTC Marksmanship Team was recognized as fourth in the region and seventh in the nation. “It is really unusual to have two teams that are only a few miles apart do so well in the state championships,” Frost said. “We have quality students who are dedicated and practice before and after school, and it paid off.” As a result of winning the Western Regional, Kirtland Central was awarded with two checks, one for $1,500 and one for $5,000. The $5,000 check


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May 2013

was placed in their Midway Endowment fund. Students from both high schools also were individually recognized. Kirtland Central Senior Vladimir Govorkov placed first in the Western regional and third in the nation and Von-Ha placed third in the Western regional and seventh in the nation.

(sophomore) placed 3rd in the Western regionals and 7th nationally. Kirtland Central team members are Vladimir Govorkov (senior), Justin Malouff (senior), Shaquanna James (senior) and Kara Mike (sophomore). piedra Vista had two teams

qualify: A team: Lawrence Benally (senior), Daniel Estrada (senior), Brandon Von-Ha (sophomore) and Darnell Lincoln (sophomore). B team: Shelby Wyckoff (sophomore), Joseph Johnson (sophomore), Broderick Conniff (sophomore) and Belle toney (freshman).

As a result of his performance, Govorkov also received a Civilian Marksmanship program’s Distinguished Marksmanship Badge, as did Kirtland Central Senior Shaquanna James. only 583 students have been awarded this badge nationally since 2001. “they truly earned those medals that night,” Frost said. Since Kirtland Central and piedra Vista were nationally recognized, they have the opportunity to attend the National Championships in nniston, Ala., this July. Frost and Naber are unsure if the teams will attend the National Championships due to financial reasons, but they are looking forward to future competitions. “Next year we hope to continue from the same point we are now and continue to be a better team,” Naber said. “We have a solid team and what is nice is they are a young team. I’m only losing two seniors and everyone left on the teams are sophomores and freshmen.”


Individually, Kirtland’s Vladimir Govorkov (senior) placed 1st in the Western regionals and 3rd nationally. piedra Vista’s Brandon Von-Ha








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Four Corners SportS


happy trails

Riders go for fun, competition and love of horses by Debra Mayeux | photography by Tony Bennett Anyone with a horse can participate in North American Trail Ride Conference rides that happen each year across the United States. Some people ride for fun, while others have a competitive streak. Most, however, ride because they love the outdoors and being one with their horses. “I’ve been doing this for about 35-40 years,” said Steve Ancell, a Durango, Colo., resident who participated in the Piñon

Mesa competitive trail ride April 20 and 21 in Farmington. “It’s a lot of fun. I do it for the enjoyment of riding.”

12 and a Chokecherry Ride on Sept. 21 and 22, according to the NATRC website,

The Piñon Mesa ride was the 12th so far this year to be sponsored by the North American Trail Ride Conference, NATRC. There are 55 scheduled in 2013, and of those two more NATRC sanctioned rides will be in Northwest New Mexico. There will be a Navajo Lake Trail Ride on May 11 and

Riders participate in regional and national events to earn points. The points are tallied at the end of each year for regional and national prizes. There were 37 riders who left a camp on La Plata Highway early the morning of the

April 20. They had 50 miles to complete in a set amount of hours. Novice riders needed to finish the ride in six hours 40 minutes, while the open class had between eight and 8 ½ hours, according to Linda Jones, of Aztec. “There were checkpoints along the way, and judges along the way,” Jones said. Veterinarians also are on hand. “They don’t check the riders. They just check the horses.” Competitive trail riding is open to children 10 years and older, and parents, who compete and can ride with their children. Oftentimes, family and friends who do not ride also participate as volunteers. Jody Carmen, of Farmington, has participated in competitive trail rides for 12 years and travels all over the Southwest to do so. “I love this sport. It’s an interesting competition,” she said. Carmen is a member of a local riding group – the San Juan Valley Trail Riders. This group not only rides, they go out and take care of the trails by marking them and keeping them usable. “This is a pretty good group,” Carmen said.

