content Don Vaughan puBLISHEr
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|4| Straight Ace Ethan Nguyen picked up his tennis racket and started bouncing a lime green ball in the air. It hit the racket and ﬂew in the air and the 9-year-old ﬂipped his racket over, using it to bounce the ball off the ground before hitting it in a perfect arc over the net.
| 31 | Heights Knights Slam Dunk the Heights Knights have had a brilliant run in boys’ football and basketball this year. While their football team went undefeated and won the Basin Championship, their 8th grade boys basketball team just ran the table to complete a perfect season of their own.
| 20 | Spring sports kicks off
Fish Stocking I think the most accurate description I’ve read on the essence of a river is that it’s nature’s lifework in song.
Although it has seemed like spring for most of the winter, the spring sports season kicks off this month with outdoor sports taking over for the comfort of those wearing shorts and playing inside.
| 12 | Fishing Report
| 24 | The First Tee
It seems like only yesterday when the masses were complaining about how fast the summer disappeared and the cold of winter had come upon us.
| 13 | Kingpin StorY IDEAS and pHotoS please send to email@example.com We’ve got more photos than we can use. Check out the photo gallery for each issue at www.fourcornerssports.com Majestic Media 100 W. Apache Street Farmington, NM 87401 505.516.1230 www.majesticmediausa.com 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. © 2014 Four Corners Sports magazine.
Aaron Fuller, 17, of Farmington, is one of the state’s best bowlers. He placed second overall in the singles competition at the state bowling championship in February at ten pins and More in rio rancho.
| 25 | 10 Questions with Larry Larson.
| 14 | Kirtland loses a legend Legendary Kirtland Central High School Girls’ Basketball Coach, Don Cluff, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. He was 70 years old at the time.
| 15 | Letters of intent
| 26 | Mat Dominance As piedra Vista began its run of wrestling dominance four years ago, the biggest rival in the district, and perhaps the state, was the Bloomﬁeld Bobcats.
| 32 | Editorial Column with rick Hoerner.
| 16 | 140 Strong the Heights Middle School track team is 140 students strong with a head coach who has led the program for the past 10 years.
photo by Josh Bishop.
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9-year-old Ethan Nguyen has more than 20 tournaments under his belt Story by Debra Mayeux | Photos by Josh Bishop Ethan Nguyen picked up his tennis racket and started bouncing a lime green ball in the air. It hit the racket and ﬂew in the air and the 9-year-old ﬂipped his racket over, using it to bounce the ball off the ground before hitting it in a perfect arc over the net. Nguyen, a fourth-grade student at Ladera Elementary School, was the champion in the 2014 Phoenix Junior Masters Championship for Boys 10 Singles and Doubles, sponsored by All About Tennis. He has competed in more than 20
tournaments and has come away with seven trophies for ﬁrst or second place, since he began playing the sport on a regular basis two years ago. Ethan is the son of Linh and Kim Nguyen, of Farmington, and the entire family plays tennis. His older sisters have participated in and won tournaments, and Ethan decided he wanted to follow in their footsteps. His father decided to start training his son, with the help of coaching from Pat McGrath, the girls’ tennis coach at Farmington High School.
“I WOULD LIKE TO PLAY TENNIS ALL OF THE TIME.” — ETHAN NGUYEN
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“It’s a sport you can play your whole life,” Linh said. “He can play in high school and, hopefully, in college. He can play until he’s old.” Linh enjoys the sport because it teaches the athlete a lot. “When you are playing matches, there is a lot to deal with, even when you are 9 years old,” he said. Ethan enjoys the time spent with his father, a couple of hours a day, three days a week on the court. He also has received training from Mark Saperstein at the No Quit Tennis Academy, founded by Mike Agessi in Las Vegas, Nev. “He was one of the best, and he taught me,” Ethan said of Saperstein. “He helped me improve my shots and my serve.” Ethan likes the sport of tennis, because he enjoys hitting the balls and it keeps him in shape, but there also is a competitive edge to the child. “I like getting better at tennis, because then I can win more,” he said with a huge smile. “I would like to play tennis all of the time.” Tennis has not been the only competitive sport for Ethan. He skis competitively doing moguls once or twice a season, and he has en-
“When you are playing matches, there is a lot to deal with, even when you are 9 years old.” — LINH NGUYEN tered several academic competitions. He was named to the Duke Academic Talent Search as well as the Western Academic Talent Search, and he won the Ladera Elementary School Spelling Bee championship three years in a row – in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades. But when he had to choose between competing at the District Spelling Bee or going to a tennis meet, he chose tennis. “His goal is go to the Southwest Zonal Meet,” Linh said. Ethan, however, would have to compete against older tennis players, and only the top 12 in the state go to the national meet. He knows that to get there he has to keep practicing, and that is Ethan’s plan. This well-rounded youth has big plans for his future. When he grows up he wants to attend Harvard Medical School and be a cancer doctor, just like his dad.
