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content Don Vaughan PuBlISHER

Cindy Cowan Thiele EDITOR

Tom Yost Rick Hoerner Debra Mayeux Ben Brashear CONTRIBuTING WRITERS

|4| Athletes of the Year It is time we say goodbye to a class of seniors who have performed incredibly well this prep year. This week we award Majestic Media’s Athletes of the Year, which comes with a huge reward of one big “attaboy‘” and one big “attagirl ”

|8| Fuel Up


One year in existence, the FuEl (Farmington united for Exceptional legacy) Swimming and Diving Club is making extraordinary strides for local participants.

Suzanne Thurman DESIGNER

Shelly Acosta Clint Alexander Aimee Velasquez SAlES STAFF For advertising information Call 505.516.1230

| 12 | Heights teams win Basin title in 3 sports

STORY IDEAS and PHOTOS Please send to We’ve got more photos than we can use. Check out the photo gallery for each issue at Majestic Media 100 W. Apache Street Farmington, NM 87401 505.516.1230 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.

in the state

Over the past decade the spring sport seasons in District 1AAAA have been particularly dominant in team sports that are played on a diamond – and continue to do so today – but lately the other spring sports have joined the party.

Heights Middle School is sending strong athletes to the area high schools next year, as the school ended the 2013-2014 school years with three Basin Championships.

| 14 | Prep Sports School of the Year

| 26 | Most dominant district

Once again it’s time to select the overall Prep Sports School of the Year with the district schools trying to unseat Piedra Vista, who has held the overall crown the previous three years.

| 30 | 10 Questions with Sheila Mobley.

| 32 | State 4A Golf Championship

| 18 | Endurance Racer Dustin Partridge, 33, leads me out of his kitchen toward his backyard and his homemade obstacle-training course. His home sits nestled in between the tall riparian grasses of the Animas River Valley and its high Dakota Sandstone cliffs.

| 23 | Editorial column

The Four Corners did not send many players down to the NMAA Class 4A State Golf Championships at the university of New Mexico South Course, but the ones they did send represented the area well.

| 33 | Fishing Report | 14 | The First Tee

by Rick Hoerner

There is still plenty of time to get your son/daughter registered for The First Tee of San Juan County, N.M. summer programs taking place throughout the county.

| 24 | Cheer, dance competition little Kristiana lewis is always dancing. Whenever she hears music – in the car, the grocery store, on television – her feet start tapping and her body starts moving.


Photo by Josh Bishop

June 2014

Four Corners SPORTS


MorganSMITH aztec High School

TierneySTALEY Farmington High School


Four Corners SporTS

June 2014

Multi-sport winners show focus, determination Story by Rick Hoerner | Photos by Josh Bishop It is time we say goodbye to a class of seniors who have performed incredibly well this prep year. This week we award Majestic Media’s Athletes of the Year, which comes with a huge reward of one big “attaboy‘” and one big “attagirl ” The criteria for Athletes of the Year are quite simple. • First, you must be a graduating senior. • Second, you have to be a three-sport yearlong athlete. • Third, you have to be a contributing member in all three sports. Now I realize this takes out a lot of qualified athletes, such as Beau Clafton, a state champion in track and an important clog in the Piedra Vista football team; or Kaleigh Graham, the district’s Player of the Year in basketball and a state champion track athlete; or high point track athlete Sarah Root from Aztec, who

is only a junior. The list will probably contain athletes you may know and also some you normally don’t hear a lot about, athletes who are a dying breed, representing their school all year long. This year’s recipients remained constant for the first time after falling in numbers for the past four years with 14 multi-sport athletes.

GIRLS’ ATHLETE OF THE YEAR The girls’ Athlete of the Year is Aztec’s Morgan Smith. Morgan was a member of the two-time state champion Lady Tigers track team winning the pole vault title both years. Morgan was also a member of the Tigers soccer team that finished as state runners-up for the past two falls. On the basketball court, Smith was the only real offensive threat for rebuilding a Tigers basketball team. As a freshman, Smith was seriously pushing the envelope in the fall trying to compete in cross country as well as soccer.

June 2014

HONORABLE MENTIONS Honorable Mentions go to Piedra Vista’s Kira Hoerner and Aztec’s Jessica Kresl. Amazingly, with Morgan Smith these are the only three girls we could find from the four high schools who meet the criteria. Admittedly it is much tougher for girls than boys, with only two options in the winter – swimming and basketball. For Aztec and Kirtland, it’s only basketball. As with Morgan Smith, Hoerner and Kresl participated in four sports throughout their high school careers, playing both soccer and cross country in the fall, and basketball and track. Kresl was a member of both state championship track teams as well as two second-place state soccer teams. Hoerner was perhaps the busiest athlete in the county, adding three state choir championships and Student Body President to her athletic career.

Four Corners SPORTS


BOYS’ ATHLETE OF THE YEAR the boy’s winner this year wasn’t even a tough call, as Farmington’s tierney staley pulled off a trifecta of state championships – an individual championship in wrestling and team titles in both football and track. For the scorpion football team staley was a dominating presence at linebacker on a physical defensive squad. While the Piedra Vista wrestlers got the majority of the attention during the winter campaign, staley was just as dominant on an individual level, winning the 182 pound weight class at the state wrestling tournament. staley finished up his senior season as a member of the state champion scorpion track team, finishing third in the javelin. it is a season to remember for the scorpions with their first football title since the Eisenhower administration and a first time track title. staley was an important cog in both in any other season, Kirtland’s Christian Mackey would be the choice for athlete of the Year. Mackey will have

back-to-back state titles in discus and shot put this year to go with a District Player of the Year in basketball. On the basketball court Mackey has been a dominant force since his sophomore year, getting the Broncos to the state tournament all three years. in the fall, Mackey was the best passing option in a rebuilding Bronco football squad that was markedly better this year.