She not only enjoys the camaraderie with her fellow riders, she loves spending time with her horse. “A lot of us are in it for the relationship between the person and the horse,” Carmen said. There were awards given out in three categories for the riders who finished with the best time, while keeping their horses in good condition, according to Sims, who explained that points are awarded for the condition of the rider and the condition of the horse at the end of each day’s ride. Kimberly Pape, of Bosque Farms, won the award for a first time rider. Terri Smith received the sweepstakes, or highest horse award, in the open division, while Nicole Tucker won first place in the novice division. Beth Sims earned a sweepstakes award in the competitive pleasure category. The next ride will be Mother’s Day Weekend, May 11 and 12, at Navajo Lake.

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Photos courtesy of Shiprock High School Yearbook Staff

by Lauren Duff

Players work to earn a spot on team every day The Lady Chieftains came out strong this past season after they played 28 games and fought their way to the semi-finals, where they were defeated by Hope Christian School in Albuquerque. Coach Larenson Henderson, of the Shiprock High School girls varsity basketball team, said this was an exciting season when it first began in November and ended in March with an overall record of 25-3. This was Henderson’s first year to be the head girls basketball coach. The Shiprock girls varsity basketball team made it to the quarter finals this season but were defeated by Hope Christian School with a final score of 65-55. Lovington High School in Lovington, N.M., won the state championship this year. Henderson said one of the highlights from the season was when Shiprock High School hosted a Lady Chieftains Tournament where seven teams were invited to play. “We had to put our junior varsity team in and they played against the varsity team, but the varsity team won the tournament,” he said about the final game. “It was fun because I didn’t get to coach; I sat and watched them play.” Throughout the season, the girls varsity team had to play teams in the district including Kirtland Central High School, Navajo Preparatory School in Farmington, Piedra Vista High School in Farmington, and Bloomfield High School. “In our district, the competition was Okay,” Henderson said. “It wasn’t as tough as it should be, but we had our competition against Arizona teams,” such as in Window Rock High School in Fort Defiance, Ariz., Tuba City High School in Tuba City, Ariz., and Monument Valley High School in


Four Corners SPORTS

May 2013

Kayenta, Ariz. Other teams the Lady Chieftains played outside of the district were West Las Vegas High School in Las Vegas, N.M., Miyamura High School in Gallup, N.M., Ignacio High School in Ignacio, Colo., and Mead High School in Longmont, Colo. Ashley John, Shiprock High School junior who played the positions guard and forward, said the best part about the season was winning every tournament the team entered into. “I was also happy we made it to the final four,” she said. The Lady Chieftains played in several tournaments this season including the Lady Chieftain Tournament in Shiprock; Kirtland Central Lady Bronco Tournament, where they defeated Fruita High School from Colorado with a final score of 58-54; the Webb Toyota Invitational, where they defeated Kirtland Central High School with a final score of 72-33; and the Lady Scorpion Invite, where they defeated Mead High School with a final score of 58-55. Henderson said there will be several basketball camps this summer in Albuquerque that he is organizing, and the Lady Chieftain tryouts will be during the first month of school. “I tell them that they have to earn a spot on the team every day,” he said, adding that this past season 8th grader Melonie Sacody and Freshman Cassandra Peters both earned a spot on the varsity team. Henderson said he is proud of how well his players did this season but hopes to improve on “rebounding and just becoming more athletic as far as being more disciplined in executing plays.”

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by Tom Yost | photography by Josh Bishop