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Story by Cindy Cowan Thiele | Photos by Josh Bishop
NM Game and Fish adds 1,250 rainbow trout to San Juan River I think the most accurate description I’ve read on the essence of a river is that it’s nature’s lifework in song.
world renowned and consistently ranks as one of this country’s top-10 ﬂy ﬁshing destinations.
No matter what part of the country, or how big the river, the sound and feel of a river’s music is universal. The rhythm of the water instantly instills a sense of tranquility that somehow slows down time and makes you grateful for that moment and sad for those who never get to experience it.
Our state understands the value lakes brings to New Mexico’s economy and consistently works to improve the habitat of the lakes.
Standing by the San Juan River, I understand the hold ﬂy ﬁshing has over people and why they consider it a passionate lifelong pursuit.
In early February, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish stocked the San Juan River with 1,250 2 lb, 15” to 19” rainbow trout. The ﬁsh were grown at the Los Ojos Hatchery near Chama.
I can also see how lucky we are to live near some of the most treasured trout ﬁshing waters in North America.
They were released in the bait ﬁshing, or catch and keep, area of the river by the pump house station according to Marc Wethington, San Juan River ﬁsheries biologist for the Department of Game and Fish.
The San Juan River’s Quality Waters, starting just below Navajo Dam, is
The location was chosen because, with the road closed due to inclement
weather, it will give the ﬁsh time to adjust to their new surroundings and give them time to grow and ﬁnd a spot on the lake to call home. He explained that the state usually stocks the river around April each year for the larger trout; however, drought conditions changed the schedule. “We got some extra ﬁsh and it’s because there’s a lack of places to stock ﬁsh. We had lots of water and some areas (other rivers) were just not stockable. There’s a point at the hatchery where you have to get rid of some of them, so we got some extra ﬁsh. Our water is always cold and meets the criteria for stocking,” Wethington said. Annually, 260,000 small rainbow trout are stocked in New Mexico lakes from November 1 through March 31 each year.
Allen Adkins, maintenance manager for Navajo Lake State Park releases rainbow trout into the San Juan River on Feb. 6.
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The smaller trout, referred to as catchables, are from 9” to 13” and about 60,000 a year are put into the water below the dam.
“If they’re traveling to the lake for a three-to-ﬁve-day trip, they want to spend that time at the river and not delayed by bad weather,” Massey said.
The ﬁrst three mile of the San Juan River below Navajo Dam is designated as a Catch and Release or C&R area. All ﬁsh must be returned to the river regardless of size and the single barbless hook rule is in effect. It is also stocked yearly.
This year our mild winter also kept the river busier than usual, according to Massey. “Any time you have a nice click of weather you’ll have people from Colorado, Albuquerque and locals out,” Wethington said.
Wethington said once the small trout are introduced into the lake they will grow 3” to 4” a year, and they have plenty of food. “From the base of the dam down 10 to 15 miles the food base is quite productive. It changes over the course of those 15 miles, but food resources are not a limiting factor in the San Juan,” he said. In the remaining 3.5 miles of the quality section of the river is the bait ﬁshing or catch and keep area. The bag limit is 5 ﬁsh with no size and no tackle restriction. Another attribute of the San Juan River is that the ﬁshing never stops.
Both Massey and Wethington agree that this year is stacking up to be a very good ﬂy ﬁshing season. “The San Juan is one of the places where people can actually catch ﬁsh year-round. The catch and release and the catch and keep section – we have ﬁshermen every day, 365 days a year,” Wethington said. T.J. Massey, owner of San Juan River Outﬁtters, said that in the winter there are a lot of local people and ﬁshermen from Albu-
querque and Colorado. Massey added that area ﬁshermen like to ﬁsh in the winter when the river isn’t as crowded. He said there aren’t many destination trips in the winter because people from across the country are less likely to be interested in taking a long trip just to get stranded at an airport.
“I do anticipate a very good season. We have been stocking ﬁsh early this year with supplemental ﬁsh,” Wethington said. “When people get out there they will ﬁnd there are quite a few ﬁsh to catch in the San Juan.” “There’ve been some great habitat improvements and extra stocking, so it’s gonna be a great year,” Massey said.