HONORABLE MENTIONS honorable Mentions go out to Farmington’s Kyle reynolds, nathaniel Pavlick and nicholas tenski Piedra Vista’s; isaiah Valdez and David rodriguez, and aztec’s quartet of Matthew stallup, Jacob tillman, Dylan stinson and rD Bixler. at Fhs reynolds participated in football, basketball and track, and, like staley, held the blue trophy for football and track and was the lone experienced varsity player in basketball. Pavlick played soccer and basketball and was a member of the scorpion tennis team that was runner-up at state this year. tenski ran cross country, played for the scorpion basketball

ChristianMACKEY Kirtland high school

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team and was a member of the state champion track squad. PV’s Isaiah Valdez would get the bronze this year. he has quarterbacked the Panther football team since his sophomore year and has been a starter on the basketball team for nearly as long. Valdez finished off his high school year as a relief pitcher for the state championship baseball team. David rodriguez was a starter on the PV soccer team and a threeyear varsity letterman for the basketball team, and decided to take on track this spring. While he may not have been the star of any one of these teams, rodriguez was an emotional leader and an exceptional teammate. While the aztec boys didn’t win a state title this year they did have some solid performances from their seniors. Dylan stinson played baseball, soccer and basketball. r.D Bixler joined stinson on the soccer and baseball fields and wrestled for the tigers. Jacob tillman also played baseball and wrestled, as well as running cross country. Matthew stallup also hit the three-sport mark playing for the football team, wrestling and running track our athletes of the Year show that the concept of having to focus on one sport is just not necessary from a playing, coaching or parenting point of view. Eight of our three-sport athletes of the Year call themselves state champs as an individual or a member of a championship squad. of course there may be one you want to focus on, but you can help your whole school by being encouraged to involvement in multi-sports or multi-activities. It is high school, after all. Get out and have some fun. Do all you can with the opportunities that high school offers. It’s only going to come around once in life.

IsaIahVALDEZ Piedra Vista high school


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up Local swimming, diving club going strong after first year Story by Tom Yost | Photos by Josh Bishop One year in existence, the FUEL (Farmington United for Exceptional Legacy) Swimming and Diving Club is making extraordinary strides for local participants. Mike Ortiz and Ian Donald formed FUEL last August. The two first met a little more than a year ago when parents from another swimming club


Four Corners SPOrTS

June 2014

in Farmington inquired about forming a second club team. “Parents wanted something different,” said FUEL Diving Coach Ian Donald. “They wanted an alternative option for their kids who had been active in FCAT (Four Corners Aquatic Team) and got Mike and I together to talk about it.”

June 2014

Four Corners SportS


“Only time will tell, but we are looking to get larger and larger and coming more competitive at the regional and sectional level within USA Swimming and USA Diving.” — Mike Ortiz

In giving Farmington another option, FUEL operates their swimming and diving programs out of the Farmington Aquatic Center from 4 to 6 p.m. daily, with many participants taking part in both swimming and diving. The program runs throughout the summer months, starts again in September, and will go until March. “The sports of swimming and diving require a meticulous attention to detail,” explained Ortiz. “Our philosophy is to take care of the little things and the big things take care of themselves. When you take the time to do things right, the rest becomes easier. Swimming and diving teaches people to appreciate the hard work it takes to get through life.” Costs to join FUEL are $35 per month if your child is in elementary school, $45 per month in middle school and is topped out at $60 per month for high school aged participants. There are also cost reductions for parents who are financially unable to pay.


Four Corners SpOrTS

June 2014

“FUEL diving allows kids to have opportunities for USA level diving,” explains Donald. “We want to give younger kids the opportunity to experience diving so that they can be happy, healthy and diving at a USA Diving level.” And Ortiz adds that the FUEL acronym stands for another component on top of the swimming and diving aspect. “We want the kids to become great individuals,” said Ortiz. “Whatever they do academically or athletically, we want them to develop their own mind. We want them to establish a legacy for themselves, that they had a hand in building, and to be role models for everyone else in their communities.” Through limited funding opportunities, Ortiz and Donald are making the most of their positions within the Farmington Municipal School District to try to recruit kids or teachers to give swimming a try during the summer months. Other than that, recruiting only happens through word of mouth and –

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more importantly – through sight. “We rely a lot on open swim time,” said Donald. “Kids want to swim so they come to the Farmington Aquatic Center with their parents and see the fun our participants are having. They see what we are doing and want to get involved because they love being in the water.” With the program in its infancy, the future looks extremely bright for swimmers and divers in the Four Corners Region. “We have 62 participants ranging in age from 7 years to our masters (who are in their sixties) within a year of existence,” said Ortiz. “Only time will tell, but we are looking to get larger and larger and becoming more competitive at the regional and sectional level within USA Swimming and USA Diving.” Ortiz and Donald, through FUEL, are helping to build a better community through swimming and diving – and helping our youth and seniors stay active and healthy.