Guides: Locals should experience quality waters “We have a jewel in our backyard,” states Trout Snouts Angling Fishing Guide Jeff Massey. “The problem is that hardly anyone from the area comes and fishes the river.” San Juan River Outfitter guide (and younger brother to Jeff) T.J. concurs, “Most people have never experienced it … it must be too close.” Meanwhile, Jeremiah Spradling – friend and colleague to the brothers – of High Plains Anglers, expresses his frustrations. “You talk to folks in town and they have no idea what it is all about.” Sitting down and talking to some of the most experienced guides on the San Juan River, one could only come away from the conversation with a sense of bewilderment as to why 95 percent of the clientele who fish the San Juan River come from out of town. The San Juan River stretches from Navajo Dam in Southwestern Colorado until it reaches the Colorado River at Lake Powell, some 380 miles away. The San Juan is the major water supply for the Four Corners region of New Mexico, Southern Utah and parts of Northeastern Arizona. The importance of the river as a water supply to the area is paramount, but the effect it has on economy of northwest New Mexico in other areas cannot go unnoticed. “The San Juan brings in millions of dollars of revenue to the local economy,” states Jeff Massey. “With fishermen flying in, staying at hotels, eating at local restaurants and using guides, it cannot be understated to how much business it brings in.” In fact, even when the local, state and federal economies are slow, the fishing never seems to be negatively affected. “This fishing on the San Juan will stay the same no matter the economy,” explains Spradling. “The fishing will survive … even if the local economies (oil and gas) do not.” The reason is the unique circumstances that make the San Juan River the most revered destination for trout fly fishing in the United States. With roughly four miles of controlled water flowing out of the bottom of Navajo Dam, the cold-water temperatures and controlled environment allow for a multitude of insect hatchings – supplying the area with the perfect set of circumstances for world-class trout fishing.

May 2013

Four Corners SPORTS


“There isn’t ever a bad time of the year to fish on the San Juan,” explains TJ. “We won’t fish at the end of May for a week due to a scheduled water release from the dam, but other than that it is good all year.” “We guide anywhere from 160 to 200 days a year on the river,” adds Spradling. “We nymph 12 months of the year and fish with dry flies in the summer and early fall months.”

Why are people travelling from all over the world to experience our world class “Quality Waters” and locals aren’t taking advantage of this? And how can you get involved without any equipment or knowledge of the sport of fly-fishing? “That is why you hire a guide,” comments Jeff. “We have all the equipment for people to use and we can give you the knowledge to be successful.”

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The relationship built with a local guide will also be beneficial to persons who wants to further their fishing interests.


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“Guides will also tell you what equipment you need, where to fish, and where to park so that you enjoy it on your own,” adds TJ. While the sport of fly-fishing seems like a daunting endeavor to someone that has never held a fly rod, understand that you have to start somewhere, and that somewhere is with a phone call to a local guide. “It is easier to guide a novice who has never touched a fly rod than a guy who fishes all the time,” explains TJ. “The reason is the novice has no bad habits and I can teach them the proper technique to cast and land fish. The hardest guide trips are the people that fish all the time, are set in their ways and are not open to doing it the proper way.” The moral of this story is that the local population of San Juan County needs to realize the gem that they have in their backyard – and to start taking advantage of it. By hiring a local guide, you will learn the proper way to fish, have immediate success, and have a wealth of knowledge and experience at your disposal. There is no reason not to at least give it a try. “We have been fishing this river for over 20 years,” explains Spradling. “We couldn’t imagine doing anything other than this. Fishing isn’t about catching the most fish; it is about the entire experience it offers you.

Guiding gives me the opportunity to share the experiences and allows me to teach them how to fish better.” For information on how to book your first (or next) fishing trip, contact: Jeff Massey, Trout Snouts Angling. 505.360.2390 Jeremiah Spradling, High Plains Anglers. 505.330.8654 T.J. Massey, San Juan River Outfitters. 505.486.5347

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3 IN A ROW by Rick Hoerner | photography by April Sanchez

No rest for Stout’s PV wrestling program By the time the Farmington Municipal School bus rolled out of the parking lot of the Santa Ana Star in Albuquerque at the end of the first day of state competition, the Piedra Vista Panther wrestling squad knew the blue trophy was in hand, the Panthers third consecutive class 4A team title.

Anthony Juckes kept the Panthers’ individual titles rolling at 132, giving Juckes his third consecutive state championship. this puts Juckes in a possible scenario of winning five individual titles in five years and a potential part of five team championships as well.

the Panthers did their work early, advancing 11 wrestlers to the semi-finals. “Looking back, we had enough points after the first day to win state,” said Junior 145 pounder Dillon Strunk. With the third ring halfway on their hands, the Panthers continued their onslaught.