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Fishing REPORT Current ﬂows on the San Juan River are 318cfs. Visibility is roughly 3 feet deep and improving weekly. Fishing has been very good in the Quality Waters section. The bite has been the best between the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. With the recent weather changes, the midge and Baetis hatches have been abundant in most sections of the river. Some of the hot combos to try are: Size 22 red larvae trailed by a size 22 tan Big Mac midge. Size 18 cream colored egg trailed by a size 22 black zebra midge. Other techniques to try are dry ﬂy ﬁshing and streamer ﬁshing. The best streamer sizes and colors are the following: Size 10 black wooly buggers and size 10 olive wooly buggers. Also size 10 white rabbit hair leaches. As for the hot dry ﬂies to try, a size 22 Parachute Adams and a size 20 Grifﬁths Gnat should do the job. Fishing below the quality waters has been fair. Night crawlers and red salmon eggs have been the most successful bait to try. Remember to have fun and keep your line tight!
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T.J. Massey San Juan River Outﬁtters www.sanjuanriveroutﬁtters.com 505.486.5347
Story and photo by Debra Mayeux Aaron Fuller, 17, of Farmington, is one of the state’s best bowlers. He placed second overall in the singles competition at the state bowling championship in February at Ten Pins and More in Rio Rancho. Fuller beat out a fellow bowler, who has a scholarship to play for UNM, and for his win he received a $425 scholarship to the college of his choice. He plans to attend San Juan College and continue bowling. Fuller began bowling with his family when he was 5 years old. He joined the Farmington High School bowling team in 2012 and was the ﬁrst male from this area to win at a state championship meet. The FHS bowling program began ﬁve years ago and has 17 members, who play singles or on teams of ﬁve. It is a coed sport, and one that promotes teamwork. The FHS players practice with the Piedra Vista High School team, and the two high schools travel to meets together. “It is one of the few sports where we all get along,” said Tyson Uselman, bowling coach at FHS. Uselman, who took over the program last year, has been slowly getting the word out about the bowling program, as he tries to build the team. “I bowled some in tournaments in college, and they were looking for someone to take it [the coaching] over,” he said, adding the season typically begins with 40 students, but then the numbers drop. “Some of the kids don’t realize how competitive it is, and how many people are in the tournaments,” Uselman said. The state tournaments have upwards of 800 people participating. “It was pretty packed,” Fuller said. The tournaments typically are in Albuquerque, but this year one was played at Bowlero Lanes, where the high school teams practice and receive coaching tips from owner Chad Franks. “He really helps us out and takes time out of his schedule to help instruct the students,” Uselman said. The practice and instruction helped Fuller go from an average score of 140 to 160 this year. He also went from bowling on weekends with his family to bowling four times a week with the high school team. “He put a lot of effort into making himself better,” Uselman said of Fuller. And the FHS senior has some bowling tips for anyone who might want to participate in the sport. “Have good posture. Keep square and make sure your arms are straight and not behind your back,” he said. “I worked to make sure I hit my mark every time.” Fuller added that he not only enjoys the competition and the sport, he likes the fact that it can be social. “You end up knowing a lot of people and talking to a lot of people,” he said.
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Don Cluff devoted 38 years to Shiprock, Kirtland girls’ basketball Story by Tom Yost Legendary Kirtland Central High School Girls’ Basketball Coach, Don Cluff, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. He was 70 years old at the time. Coach Cluff was with the Central Consolidated School District as a teacher and a coach for 38 years – 10 years at Shiprock and 28 at Kirtland Central High School. His passion for the education of the community youth was ap-
parent in how successful he was both as a teacher and as a coach.
back to the championship game in 1988, narrowly missing out on a ninth straight title.
Coach Cluff was both head basketball coach and assistant basketball coach for the Lady Broncos in their dynasty years. He led the Lady Broncos as head coach in 1986 and 1987 as part of the ﬁnal two years of the famed eight straight state championships from 1980 until 1987. Coach Cluff also led the Lady Broncos
the basketball court at Kirtland Central High School is appropriately named Don Cluff Court. Coach Cluff was a valued member of the Kirtland community and will be missed by so many of those whose lives he inﬂuenced over the years.
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PV athletes sign letters of intent Zhianna Flores signs with the University of Memphis to run on their track team next year. Flores was part of Piedra Vista’s track team that ﬁnished third in last year’s state meet and the current champion in the 300 hurdles and the 200 meters. She goes into this season as the favorite for high point total at any meet in which she competes. Zhianna chose Memphis for the opportunities the university has given her and a chance to live in a big city
Piedra Vista cross-country runner Timberlin Henderson has signed a letter of intent to compete at Western Colorado in Gunnison. Henderson was second overall in the district and helped in leading the Panthers to a clean sweep and perfect score in district. Tim ﬁnished 9th at the state meet, pacing the Panthers to the awards podium and a third place trophy. The Mountaineers are one of the elite programs in Division II, ﬁnishing 4th at Nationals after winning the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
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Track program fosters ﬁtness, good grades and great competitors Story by Debra Mayeux | Photos by Josh Bishop
The Heights Middle School track team is 140 students strong with a head coach who has led the program for the past 10 years. Language arts instructor Wayne Leupold began coaching track in 2002, when former athletic director Dennis Diehl asked him to join Sherri Archuleta in coaching the team. In their ﬁrst year, the girls won the Basin championship. Two years later Leupold took over the program as head coach and has worked to build participation in the sport. “I talk to a lot of kids about doing track when I see them in the halls,” Leupold said. “Since track has a variety of events, we normally can ﬁt everybody into an event.” He decorates the school’s walls with posters encouraging students to keep their grades up, so they can join track. The posters go up six months before the program begins in the spring. He changes the posters monthly, reminding students that track is approaching.