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HeigHts teams win

Basin titles in 3 sports Prep sports gets influx of strong athletes; brown already training with PV team Story by Debra Mayeux Photos by Josh Bishop Heights Middle School is sending strong athletes to the area high schools next year, as the school ended the 2013-2014 school years with three basin championships. Heights athletes managed to capture the basin titles for football, basketball and track, leaving the high school coaching staffs waiting with baited breath for the eighth graders to become freshmen. The Piedra Vista Track coach didn’t even bother to wait for Jacob brown, 14, to arrive at the high school. brown, who was a basin champ in all three sports, was invited to join the track team in later april, as the high school athletes completed their season. His teammate Israel Murray, also a three-sport champ, also would have competed if not for a track injury earlier in the season. brown, however, was eager to compete, as he has set his sights on college athletics and even professional sports as a career goal. “I dream of becoming a professional basketball or football player,” said the 14-year-old, who stands at 6 foot, 4 inches.


Four Corners SPorTS

June 2014


He began participating in sporting camps and playing on local teams. “I thank my mom (Beverly Brown) and dad (Jeffery Brown) for taking me to camps and supporting me all of my life, and supplying me with all of the things I am thankful for,” Brown said. His parents allowed Brown to develop in each sport he chose. His favorite, however, has always been football, followed by basketball. “In football, there is a brotherhood,” he said, adding it has helped him to become a better person. “In football we were taught to be gentlemen – hold the door open for young ladies.” track helped him to hone his running skills and work on his endurance, and Brown enjoyed being on the team. “We had to combine and work together as one to win the Basin Championship,” he said. “At track, we work hard at practice, and that makes it easier at the meets.” the track team was made up of both male and female athletes with strong showings. “It’s the first time in my 12 years at Heights that the boys and

girls have won Basin track titles in the same year,” Coach Wayne Leupold said. “We had a lot of good athletes this year and a good coaching staff.” this was Heights second year in a row to clinch the title of Basin Champions for the boys, and the girls have four Basin titles. Brown helped out overall by breaking a basin record in the 800 meter run. Brown went 800 meters in 2:12:94, while

the old record was 2:13:1. He plans to make breaking records a trend as he continues in high school sports. “I want to become a state champion in football, basketball and track and break the state record for the 800 meter run in AAAA,” Brown said. “I also am looking forward to becoming a better student and getting college offers.” Coach Leupold is looking forward to training new Heights athletes next season. “We’ll look to our sixth-graders to turn into fast, strong seventh-graders next year,” he said.

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Piedra Vista takes crown for fourth consecutive year Story by Rick Hoerner | Photos by Josh Bishop Once again it’s time to select the overall Prep Sports School of the Year with the district schools trying to unseat Piedra Vista who has held the overall crown the previous three years. To win School of the Year, we combine the boys and girls overall records from every sport in all three seasons as posted by the NMAA. Scoring will use the track and field scoring system. The district champion receives 7 points, the runner-up gets 5, third place gets 3, and fourth 2 points. State champions get a bonus 7 points, a state runner-up gets a bonus of 5 and a final four gets the school a bonus of three. Only team totals will be counted with the regular season district records counting unless there is a postseason district playoff. Then the tournament champion will be considered the district champion. In sports that have no regular season head-to-head competition,


Four Corners SPOrTS

like cross-country, the district championship meet will be used for accumulating totals. Let’s start with the fall of 2013 where, after over a 50 year absence, the football state championship trophy once again resides in Farmington High. Gary Bradley’s squad was a throwback era team that played exceptional defense and controlled the ball with a strong running game and very few turnovers. In volleyball, Piedra Vista once again entered the state tournament as the No. 1 seed but again had to settle for the red trophy, falling to Goddard in the state finals. As with Panther volleyball, Aztec Lady Tiger Soccer reached the finals, but fell to a strong St. Pius squad. PV cross country stepped up on the podium for the second consecutive year with a third-place finish

June 2014

Football – Farmington 14: PV 5: Aztec 3: Kirtland 2 Volleyball – PV 12: Farmington 5: Aztec 3: Kirtland 2 Boys Soccer – Farmington 7: PV 5: Aztec 3 Girls Soccer – Aztec 10: Farmington 9: PV 3: Kirtland 2 Boys Cross Country – PV 9: Kirtland Central 5: Farmington 3: Aztec 2 Girls Cross Country – PV 7: Aztec 5: Kirtland 3: Farmington 2 FALL TOTALS Piedra Vista 41 Farmington 40 Aztec 26 Kirtland 14

June 2014

Four Corners SportS


track with the Aztec girls repeating as state champions and Farmington High capturing their first boys’ title in school history. Farmington tennis added to the haul with another state championship for the girls and a runner up trophy for the boys.

In the winter season the district won another state championship as wrestling again reigns at Piedra Vista, but not much else as basketball was down again this season. Kirtland again reigned supreme in girls’ basketball and boys’ basketball. Wrestling once again was all about the state champion Panthers who sewed up another state championship in dominant fashion.