In their past two state championships the Panthers loaded up strong at the light weights and then looked to hang on, but this year everyone contributed from top to bottom with only one weight class not pointing for the Panthers.

Jacob Palmgren got the finals going with a pin in the finals, capping off an undefeated season and giving Palmgren a rare feat of back-to-back state championships in two different states winning an individual championship in Colorado last year.


Four Corners SPoRtS

May 2013

Ryan Rino, at 152 pounds, stepped up for yet another individual state title, followed by Wyatt Hardy at 160 pounds. Hardy, who is a rare three-sport athlete for the Panthers, was also a starting defensive back for the football team and the district favorite in the 800 meters this spring.

Jacob Palmgren

Anthony Juckes

For Christian Acosta, the 2013 state championship was the triumph of a year’s work. As one of the favorites in last year’s tournament Acosta fell short of the individual title he craved. He made up for it this go around winning the title at 225 pounds, the first for PV in the upper weight classes during their championship runs. While Acosta’s redemption was completed with an individual crown, the same cannot be said for Ryan Ruybalid who lost again to Belen’s Phillip Gonzales, for the fourth consecutive year. Ruybalid did lead a host of Panthers that finished in third at state, including Sam Sandoval, Philip Archuleta, Dillon Strunk, Zach Ahlgrim and first-year heavyweight Kason Wilkinson. Wilkinson is the most unlikely of state contestants in his first year. In youth sports Wilkinson played softball, basketball and baseball, but finished his PV

Christian Acosta

career as a multi-sport athlete excelling in football, wrestling and track. With three consecutive state championships, head coach Levi Stout will undoubtedly hear the talk of dynasty in the same sentence as PV wrestling. Dynasty is a term Stout should well remember from his time wrestling in Aztec for Herb Stinson and the nationally ranked Tigers just over a decade ago. The dynasty talk will have to wait, even though some of the younger wrestlers claim they may be even better next year. There is no rest for those being chased at the front of the pack. So the young Panthers are already back to work at weekend tournaments with Strunk, Ahlgrim and Sandoval looking to reach the heights that returning teammates Juckes, Rino and Palmgren have reached; to achieve a state title and add another blue trophy to the collection.

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Photos courtesy Caysee Epaloose, Farmington High School Yearbook Staff

by Lauren Duff

Thrills, a little heartbreak made for intense season Since winning the state championships during the 2011-2012 Season, the Farmington High School Boys Varsity Soccer Team has shown dedication and hard work, earning them second overall in the state championships this past season. “I was pleased with the guy’s effort. The championship game could have gone either way and some days soccer brings great thrills and that day was a little heartbreaking but the guys played with great intensity and great fight,” said Coach Ryan Atkinson, who led the team to the state championship against Chaparral High School during his first year as FHS boys varsity soccer coach. The final score of the game was 1-0. “Considering this is my first year as head coach, I enjoyed interacting and being able to have a team that is mine and do the training the way I want to do the training,” Atkinson said, adding that he also enjoyed interacting with the players and watching them grow as individuals. The team’s overall record during the 2012-2013 Season was 12-7 overall, with a 4-0 record in District, according to Atkinson. The district teams


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May 2013

include FHS, and Piedra Vista High School in Farmington, and Aztec High School. “We had a win percentage of .632. We scored 47 goals and were scored on 22 times,” he said. One student who helped the team reach the state championship game was Omar Romero, an FHS senior who played the positions of Center and Forward. Atkinson said Romero was the top scorer on the team this season, with 12 goals and two assists. “I started playing soccer (for FHS) my sophomore year. It is sad knowing that we are leaving a team behind that meant a lot to us, but taking that extra step for me is really important because I have the opportunity to play college soccer. I have an opportunity to play soccer and practice harder and I try to encourage the younger kids to do the same,” Romero said. The two colleges at which he could play this fall season are Otero