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Leupold has enjoyed coaching track, because it gives him an opportunity to experience student success in sports. “Track is good for everyone, even if a kid isn’t the best athlete,” he said. “After 2 1/2 months of track practice, all of our kids are in much better shape than when they started, so it’s good for all of them.” And the track program attracts a wide variety of students, from those who don’t normally participate in sports to those who are involved in all different types of athletics. Luke Stoltzfus, 14, participates in track so he can get in shape for Farmington High School soccer. Leupold’s strict coaching helps the students get in shape and stay in shape. “He pushes us hard. He motivates us and makes things clear, very clear,” Stoltzfus said. “He’s really competitive.” Briana Rogers, 13, agreed that the program’s focus is getting kids into shape. “Track puts you in a ﬁt place,” she said, adding there is a nutrition component as well. “They teach us to eat more healthy so we can have energy.” Rogers, who was a soccer player, said she enjoys the program and hopes to learn to pole vault. “It looks fun. I think I’ll like it, because I’m in the air,”
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she said. “I will deﬁnitely continue track through high school.” She enjoys running and is looking forward to the team’s ﬁrst meet. “I like full-on games,” Rogers said.
Despite the rule change, Leupold said his team is on the right track. “I think we’ll be in the running for Basin titles with our boys and our girls,” he said. The boys won last year, and several of those athletes returned, plus the school received new transfers from Mesa View Middle School.
“Our girls have been Basin champions twice in the past six years,” Leupold said. “With the (school) district realignment, we now have several members of Mesa View’s 2013 Basin champion girl’s team here at Heights to everyone, even if a kid isn’t combine with our returners from last year.”
J.J. Tiznado, 14, has enjoyed track with Leupold’s guidance. “He’s a good coach. If you’re not doing it right, he tells you, and he encourages you,” Tiznado said, of the head coach. Leupold pointed out that while he is the head coach, his focus in on pole vault and long distance. He has been joined by four other coaches this year. They are Rick Lopez, sprint, relay and long jump coach; Stephanie McDonald, sprints, relay and pole vault coach; Sandra Ramos- Aparicio, hurdles and high jump coach; and Eric Robinson, shot put and discus coach.
“Track is good for the best athlete. After 2 1/2 months of track practice, all of our kids are in much better shape than when they started, so it’s good for all of them..” — Wayne Leupold Head Coach
This year, the rules for long distance change. The New Mexico Activities Association decided to limit middle school runners to 1,600 meters, instead of 3,200 meters as it had been in the past. “We hope to add another distance run this year and then have the 3,200 reinstated next year,” Leupold said.
The Heights team has the top girl returners in the Basin in the 100-, 200-, 400-, and 800-meter dashes and the 1,600-meter run. “That’s a good nucleus to build from, and that’s not even counting the seventh-graders who are in their ﬁrst year of track,” Leupold said.
The track season just began, so Leupold and the other coaches have been working to build up the team of 140 students, while also trying to maintain that number and build some quality athletes. “One of the pluses of having a lot of students come out for track is every year you ﬁnd diamonds in the rough, kids who didn’t know they were good at something until they tried it,” Leupold said.
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AngelAMINJAREZ Aztec High School
local teams have dominated state for a decade Story by Rick Hoerner | Photos by Josh Bishop Although it has seemed like spring for most of the winter, the spring sports season kicks off this month with outdoor sports taking over for the comfort of those wearing shorts and playing inside. Over the past decade District 1AAAA has been the leader of spring sports championships in the state with state champions in softball, baseball, girls’ tennis, boys’ track, and girls’ track in the last two years alone. This season may be no different, as the local schools will battle it out again on the ﬁeld and on the track.