Softball – PV 14: Aztec 10: Farmington 3: Kirtland 2 Baseball – PV 14: Farmington 10: Aztec 3: Kirtland 2 Boys Tennis – Farmington 12: PV 5 Girls Tennis – Farmington 14: PV 5 Boys Golf – PV 10: Farmington 5: Kirtland 3: Aztec 2 Girls Golf – Kirtland 7 Boys Track – Farmington 14: PV 5: Aztec 3: Kirtland 2 Girls Track – Aztec 14: PV 5: Farmington 3: Kirtland 2:

Boys’ Basketball – Kirtland 7: Farmington 5: Aztec 3: PV 2 Girls’ Basketball – Kirtland 7: PV 5: Farmington 3: Aztec 2 Wrestling – PV 14: Aztec 5: Farmington 3: Kirtland 2 WINTER TOTALS Piedra Vista 21 Kirtland 14 Farmington 11 Aztec 10 In the spring, District 1AAAA was once again dominant in the state. Of the eight state titles available in the spring, five are home in San Juan County. Piedra Vista softball captured an amazing ninth title in a row while baseball chalked up their fourth title in five years. Once again San Juan County asserted itself on the

While this system doesn’t take into account other NMAA competitions such as marksmanship or choir, that this district won state championships in, or other NMAA sports such as cheer or dance, it does take into account contests that are won in head-to-head competition. It also is an unfair mark of district superiority. Some schools don’t participate in all sports, which gives and advantage to PV and Farmington, but then again that should not penalize the schools that do. Next year the NMAA redistricts which takes Kirtland out and pulls Gallup and Miyamura in which will drastically change the district in basketball, cross country, baseball and softball. The final totals put PV again as the district overall champion for the fourth year in a row. However, Farmington considerably closed the gap from 38.5 points last year to just 8 this year. PV’s dominance in wrestling, softball and cross country has kept the Panthers on top. With a new district alignment in 2014-2015, next year’s champions will be hard to predict. FINAL TOTALS Piedra Vista 120 Farmington 112 Aztec 68 Kirtland 46

SPRING TOTALS Farmington 61 Piedra Vista 58 Aztec 32 Kirtland 18


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It was another great year for prep sports in the Four Corners especially in the spring. Every sports season brought home a state champion, with Farmington football capturing a title in the fall followed by piedra Vista wrestling in the winter. In the spring, pV softball and baseball joined Aztec and Farmington track and Farmington tennis on the top of the podium. to the 2014 Seniors: you may be gone but you are not forgotten. thanks for a great 2013-2014




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Four Corners SportS

June 2014

Story and photos by Ben Brashear

Dustin Partridge, 33, leads me out of his kitchen toward his backyard and his homemade obstacle-training course. His home sits nestled in between the tall riparian grasses of the Animas River Valley and its high Dakota Sandstone cliffs. Partridge is an endurance race enthusiast and was a top 50 finisher of the Spartan race series in 2013. His strenuous training regimen is evident. He lifts his right leg into view and shows off a patch of scar tissue on his shin. The result of countless hours of rope climbs, the tissue never seems to heal. Partridge shrugs it off; he is preparing for what may be one of the most difficult obstacle races that he will face this year, the Spartan Death Race. In one hand he carries a homemade javelin and with the other he gestures as he explains that in between his time working his job at Natural Grocers and putting his mechanical engineering degree to use re-designing backpacking gear, he is here in his yard training.

Backyard Spartan prepares for Death Race

His high and tight haircut and squared off beard that extends to his chest makes it easy to imagine that in walking to the yard we have somehow slipped back in time to the training camps of a Greco-Roman era. In front of us stands an eight-foot-high wall built from reclaimed 2"x6"s. Suspended from an old-growth cottonwood to the south is a 20-foot high rope climb and a 50 lb bucket hoist filled full with river rocks. Stumps litter the yard and serve as steps for plyometrics, and a backdrop for spear throwing sits far against the fenceline. The Death Race, scheduled for June 27, is the result of Spartan Race founder Joe Desena replicating the challenge of some of the most difficult endurance races around the world, while being accessible to anyone. Desena has specifically designed his races to break competitors down mentally and physically in the shortest amount of time. And with Desena pushing his Spartan race for an Olympic bid, it’s a race series worth watching. Partridge explains that the Death Race is a race without a known finish line and can take competitors anywhere from 24-48 hours to complete – and, Partridge says, the race does not even offer prize money. “With only a plastic skull for an award, it’s more about pushing you to your limits,” Partridge says.

“More or less you have to enjoy not being comfortable, and yeah, I kinda do enjoy that.” — Dustin Partridge


Four Corners SportS

June 2014

“The race isn’t even fair. One year they made competitors carry rocks throughout the race but the rocks varied in size from 5 lbs to 30 lbs for each racer,” Partridge recalls. Every racer can expect to chop a cord of wood, hike 30 miles, execute spear throws, do a lot of running, and perform burpees. A “burpee,” is an aerobic pushup that starts in the standing position, drops into a pushup, has one bring the feet back under the shoulders, and finally ends with an explosive jump up to the standing position. “The consequence for failing to complete an obstacle at a Spartan race is a mandatory 30 burpees,” Partridge says.

hundred-miler but I wouldn’t think of doing it any other way,” Partridge says.

“That’s all I thought about until my next race. I focused on cold water training by swimming in the Atlantic Ocean and in my brother’s backyard pond in Connecticut,” Partridge says.

Finding the most difficult challenge physically and mentally is Partridge’s goal in racing and in life. The Leadville 100 was his first ultra-marathon, and once he caught word of the Toughest Mudder, a 24-hour obstacle race, he sought out the nearest 5k qualifier and from there dove straight into the hellish 24 hours of frigid 30-degree swims, wall climbs, and slogging through hypothermia.