Junior College or Trinidad Junior College. Atkinson said the second scorer this season was Senior Jeremy Klepac with nine goals and six assists. Klepac received a scholarship to play soccer at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, N.M. Juan Hernandez, FHS senior who was the team goalkeeper, said this was his first year on the varsity team. “It meant a lot to go to state my first year on varsity and making it to the finals was the greatest thing ever,” Hernandez said. “I did play all four years (in high school) and it is pretty sad it is ending, but I’m happy for what I achieved personally.” The FHS boys varsity soccer team will be losing six seniors this year. Along with going to the state championship game, FHS was also invited to play in several tournaments throughout the season, including the Albuquerque Academy Tournament and a tournament in Los Alamos. Atkinson said a memorable experience this season was when FHS played Las Cruces during the Albuquerque Academy Tournament. “I grew up in Alamogordo and played them when I was going through high school, so it was exciting to come full circle and coach against Las Cruces,” he said. Several things the team will work on for the upcoming season is a more professional training schedule and to instill a positive environment for the players. “I want to try to make sure with the boys soccer program, we have high expectations that make them want to succeed,” Atkinson said. “I’m trying to get a positive philosophy behind the boys soccer program.” The soccer team will begin voluntary training this July and tryouts for the upcoming season will be during the first month of school. “I’m looking forward to next season and I already am thinking about how to make it back to the state championships, and I hope to instill a positive mindset into these kids,” Atkinson said.

3704 E. Main Farmington

325-1857 3708 E. Main • Farmington • 326-3009

May 2013

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Photos courtesy of Shiprock High School Yearbook Staff

by Lauren Duff

Shiprock boys reestablishing ground rules, building teamwork It was a successful season for the Shiprock High School boys varsity basketball team when they made it to the semi-finals, even though they lost to Hope Christian School, a private school in Albuquerque. The team played 30 games and the overall record for the season was 24-6, according to head coach Chester Atcitty Jr., who has coached the boys varsity team for two years. The team played in the quarter finals, but was defeated by Hope Christian School with the final score being 67-49. “Making it to the semi-finals was a memorable experience,” Atcitty said. Hope Christian School won the state championship this year for high school boys varsity basketball. The Shiprock varsity players were engaged this season, playing


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May 2013

teams from all over the state including Mesilla Valley Christian school in Las Cruces, Native American Community Academy in Albuquerque, Laguna Acoma High School in New Laguna, Miyamura High School in Gallup, and Portales High School in Portales. The Shiprock boys varsity basketball team also played against teams outside of the state, such as San Juan High School in Blanding, Utah, Fabens High School in Fabens, Texas, and Ignacio High School in Colorado. Atcitty said one of the highlights from the season was playing against Ignacio. “I thought the Ignacio games were the highlight games because I expected we would come out with a win, but we lost both ball games – one by 1 point and the other by 8 points,” he said. The Shiprock boys varsity basketball team also defeated the district teams, allowing them to move towards the state playoffs. The district

the first round, Shiprock defeated Navajo Preparatory School 74-40. In the second round, Shiprock defeated the Native American Community Academy 93-48. The third round was against Laguna Acoma High School, where Shiprock lost by 59-58.

teams included Bloomfield High School, Aztec High School, Piedra Vista High School in Farmington, Farmington High School, Navajo Preparatory School in Farmington, and Kirtland Central High School. “I don’t want to be disrespectful, but I thought our competition was OK in district. We definitely get looked down on by the state in terms of what district we are in and coming out of it to be a contender, it is tough,” Atcitty explained.

There were several players who contributed to the success of the season, Atcitty said. Junior Justin Begay averaged 15 points per game and Junior Hiram Gleason averaged 12 points per game. Gleason was also the player with the most assists, averaging five assists per game. Senior Patdric Toehe had the most rebounds, averaging six rebounds per game.

The Shiprock boys varsity basketball team also was invited to four tournaments this past season. The first tournament they played in was the Webb Toyota Invitational in Kirtland. During the first round Shiprock defeated Bloomfield 79-57. In the second round, Shiprock defeated Mesilla Valley Christian 55-44. The third round was against Ignacio, where Shiprock lost by 58-57.

Senior Randall Belin said he will miss playing with the team next year, but his favorite memory from the season was “probably sitting on the bench, watching the guys play and listening to the crowd, because the fans here get really into the games,” he said.