Softball Might as well start at the top. The Piedra Vista Panthers enter the season with the pressure of eight straight state AAAA championships on their shoulders. The Panthers’ winning streak has been impressive to say the least, but the whole district is on their heals. Aztec has been the state runners-up in backto-back years and Farmington has been a ﬁnal-four contender annually. This may be the year the Panthers step back to the pack with no one waiting to ﬁll Krissy Fortner’s shoes in
the circle. Both Aztec and Farmington return starting pitching and will be right there in the mix come May. At Kirtland Central, the Broncos look to make a push in a very tough district. Predictions: 1. Piedra Vista 2. Aztec 3. Farmington 4. Kirtland Central
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Baseball Since PV joined Farmington in district 1aaaa in 2000, the district championship has run through ricketts Park. Both Farmington and PV have multiple state championships since the merger, playing each other for the championship several times. nothing should change in the district this year, as two games at ricketts Park should determine a district champion and a higher seed at the state championships. Both teams will throw out a little less experience on the mound this year, but both squads reload well. aztec will continue to battle with an undermanned squad compared to the two favorites. Kirtland Central welcomes a new coach this year, with hopes of improvement, but it would take a massive leap for the Broncos to compete in the district this year. Predictions: 1. Piedra Vista 2. Farmington 3. aztec 4. Kirtland Central
Boys’ Track Both the state champs and the state runner up reside here in San Juan County as PV took its ﬁrst state title in May with Farmington closely behind. gone from both squads are their leading point men in PV’s Zach Johnson and Farmington’s Jeremy Klepac, but both should remain strong. PV will have to count on defending state javelin champion Beau Clafton and a strong showing from their distant runners to get back on the platform this year. For Jeff Dalton’s Scorpion squad, they will need strong performances from the same guys that brought a speedy Scorpion football team a state title. Predictions: 1. Farmington 2. Piedra Vista 3. aztec 4. Kirtland Central
MorganSMITH aztec High School
ers who may make the difference.
aztec completed the clean 4a sweep for San Juan County at last year’s state championships, with PV ﬁnishing in third. Both will return strong squads this year, with Piedra Vista having the best individual performer in Memphis University signee Zhianna Flores who again should dominate the sprints. aztec has great depth and is dominant in ﬁeld events. This means it could come down to distance runners and throw-
Predictions: 1. aztec 2. Piedra Vista 3. Kirtland Central 4. Farmington
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Tennis The tennis district, which loses aztec and Kirtland Central but adds Miyamura, Grants, Gallup and Belen, has been led by the Farmington boys and girls with everyone else trying to play catch-up. PV’s girls have narrowed the gap with Farmington, but it’s still the Scorpions’ district to lose. On the boys’ side, Farmington is still the team to beat and PV is young and inexperienced. Once again the Scorpion tennis teams should contend at state, trying to overtake academy. Predictions: 1. Farmington 2. Piedra Vista 3. Grants 4. Belen
Golf The split golf season already has yielded positive results for a couple of local teams. Piedra Vista’s boys and Kirtland Central’s girls have already scored their qualifying legs for state. The district championships will be hosted at Piñon Hills in May.
BeauCLAFTON Piedra Vista High School
Boys’ Predictions: 1. Piedra Vista 2. Kirtland Central 3. Farmington 4. aztec Girls’ Predictions: 1. Kirtland Central 2. aztec 3. Piedra Vista
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THE FIRST TEE
Great weather gives you a chance get a head start on golf season It seems like only yesterday when the masses were complaining about how fast the summer disappeared and the cold of winter had come upon us. Well, I might just be getting older, but it seemed the winter months flew by just as fast. Is it 2015 yet? Just kidding. march is upon us and the weather for most of the winter has been spectacular. Unfortunately, when that happens, the area usually pays for it in a big way come the middle to end of the summer. With that being said, most of you have blown the dust off the sticks and have made your way out to enjoy the mild temperatures of February. In hopes of getting an early start to the season, let me offer some advice to get you in a good spot for your best golfing season, ever. 1) take a good look at your equipment and do a bit of self-analysis. this might involve replacing your worn out grips, changing the spikes that have become part of the sole of your golf shoe or purchasing some new golf balls. the major component of the equipment check is to make sure that you are getting the most out of your set. Do you still have a 2, 3- or 4-iron in the bag? If so, it is time to purchase a hybrid or two to replace those antiques. Do
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tomYOST the First tee you have enough wedges in your bag? most amateurs only carry a pitching wedge and a sand wedge, while most professionals carry 3 to 4 wedges in their golf bags. the idea is to maximize your enjoyment by having clubs that will work for you and not against you. 2) Schedule a golf lesson or two to shake off the rust and get you in the proper mode to perform at your best. many players either head to the driving range or head to the course in an attempt to self-analyze their short-comings. Spend your money wisely this year and get some professional help to set you on the proper path. many times it is a fundamental adjustment that will get you back hitting it at your best. the problem is that when players try to fix things themselves, they usually compound the error and take something they were doing correctly and ingrain an incorrect motion â€“ thus causing further damage. 3) Strengthen your weaknesses outside of your short game. Wait just a minute â€“ everyone says to practice the short game and putting to lower your scores. the short game is a very important component of the game of golf, but usually mid-to-higher handicap players will benefit from hitting their driver and longer hybrids/irons better than they will by trying to improve their short game. When players hit their woods short and sideways, the number of strokes lost tends to be higher than those lost by bad chips or missed 10foot putts. Keeping the golf ball in play off the tee and getting the ball on the green (or
around it) in regulation will lower your scores much faster than if you spend all your time on the practice green. 4) Keep a log for your practice sessions. I would recommend keeping a small notebook in your vehicle and taking about five minutes after a round or practice session to journal. this journal can be brief thoughts about how you hit the ball, what you need to work on, statistics you kept during the round, etc. the point of the journal is to write things down when they are fresh in your mind so that you donâ€™t forget about them when you go practice the next time out. these journal sessions are great for identifying strengths and weaknesses as well as for allowing you to formulate a plan for your game going forward. 5) Finally, work on your golf swing at the driving range and play golf on the course. Nothing good comes of players that have 12 swing thoughts in their head when they step to the first tee. Forget about your swing while you are playing golf and focus instead on where you want the golf ball to go. Work on your swing mechanics and thoughts when you are practicing. I hope you are already taking the time to enjoy this beautiful winter weather. Use it to get ready for when the courses are lush green and the temps are constantly above 60 degrees!