Chickens cluck and purr between our feet and the smell of sun-warmed grass washes over our conversation. One could get lost in this bucolic calm. Partridge stops walking suddenly, though. He squares his shoulders in line with the spear toss obstacle. “I couldn’t get the spear throw last year,” Partridge says as he looks over his shoulder to me and then back to eyeing the target.

“More or less you have to enjoy not being comfortable, and yeah, I kinda do enjoy that,” Partridge laughs.

Partridge first became hooked on endurance racing a few years ago. “I was thru- hiking the Continental Divide Trail when I ran into a woman whose husband was training for the Leadville 100 and I thought that was the stupidest thing you could do. A year later I was at the start line,” Partridge says while tugging at his beard.

Partridge did not complete his first 24-hour race due to hypothermia. That experience though, created in him a passion for pushing his limits and finding that edge where challenge presents itself as self-revelation. “Every race is a personal breakthrough, and that’s why you do it,” Partridge says.

“Most people say the Leadville 100 is one of the hardest running races to do as a first

The following year saw Partridge training daily for his next 24-hour Toughest Mudder.

We are standing about 30 feet away from the hay bale and you can almost hear the howls of endurance and exhaustion re-playing through Partridge’s mind as he furrows his brow and takes aim. He pads his feet, tread in brilliant red and white nylon minimal running shoes, into the dirt. Across his barrel chest reads, “Poindexter Endurance,” a nod to his enthusiasm for his calculated persistence and logical approach to racing.

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“Mental preparation will be what separates those that do well,” Partridge says as he snaps his arm forward releasing the spear at the target with such ferocity that his body recoils and begins to pull his feet up and off the ground. The spear sits buried to the hilt in the 2"x6" board, a few inches low of the target. Partridge retrieves the spear marveling that it went all the way through the backdrop and returns to square up the target once again. “It’s not like a marathon or your typical running race where you know exactly what you are going to get. With Spartan you have no idea what you are going to get,” Partridge says. The late afternoon sun begins its descent toward the horizon and Partridge continues to fire off shot after shot gaining confidence as he begins to consistently hit the target. “With the Death Race you just go and keep going, you don’t know what you’ll get, but you just keep going,” Partridge says. He will be out again training tomorrow and the next day. When asked how he can maintain such a schedule he is quick to answer, “It’s my girlfriend; she enables me in being successful,” he says.


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June 2014

Words of wisdom

My dad, who passed a way in 1989, drilled into my brother and me his favorite two sayings. His first was pure gold, “Always tell the truth. Never volunteer it.” Best advice ever. After all, most of the time parents ask a specific question, such as “Were you at Sonic at 12:31 last night?” they already know the answer. However, the simple question of, “What were you doing last night?” is a fishing expedition. No need to volunteer extra information.

from Just Say No and DARE to the Baldrige Model of Education and High Schools that Work to the common core and Literary Design collaborative. Education is now business providing educational programs marketing to schools and school districts for what i am sure is a nominal fee from your taxes. these programs will solve all your ills, show the almighty test score improvement and eliminate creativity in the classroom.


it is on real fishing expeditions that Dad would drill in saying No. 2. Every time Dad took – i mean forced – my brother and me camping or fishing the first words out of his mouth were always, “Leave this place better than you found it.” that was his motto whether it was out camping or at the job. Leave it better. With that in mind, it is with great regret that i leave Farmington Municipal Schools after 25 years in the classroom and 18 on the court. it would be hard to argue with Dad, who would definitely say that as far as my career goes, it’s a failure, being that it is not better than i found it. the public school system is in no way better than it was when i started in 1989. Now there is a multitude of reasons for this and it is no way the blame of the thousand or so teachers, administrators and educational assistants who give their very best every day.

i got in the profession to make a difference for students, as many others had done for me. i did not get into the profession to prepare students to take a multitude of tests, including the state’s Standard-Based Assessment, Discovery testing, Ap testing, End of course exams – and next year we’ll add the pARcc Assessment to replace the SBA.

Editorial columnist

We have gone over the top on the necessity of college in today’s competitive world. college is of course an admirable goal for all students, but honestly it’s not for everyone. A society functions not just on those that make work in the office but those that provide services and work in government jobs. there are politicians who are fond of saying this is a country of haves and soon to haves. that is just not the case for public


For me it begins with politics. No child Left Behind, an unfunded mandate, is a joke and Race for the top is no better. Relationships with human beings are not contests and our children should not be used for political points. it seems every politician, at every level, is trumpeting what he or she are doing for education without any background in education other than going to school. Here in New Mexico we have the perfect example in Hanna Skandera. With no experience in education, apparently all one needs to run the state’s education department is degrees in business and public policy. As with most teachers, i have seen a dozen programs come and go

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June 2014



Four Corners SpoRtS


Kristiana Lewis, The Force win big at American Showcase Championship Story by Debra Mayeux | Courtesy photos Little Kristiana Lewis is always dancing. Whenever she hears music – in the car, the grocery store, on television – her feet start tapping and her body starts moving. Recently named the national champion at the American Showcase Championship in Anaheim, Calif., this 6-year-old could just be the next dancing sensation to come out of Bloomfield. Kristiana attended the championship with the team from The Force, where she began taking dance classes a year ago. “She always asked to be in dance,” Kristiana’s mother, Alicia Lewis said. “She has such good rhythm and beat. I’m just glad I put her at The Force. It’s a great environment, and Sheila (Mobley) helps the kids reach their goals.” It was Mobley, owner of The Force, who encouraged Kristiana to enter a national dance competition. Mobley watched Kristiana – who