The second tournament was the Marv Sanders Invitational in Farmington. During the first round Shiprock lost to Piedra Vista High School by 59-58. In the second round, Shiprock defeated San Juan High School from Utah 76-68. During the third round, Shiprock beat Fabens High School from Texas 67-51. The third tournament was Rumble in the Jungle in Aztec. In the first round, Shiprock lost to Ignacio by 56-47. In the second round, Shiprock defeated Fruita Monument from Colorado 67-46. In the third round, Shiprock beat Bayfield High School from Colorado 75-48.

Atcitty said he will be losing six seniors this school year. There are certain things Atcitty would like to work on for next season, such as handling the basketball and improving the player’s form when shooting. “Getting the kids to come out and work on fundamentals is my challenge. They just want to have fun but don’t always put the time in to be competitive,” Atcitty said. “We need to come back and reestablish the ground rules and keep it competitive. “I’m looking forward to next season,” he explained. “I have two veterans coming back but it will take more than two veterans to build up the teamwork.”


The fourth tournament was the New Mexico American Indian Classics. In

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Age: 55 Age started playing: 10

Years PGA Member: 30 Years at San Juan Country Club: 4

1 What got you into the game of golf? My father and my uncle introduced me to the game. My first set of golf clubs were wooden shafted! My friends at that age played golf like we all played baseball and football and basketball. We’d pretend we were our favorite golfers of that time. occasionally, we’d go to a local 9-hole executive golf course – before grade school started, riding our bikes – and would play a quick nine holes. only 25 cents to play nine holes in the late ’60s. My father always got me what I needed for golf. My mother would always see to it that I got to my tournaments, and the club we belonged to in the Milwaukee, Wis., area and subsequently the club in Michigan, before I was old enough to drive. I started playing tournament golf at age 10 in local junior tournaments in the Milwaukee area.

2 greatest junior golf memory? In 1973 I won the Michigan Junior Championship shooting 7074 at age 16. I won by 6 shots and had a 6 footer on my last hole of the first round to shoot my first ever score in the 60s. that was my first of many breakthrough moments and certainly upped the ante on my desire to play better golf.

3 top 5 greatest golf accomplishments? WoW! now that is a tough one. 1.) In 1998 I played golf with arnold palmer. Just him and me in a two-player group. We opened a course in northern Michigan together – that he built and a mutual friend of ours owned. We walked and talked our way around with about 500 invited guests and media following. Mr. palmer flew up from latrobe in the morning, gave a 45-minute warm-up golf clinic as I warmed up beside him; we played nine holes, and at the turn he gave a 30-minute interview. We played the back nine, had lunch together and he signed a few items for me and my family. a friend of mine captured the whole day on tape for me, which I have in a secret location so it does not get lost. a very memorable day. I shot 68 and Mr. palmer shot 74. he was 68 years old then.


Four Corners SportS

May 2013


head golf pro at San Juan County Club

2.) Scoring the winning point at gleneagles in Scotland to win the pga Cup matches for the u.S. team. the pga Cup is the “club professional’s” ryder Cup. My match was the only match left on the course and we needed a WIn to retain the Cup. I was two down with four holes left to european tour player bill longmuir. In driving rain and with temperatures in the 40s, I made four straight pars to win the last four holes to win the match two up. I’ve been fortunate to play on three pga Cup teams. 3.) Winning the 1993 national Club professional Championship at pga national, palm beach gardens, fla. I had a sixshot lead with four holes to go. unfortunately, I realized what I was about to accomplish and “gagged” my way thru the bear trap at pga national, finishing with three bogies on the last four holes to win by two shots. It was another breakthrough moment in my golf career coming on the heels of spending all of 1991 and most of 1992 reworking my golf swing and game! 4.) Winning my first Michigan open in 1998 with a final round 65 on the highest rated golf course in Michigan. I came from seven or eight shots back. I birdied the first playoff hole to win. In 1992 I had bogied the last two holes of regulation and bogied the playoff hole to lose what should have been my first open title. and winning the 2003 Michigan pga shooting 65-67-66 bogey free; WInnIng by nIne shots. 5.) In both 2010 and 2011, finishing 17th and 15th in the u.S. Senior opens. In 2010 I shot 66 in the 2nd round at Sahalee Country Club in Seattle to get a last group Saturday pairing with bernhard langer. unfortunately, I did not manage the moment well and finished with 75-72 on the weekend. In 2011, with my wife, Maureen, on the bag, I played even better and finished 15th. I shot 66 again in round two and played with hale Irwin on Sunday. I was as high on the leader board Sunday as 6th, but could not sustain my momentum. having Maureen with me on the course was the best. She has always been there for me, on and off the course. She is one hell of a caddie too! My best Champions tour finish was via a tournament low