Boys’ tennis coach at Farmington High School.
How long have you been the Farmington High School Boys tennis coach? this is season 38 with the boys’ tennis team. Earlier, I coached 10 years of junior high football and basketball. Why have you dedicated so many years of your life to this sport? During my early years I kept thinking that each year would be my last, but I kept having good student-athletes and it’s been fun!! there is a long tradition of excellence in the Farmington High tennis program.
Would you share some of your most memorable moments? I am very proud of the success FHS tennis has had. Highlights have included the singles state championship and the several state doubles titles. However, since we have started playing for a real state team title, our successes there also have been very satisfying.
What makes for a good tennis player? A person must have good eye-hand coordination and be willing to hit lots and lots of balls.
What types of values, outside of the game, do you instill in the players? our players at FHS believe in fair play. We try to take responsibility for our actions. It is tough, since they always call their own lines and have to get along with rivals. Line calling can be very difﬁcult.
Your children were involved in high school tennis and have gone on to have careers in tennis. Could you tell us about them?
My son Darryl is a tennis pro in Fort Worth, texas. He was on the FHS team for ﬁve years and our top player from the time he was a freshman. Alyssa is working part time at tanoan Country Club in Albuquerque as a tennis pro. She also was a ﬁve-year letter person on our girls’ team. She played number one sophomore year through senior year. they both played junior college tennis at Seward County Country Club in Liberal, Kan. Alyssa got to play in the Junior College National tournament for two years.
You and Coach pat McGrath provide summer camps for future tennis players. At what age should a child start playing tennis?
As soon as a child can control the racket and hit the ball they can start. It depends so much on the development of each child. My son could hit the ball well at the age of 4.
How important is parent involvement for the success of the players?
our program has enjoyed very positive parent involvement and I think that has been a big plus in keeping it going.
Do you have any advice for someone who would like to begin playing tennis?
Just ﬁnd a friend who will start with you. It helps to have someone to do things with. Hit lots of balls, and have fun. If it’s not fun, don’t do it.
tennis is often considered to be a lifelong sport. Could you tell us why? the UStA has tournaments for people up into their 80s. It is something you can enjoy as long as your body holds out.
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Piedra Vista, Bloomﬁeld state 4A and 3A state wrestling champs Story by Rick Hoerner | Photos by Curtis Ray Benally
As Piedra Vista began its run of wrestling dominance four years ago, the biggest rival in the district, and perhaps the state, was the Bloomﬁeld Bobcats. this year they both stand as state champions, Bloomﬁeld the 3A state champions and Piedra Vista the 4A state champions for the fourth consecutive year.
wrestling, with the last title coming nearly three decades ago. the Bobcats used a strong overall team effort where all 14 wrestlers contributed to that effort with a 203 points total, edging out Cobre at 191.5. Bloomﬁeld was led by Levi Whitely at 113 lbs. and troy rightmire at 145, who claimed individual championships.
For Bloomﬁeld, it has been a long time coming for a state championship in
Whitely, who is only a freshman, set the tone for the championship day defeating
Cobre’s 113 head to head before defeating taos wrestler Christoval Valerio. rightmire saw a familiar face in Shiprock’s raygen Charley in the 145 ﬁnals and won a close decision 2-1. Jacob Spencer, JD robinson, Paul Jaramillo and Lorenzo LaMere ﬁnished second in the championship round for Bloomﬁeld. the Bobcat’s depth was the key, as Cobre and Las Vegas’ robertson ﬁnished with more individual champions, but could not overtake Bloomﬁeld.