Four Corners SPoRTS

dances on the Little Dippers team – and what she saw was a little girl with aspirations to go much further in dance. Mobley allowed Kristiana to choreograph her own solo and gave Alicia advice on how to create a costume for the routine. “My mom made my costume,” Kristiana said with a grin. “I went to Hobby Lobby and other stores and picked up things here and there,” Alicia said. She took a body suit and added rhinestones, a necktie and other bling to make it competition ready. Then, it was up to Kristiana to develop and practice her Hip Hop routine, choreographed to a Lady Gaga remix. “I got the ideas from my brain,” Kristiana said, adding that she learned to make appropriate facial expressions – smiles, puckered lips,

June 2014

winks – from watching the older girls at The Force. “It was pretty fun. I like making up my own dances when music comes on.” Kristiana has two brothers and two sisters and will attend Central Elementary School in Bloomfield this August. She is the only dancer in the family, other than her mother, who participated in jazz and ballet as a young girl. Alicia said she is in awe of Kristiana’s talent. Her father, Patrick Lewis, also is supportive. “I wanted her to compete. She’s just so confident,” Alicia said. Both Mobley and Alicia were correct in encouraging Kristiana, not only because she received the overall highest score at the FHS invitational last February, she won the national championship and received the highest score for a solo out of the entire dance ensemble from The Force.

“It felt good, really good, to win,” Kristiana said. “I won medals, trophies and three championship jackets.” Kristiana is one of many dancers helping to put The Force on the map. The team recently was asked by the Phoenix Suns possibly to perform sometime in the future during a pregame show, Mobley said, and she has other dancers who shone at nationals as well. “Nationals was amazing,” Mobley exclaimed. “Not only did our teams come home with a ton of awards, they were able to watch and learn from some of the top dance teams in the country.” The American Showcase Championship is the largest cheer and dance competition on the West Coast, according to Mobley. Her Little Dippers, the 4- to 6-year-olds, were named national champions in pom and jazz, and received a second in hip hop. The Twinkles, first through third graders, placed second in pom, third in jazz and fifth in hip hop. The Comets, third through sixth graders placed third in pom and jazz and fifth in hip hop; and the Cosmos, seventh through ninth graders,

placed third in pom and jazz and fifth in hip hop. In addition to Kristiana, there were three other national champions – Brooke Sona, Ahjanae Salazar and Trinity Winer. Sona also received a second place in mini, while Trinity Winer and Takoda Winer earned a second place for their duet. Other winners included Anissa Herrera with

June 2014

a second place, Amelia Le Bouef and Tiana Winer with third place rankings, Maya McGee with a fourth place, Mariah Marcy with a fifth place, Abbie Carley with a sixth place, Shelby Steele with a 10th place and Stephanie Parker with an 11th place. In addition to this competition, Mobley took her cheer team FORCE to the Cheer Power Nationals on May 18 in Las Vegas, Nev., where the team earned a second-place ranking.

Four Corners SPORTS


Devin Hull No. 5 and Beau Clafton No. 4


On a diamond, court or track the Basin rules prep 4A sports Story by Rick Hoerner | Photos by Josh Bishop Over the past decade the spring sport seasons in District 1AAAA have been particularly dominant in team sports that are played on a diamond – and continue to do so today – but lately the other spring sports have joined the party. Farmington tennis joined in winning five of the last six state titles on the women’s side


Four Corners SPOrTS

and lately local track has crashed the party as well. All in all this makes the local district the most dominant district in the state during any individual sport season. The spring sports season offers eight team titles, and five of them belong to this district, in-

June 2014

cluding a 9th straight title for the Piedra Vista softball team, a second straight track title for the Aztec girls, the fourth title in five years for the Piedra Vista baseball team and Farmington tennis, and Farmington High’s boys track team captured its first title in school history, supplanting Piedra Vista who held the title last year.

It’s time to take a look back at the season that was in the spring of 2014.

SOFTBALL Yet again the district’s softball teams were the strongest in the state. The Aztec Lady Tigers held the No. 1 position in the polls most of the year and looked to be on a collision course with Piedra Vista for the district championship and a No. 1 seed at the state tournament. As the last night of the district season approached, No. 1 Aztec hosted No. 2 Piedra Vista for the district title. The top two teams in the state split the doubleheader with PV winning the district by point differential. All four teams in the district earned a spot in the state tournament with Kirtland positioned at No. 14 and Farmington at No. 10, joining No. 2 Aztec and No. 1 Piedra Vista. For the third straight year the championship matchup came down to an Aztec-PV matchup, and for the third straight year Piedra Vista knocked off their district foe to claim the title. For the Lady Panthers it may have been the most impressive in its incredible nine-year run. The Panthers were supposed be down this year, and vulnerable, but once again Kevin Werth’s squad peaked at the right time with an offensive output that would be hard to match. Next year the Panthers try to add a 10th title and fill all the fingers on Coach Werth’s hands with championship rings.