round of 65, the last day of the 2008 Naples Fla., Ace Group Classic.

4 What brought you

to San Juan County Club?

The opportunity to serve the membership of San Juan Country Club. I grew up a country club “brat,” as we used to say, and I’ve always worked at private golf facilities. I enjoy the country club atmosphere!

5 Best rounds of golf

you have every played?

62 San Juan Country Club (2011) 62 Flint Golf Club, Flint Michigan (2009) 65 (twice) at the Pete Dye Stadium Club at PGA West in the 1987 National Club Professional Championship and the 1991 National Club Professional Championship 64 Final round of the 2009 Tournament of Champions, in Michigan, to win.

6 Favorite aspect of being the

Head Golf Professional at SJCC?

Interaction with the members and guests I serve! THEY ArE the reason I enjoy coming to work every day to “see what’s around the corner” for me for which I need to find a solution. I love helping them with their golf games, running the various events for all levels of golf abilities, meeting with members who need help with purchasing merchandise, or in need of a golf game on a trip. Answering rules questions or just talking golf with members on the range or in the grill. And I enjoy working with my Assistant Professionals – Joel Atson and ryan Franklin, two talented young men. I show them how to act professionally, and with passion!

7 Who would you play with

in your Dream Foursome?

My boys, Jeff & Justin, my father and Tiger! – AND THAT’S FIVE!

8 Best advice another PGA professional has every given you?

(ryder Cup site) and Hagen was the Golf Professional there. ray always told me (he was retired Pro Emeritus at Birmingham), your ability to teach and play the game drives everything else you do as a golf professional. The one thing that sets you apart as a golf professional and gives you credibility to your members is to help them play better golf and your ability to walk the walk by playing great golf. No student wants to take golf lessons from a professional they feel they might be able to beat. ray would always ask me how my game was. He said that the respect you gather through those two things, combined with your abilities to handle the other tasks of what a PGA golf professional does, ultimately will give you value to them. ray always pushed me to be a golf professional and a professional golfer!

9 The one aspect of the game that amatuers neglect that can help them the most?

Short game, without a doubt!

10 Please share a golf tip that will help the masses of readers with their game?

All good/great golf swings share one thing, and you can practice this one thing to improve your chipping and pitching the golf ball. IMPACT! The conditions of impact are: 1. The handle leads the club head and 2. The pivot of the golf swing at IMPACT is on your front leg. Those two elements properly met will produce consistent direction and distance to your shots. DrILL: Address a ball with a pitching wedge to make a full swing. Pull your back leg/foot straight back and get up on that toe like a ballerina. All the weight is now on your front leg/hip/foot. Make a half to ¾ swing and strike the golf ball with the intent that your divot will begin after the position of the golf ball on the ground. This drill will teach you balance, creating wrist hinge on the backswing and maintaining that back to impact (handle leading the club head), pivoting on the front leg for short shots as well as full swings, and keeping you from falling back onto you back leg swinging the golf club – the old “fire and fall back” swing).

Maureen’s Uncle ray Magurie. who was the Golf Professional at Birmingham Country Club, in Michigan for 37 years, was very good friends with Walter Hagen when he was the caddie master at oakland Hills


4th Annual Car and Bike Show

Saturday, May 11th at Bloomfield Days!