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For Piedra vista, the state tournament was the end to another year of high expectations for what has become the premier program in New Mexico within any class. By Saturday morning there was little doubt that the Panthers had wrapped up the team title. The Panthers continued
LeviWHITLEY Bloomﬁeld High School
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their run on Saturday placing 10 wrestlers in the ﬁnals out of a possible 14 positions in the ﬁnals. By the end of the day the Panthers blew out the competition on their way to a fourth straight title, putting up a total of 323.5 points with their nearest competitor, Belen, at 178.5
Individually, ﬁve of the ten wrestlers in the ﬁnals won championships, beginning with Philip Archuleta at 120 lbs. followed by Sam Sandoval at 126. Ryan Rino returned to the winner’s circle at 138 lbs. after winning at 145 last year. Anthony Jukes won his fourth title – in four years, in four different weight classes – taking the win at 145. Zach Ahlgrim ﬁnished up the individual titles for the Panthers taking the title at 220 lbs. Farmington’s tier-
AnthonyJUCKES Piedra Vista high School
ney Staley took individual honors as well as winning the 182 lb. class. Runner ups for the Panthers included Jacob Palmgren, who lost his ﬁrst match in the state of new Mexico in the ﬁnals, Wes Rayburn at 113, Dillon Strunk at 152, Wyatt Weaver at 160 and Aaron Rino at 170. Scorpion wrestler Cesar haro placed
* Wrestling 34
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Boys’ basketball team puts up perfect 17-0 season story by Tom Yost | photos by Josh Bishop the Heights Knights have had a brilliant run in boys’ football and basketball this year. While their football team went undefeated and won the Basin Championship, their 8th grade boys’ basketball team just ran the table to complete a perfect season of their own. “It’s been a blessing to be able to coach this team,” explained Assistant Coach Jeff Graham. “As a coach, you couldn’t ask for a better group of boys. they know what it takes to achieve their goals and they are willing to put in the extra time and work to become the best they can. the sky is the limit for these guys and I am just lucky to be a part of it.” Head Coach Lee Marret, assisted by Jeff Graham and Donnie Pigford, led a team that has not lost a game in the past two years. As 7th graders, this team went 17-0 – only to complete a perfect 17-0 season as 8th graders. Executing a relentless full court trapping press, the Knights assembled an impressive line of statistics throughout the season: their closest game was a 15-point win, their largest margin of victory was a 56 point win, their highest point total was 77, and their highest points allowed game was 44.
“Some mornings it would be below freezing and we would ask the boys to go on jogs through the neighborhoods, up hills and sand washes – as a team,” said Graham. “Not too many teenage boys do that kind of stuff on Saturday mornings. And that’s why we were able to do what we did game in and game out.”
PLAYERS ON THE TEAM: No. 3 Brendan Anderson • No. 4 Christian Chavez No. 5 Alex Kuhn • No. 10 Adrian Stevens No. 11 Grant Bessey • No. 13 Cobi Haston No. 14 Brady Brown • No. 22 Deylan Pigford No. 23 Cody McGaha • No. 24 Jacob Brown No. 32 Isreal Murray • No. 44 Jarrett Graham
“We were very big and fast so it made it hard to pass over the top of us,” said Graham. “We were all over the court forcing turnovers, steals, and causing havoc … it was fun to watch. Most teams struggled to get the ball past half court.” the Knights 8th grade boys’ basketball team completed their season with a 57-22 win against Shiprock to win the Basin Championship. “our focus wasn’t on any other team, it was on taking care of ourselves,” explained Graham. We knew if we could keep our mental side of the game together that we would be oK. I think that showed during our performance in the Basin tourney where we scored 192 points and only gave up 66 points.” In fact, of their 34 wins in the past two seasons, 31 of those were by more than 20 points. “Most of the boys have been playing basketball together since the third or fourth grade,” said Graham. “You could tell these guys were going to be good at a young age – not only with their physical ability but with their competitiveness with each other at practice. they push each other to get better.” And the push to get better is a credit that goes entirely to the young men on this team. the coaching staff asked a lot of them, with intense workouts and preparation to become more mentally tough.