BASEBALL Over the last decade, baseball’s blue trophies have called Farmington Municipal Schools home, with a glitch in 2013 when St. Pius took the title. The district championship came down yet again to a pair of games between crosstown rivals Piedra Vista and Farmington High. Piedra Vista swept the two games, capturing its fifth consecutive district championship and a No. 1 seed for the state tournament. Farmington claimed the No. 3 seed and looked to be on a collision course with the Panthers.


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Both teams reached the semifinals where the Scorpions fell to No. 2 Goddard, who would move on to play the Panthers. The championship game was a nail-biting 7-6 win for the Panthers, the fourth title in five years for Coach Mike McGaha. Like their female counterparts, the Panthers looked to be vulnerable this season, losing early games in preseason tournament play, but the Panthers peaked in district play and, even though pitching ace Gunner Archuleta could not pitch, the Panthers brought the title back to PV.

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TRACK it wasn’t long ago that san Juan county track was just an afterthought at the new Mexico state championships. that time has disappeared. in 2013 Piedra Vista and aztec took home the team titles with Farmington right behind the boys and Piedra Vista two spots behind the Lady tigers. in 2014 the district again brought home the titles. aztec repeated as the girl’s champions, and Farmington’s boys brought home the first track title in school history. For Farmington, the boy’s title was well in hand by the middle of day two. however, for the aztec girls it came down the final 4x400 race where suddenly the tigers were rooting for district rival Piedra Vista who placed ahead of santa Fe high, giving aztec the title. individual track champions Kaleigh Graham – shot put – Piedra Vista Kayli Farmer – high Jump – aztec Zhianna Flores – 300 hurdles – Piedra Vista Morgan smith – Pole Vault – aztec sarah root – triple Jump & 100 hurdles – aztec Devin hull – 400 Meters – Farmington avery rasher – high Jump – Farmington

Beau clafton – Javelin & 200 Meter – Piedra Vista christian Mackey – shot Put & Discus – Kirtland central

TENNIS albuquerque academy has the reputation as the “country club set” high school in the state of new Mexico, expected to be at the top in golf, tennis and swimming. the chargers have definitely done so in swimming, and occasionally golf, but has always been the team to beat in tennis. they have found a challenger recently from the public school sector in the likes of Farmington high. the girls team has taken down academy as the team to beat in 4a, and did so again this year knocking off the chargers for the 5th time in six years. the Farmington boys once again got to the finals to face the vaunted chargers, but once again it was not to be for the scorpions. a great year in 2014 will be hard to duplicate in the spring of 2015, but that statement could have been made in 2013 as well. Just a few months until new names put on old numbers, as football, soccer, cross country and volleyball get under way.

christianMACKEY Kirtland high school

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2713 E 20th Farmington, NM 87402 505-325-5938


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June 2014

Member SIPC

sarahROOT aztec high school

June 2014

Four Corners sports


owner and Coach: the Force, Farmington, N.M.



What is your background and experience as a dance coach in Farmington? I began dance with junior high cheer and the high school dance team in Kilgore, texas. then in college, I was a member of the “world famous” Kilgore College rangerettes. they have a pretty amazing history, as the first halftime drill team. Girls from across the country would try out, and the year I tried out – I was number 144 of more than 180. I had been a Kilgore College Cheerleader from 1980 to 1981, when I moved to Farmington. I offered to help the Farmington High School Kelly Greens just for fun in the fall of 1982, the same year I began teaching at Silhouette Dance Academy, 1982. By the fall of 1983, patti Warren was going on maternity leave and asked me to help her with the Bloomfield Dance team, which I named up with the name Kit Kats. I ended up staying until spring of 1985, when I had my son. the day I left BHS, Farmington High School called me and asked me to take over the Kelly Greens for the next season. I was the first female director and the first director to win a state title for FHS Kelly Greens. I served in that position for 13 years. How did you get involved in coaching and instructing dance? I was involved in dance from junior high on, and when I moved to Farmington – I just looked for opportunities and offered to help. It was almost a culture shock in New Mexico. My style and ideas were so different. In this area, the dance teams were more of an auxiliary to the band. I wanted to teach more of the performance stand -alone style team. In texas, drill team and dance team have been everything to those dancers. teams have a long tradition and history. I was also on the committee, choreographer and/or the chairwoman for the Connie Mack pageant for more than 15 years. I was also a head instructor for nine years with National Dance Alliance – the largest dance camp company, through which I taught summer camp dance teams to junior high through college.



You built a legacy of coaching in Farmington, having been coached two of the women who now coach the Kelly Greens and pANtErAZ. How does that make you feel? Amazed and proud – I do not take any credit for their success, but to know that I was a part of their teaching is amazing. With the current FHS Kelly Greens’ coach Vickie Campbell – I was her coach, and all three of her daughters, Bliss, Bergen and Brecken went through my program at the Force. We still talk and bounce ideas off each other on some things. She is a huge asset to the program.

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June 2014

SHEILAMOBLEY Daniell Crabtree, at pVHS, was also a Kelly Green with me. When pVHS first opened they needed help with ordering uniforms, etc., and had no name for the team. I named them the panteraz. I also coached for one season just to help the thennew coach, Becky Kelly, get started. Both are very talented coaches. I was the coach for two of the former Kelly Greens coaches – Katy Hayes and Andrea Kendrick thurman and the current Aztec High Cheer Coach Debbie Johnson.