Live Music, Vendor and Raffle



Vehicle registration begins at 10am with a $10 registration fee Juried voted by 4 Corners Old Car Club


900 W. Broadway • Bloomfield


915 Farmington Ave • Farmington


May 2013

Four Corners SPorTS


Alex Kirk

Hugh Greenwood

Kendall Williams

Cameron Bairstow

UNFINISHED BUSINESS Craig Neal , UNM men’s basketball team working to get it done by J.P.Murrieta | courtesy photos Unfinished Business. That’s the mantra for the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team for the upcoming season. Last March looked so promising for the Lobos. The team was coming off a 29-win campaign, a regular season Mountain West title, a conferernce tournament championship in Las Vegas and the team earned a 3-seed heading into the NCAA Tournament. Many national basketball writers and broadcasters were picking the Lobos to reach the Final Four for the first time ever. Then the balloon went pop. UNM came up well short this past season after an opening game disappointment against Harvard in the NCAA Tournament. It was one-and-done and shortly after their return home, they lost their coach too. The Lobos will now try to reach their ever-elusive goal of the Sweet 16 with a new man in charge of the program.

This offseason we’ve seen something old and something new. Less than two weeks after agreeing to a 10-year extension with the school, head coach Steve Alford announced he was bolting from the ‘Bos to take the job with the Bruins. With Alford gone to UCLA, it didn’t take UNM long to find their replacement. All they had to do was look 18 inches down the bench. Their new head coach turned out to be Alford’s associate headman. UNM named Craig Neal the team’s new head coach. Neal spent the past six years as UNM’s associate head coach. He played a big role helping the program win 155 games over the last six seasons, the most successful 6-year run in school history. His new deal will pay him $750,000 annually, plus incentives, over the next five years.

May 2013

Hiring Neal gives the program stability. UNM returns four of their five starters next season. Neal recruited most of those players. The lone member of the starting five who won’t be back is Tony Snell. The junior guard decided during the offseason to forego his senior season and enter the NBA draft. Aside from Snell’s departure, the Lobos will return MWC Player of the Year Kendall Williams. KW led the Lobos in scoring with over 13 points a game, including an eye-popping 46-point effort against Colorado State where he drained 10 three-pointers. 6’11” center Alex Kirk also returns. Kirk added over 12 points a night and led the team in both rebounding (8.1) and blocks (63). He did all that after sitting out the entire 2011-12 season recovering from back surgery.

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The Lobos will also have another dose of the Twin Towers in 2013. Australian big-man Cameron Bairstow added almost 10 points a game. The 6’9� power forward/center combined with Kirk to pull down over 21 points and 14 boards per game.

a two-for-one deal. His son Cullen was released from his commitment to St. Mary’s and instead decided to play for his dad at UNM. Cullen averaged 26 points a game his senior season at Eldorado High School in Albuquerque. He helped the Eagles win the 5A title his junior year.

The upcoming roster will also include 6’3� guard Pancake Thomas, who saw action as a true freshman this year, and Kansas transfer 6’7� guard Merv Lindsey who was required to sit out last season and 6’8� forward Devon Williams who redshirted his freshman year at UNM.

In his first recruiting period as head coach, Neal also picked up 6’7� Arthur Edwards from Northwest Florida State College. He shot over 40 percent from the three-point line and will likely fill the shooting void left by Snell. Edwards will be a sophomore next season with three years of eligibility left.

Naming Neal the head coach turned out to be

So Alford left, but the cupboard is far from bare. With Craig Neal in charge of a squad that returns a majority of their scoring, the Lobos will more than likely be the pre-season Mountain West Conference favorite along with a top 25 ranking. Now Neal has a couple months to see if he can put his own stamp on a program that could get to the Sweet 16. "We have a lot of unfinished business,� said Neal the day he was hired. “We have a lot of goals and a lot of things we want to do. I'm so happy to be the coach of the New Mexico Lobos." Unfinished business. Let’s see if they can get it done.

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May 2013

Four Corners Sports Magazine May 2013  

Four Corners Sports explores and celebrates the participants, coaches, events and supporters of sports in the area.

Four Corners Sports Magazine May 2013  

Four Corners Sports explores and celebrates the participants, coaches, events and supporters of sports in the area.