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Once again Arizona misses the point Oh Arizona, will you ever learn? Last month the state legislature of Arizona ick OERNER passed Senate Bill Editorial columnist 1062, a proposal that Arizona businesses could refuse service based on religious or moral objections. Or as the center for Arizona Policy, the group that wrote the bill, calls it The Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Apparently Arizona politicians learned nothing from the Martin Luther king holiday debacle in 1989. in 1983, Republican icon Ronald Reagan signed the bill creating the Martin Luther king Jr. holiday and democratic governor Bruce Babbitt
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issued an executive order creating the national holiday in Arizona, but the legislature voted the order down. In 1990 the NFL owners awarded the Super Bowl to Tempe under the guidelines that Arizona vote for the ballot initiative to create the holiday. Arizona didn’t and the NFL responded pulling the game from Tempe and awarding it to Pasadena. Amazingly, after seeing the economic damage that losing the Super Bowl – as well as a musicians’ boycott led by Stevie Wonder – would cause, Arizona relented and was given Super Bowl XXX. Now Arizona is up again for Super Bowl XLIX – 49 for those of you that have not had Roman numerals since grade school. Once again the NFL threatened to remove the game on their objection to SB 1062 and again Arizona gives in. Here is my problem with the whole situation. Everyone talks about the economic consequences instead of the fact that this discriminatory bill is absolutely wrong. IN vetoing the bill, Governor Brewer stated she would do what’s best for Arizona, Senator John McCain lobbied for the veto based solely on economics and job growth, as did business organizations throughout the state. But where is the cry from our public servants and business leaders that this is not just ﬁnancially wrong, but morally wrong? One can hide this any way they choose, but this bill is absolutely discriminatory. Period. If the Center for Arizona Policy is so worried about their moral values, where is the bill allowing for businesses to stop service on other violations of the Holy Book? Where is the law that allows businesses not to serve people who commit adultery or use the Lord’s name in vain? After all, those are in the Ten Commandments and there seems to be
no outcry from Chick-ﬁl-A or Hobby Lobby, simply because enforcement of all the laws in the Bible would mean no customers. So it is pure discrimination on one group, with which you disagree, over another. Also, there must be a consideration of where this ends. Can a teacher decide not teach a gay student? Can a bus driver block access based solely on a moral code? Would Michael Sam or Jason Collins not be allowed to visit certain businesses in Arizona while their teams are playing there? As a former season ticket holder to the Arizona Cardinals and someone who loves spring training baseball and the Phoenix Suns, it is becoming increasingly more difﬁcult to spend my money in Arizona. In my professional life they have blocked a holiday celebrating the civil rights leader of a generation, have asked people of my hue to carry identiﬁcation proving who they are, and now are trying to ban services to friends and family. Simply providing a service to individuals or groups with whom one does not morally agree is not a violation of religious self-determination. Serving others in no way violates your freedom to worship as you choose. These arguments of a forced change of values were the same that were made against Jackie Robinson in 1947 or against the Little Rock Nine in 1957. They were on the wrong side of history then as they are now. Now I am no expert in religious matters, but I did hear somewhere to love your neighbors as yourself and something about judging lest ye be judged. If Arizona is looking to stand on moral high ground, this may be a good place to start. As bad as things can get here in New Mexico, at least we are not Arizona.
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Wrestling continued from 29 second at 190 while Kirtland’s Keishaun Aspaas also placed second, losing to district rival Sam Sandoval at 126. Senior Jacob Palmgren credits the team’s closeness and commitment as the driving force behind the Panthers’ success. “Our wrestling partners push each other. We see exceptional competition every day.” State champ Philip Archuleta agrees with Palmgren. “Iron sharpens iron,” says Archuleta, “We practice against the best every day from top to bottom in our program.” PV’s drive for next ﬁve seasons seems to be off and running already. The Panthers will return six of the ten wrestlers who wrestled for a state championship, including state champions Anthony Juckes, Sam Sandoval, Zach Ahlgrim and Archuleta. For Juniors Sandoval and Ahlgrim, coaching is the key to the Panthers’ success, “Our coaches are committed to making us better every day,” said Sandoval. Ahlgrim added, “The expectations to win are high. We’ve beaten the best two teams in 5A
The Piedra Vista Wrestling Team members were honored by a Farmington School Board for their accomplishments.
over the past two seasons. I believe we are the best team in any class.” The Panthers’ conﬁdence and work ethic will make them a favorite again next year when
wrestling rolls around. “The formula is simple,” says Palmgren. “As long as you’re in the winner’s bracket you wrestle for yourself. Once you lose, you wrestle for the team. The team succeeds when individual goals are achieved.”
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FOUR CORNERS FASTPITCH ASSOCIATION
OPENING CEREMONIES April 26 • 10 a.m. Ricketts Softball Fields
GIRLS SOFTBALL REGISTRATION Register online: www.FourCornersFastPitch.com USSSA Four Corners Fastpitch Association
FCFA SOFTBALL TOURNAMENTS KATHY ROUSE TOURNAMENT May 23 - 25, 2014
NORTH SOUTH TOURNAMENT
SUMMER BLAST TOURNAMENT
USSSA STATE TOURNAMENT
June 6 - 8, 2014
June 27 - 29, 2014
July 11 - 13, 2014