Why did you decide 20 years ago to open the Force?

At the time I was working for National Cheerleader Association, which was the largest cheerleading company in the country. they started an after-school program called NCA Supersquads. I was one of 10 National Directors that took on the program. It ran for approximately two years and was dissolved. I decided to keep my program going and just change the name. I started with 15 kids and now have over 300 in the dance, gymnastics and cheer program. We have changed names several times to fit our needs, starting with Enchantment Danz Force then Danz Force and now just the Force. this fall begins our 20th year as a team and my 32nd year as a director.


What services are offered to students at the Force and what ages do you serve?

We start our students as young as 2 years old – boys and girls – in dance or gymnastics. our gymnastics classes offer recreational gymnastics with trampoline, spring floor, beam, bar, rings and more. My staff teaches each student at their own pace. they learn social skills along with motor skills. We have older students in a beginner class and younger ones in Elite. We don’t hold them back for age. In dance, we start them at 2 with creative dance, learning very basic dance. then when they are 4 they can move to our competition teams, including pom pom, Hip Hop and Jazz. I think the misconception is when we say competition – you have to walk in the door perfected. It’s just the opposite. We want to train the students with no experience necessary. We just want them to try, practice and do their best. It’s not about the trophy – it’s about how the student feels when they walk off the floor. We started All Star Cheer this season with a level five, ages 14 and up, with the oldest being 24. Next season we are doing level three which could go as young as 10 or 12 years old. the Cheer team did very well this season – winning a division title in Albuquerque and second place at nationals in Las Vegas. All Star Cheer also offers summer camps.


How is operating The Force different from coaching high school-level dance teams?

All Star Cheer is a whole different animal. Because of the profession, you can choose how to run your program. Good, bad or otherwise, you make the rules and decisions. This is probably the hardest part. Trying to make sure that the program you offer works for the benefit of all involved. With a school team, there are organizations such as New Mexico Activities Association that set the rules and students are not granted waivers.


Which do you prefer and why?

Each is great for different reasons. Personally I like the All Star program. I can do things such as sponsoring a student who needs help, offering fundraisers to parents to help them with finances and pushing students to be their best. With All Star – students can still be involved in other school teams and activities, Generally if you are on a school dance team – their season is so intense – that is the only team you can be on.

our performance / competition win, lose, draw; having a parent tell me that being on the team is what kept her daughter pushing her grades – starting the tradition KGKA


What are some of your favorite things or best memories at The Force? We started with 15 kids, renting studio space for Judy Nickerson. We now have over 300 students and an amazing facility thanks to Neil Merrion. Hugs from the 3-year-old that just calls you “teacher"; winning the first Nationals title in 1995 after only 13 practices; team trips on cruises, Disneyland, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Dallas, Phoenix and more; watching my own daughter, Crista Mobley Farmer, dance. She started at age 4 and won several solo National Titles. She will be head coach in the fall. Having a student say “My grandma told me to tell you hi,” and then finding out I taught her grandma. Getting handmade gifts for no reason – I keep them all and they are displayed in the dance room, and seeing the faces of the kids when they get it.

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Share some of your best memories of coaching at the high school level.

Starting in Bloomfield with Patti – dancing with large props, the travel to Disneyland, the dancers making fun of my East Texas accent. Some of these only Kelly Greens will understand: Having that dance routine that worked and then parents and friends giving standing ovations; slumber parties in the gym; Rock Awards; listening to Kenny Rogers sing “When you put your heart in it” before competitions or banquets; Big and Little Sisters, first time they wore Lycra outfits; Beauty and the Beast Prop routines with the cake; the Pillow Case routine; 6 a.m. practices – that didn’t last very long; being proud of

What advice do you have for future dance coaches and instructors?

Be true to yourself. Make decisions and stick to them – that is with any coach of any sport. It might not be the most popular decision or answer, but there is a reason you came to it. Do it for the right reason – the students. Stand up for what you believe in and live by it. There may be a student that is not the best, but they are just as important as your key players. Look in the eyes of that student and tell them that you believe in them and that they are amazing. They will remember that, I promise. There is more to winning than a trophy. Trophies tarnish, the heart of a student does not.

June 2014

Four Corners SPoRTS


STATE 4A GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP Kirtland girls’ team takes 3rd; Tristan Goodwin 2nd in individual play Story Tom Yost | Courtesy photos The Four Corners did not send many players down to the NMAA Class 4A State Golf Championships at the University of New Mexico South Course, but the ones they did send down represented the area well. Kirtland Central High School’s Tristan Goodwin finished in second place with a score of 152, just 5 shots behind Ben Albin of Albuquerque Academy. Donald Thornton of Piedra Vista High School in Farmington finished in fourth place with a score of 154. Goodwin shot an even par, 72 in his first round, which tied him for the lead with Albin. “It was exciting but nerve-racking,” said Goodwin of heading into the final round tied for the lead. “I was just trying to stay calm and play my own game.” Unfortunately, perfect Monday weather conditions gave way to the wind and cold on Tuesday morning. “The second day was extremely cold,” said Kirtland Central High School Coach, Chuck Soria. “It had a big impact on a lot of kids playing. The wind chill was 25 degrees when the boys and girls teed off and the first 14 holes were cold and windy.” “The weather had a big impact – mostly on the front nine,” said Goodwin. The cold and wind led to a lot of stupid mistakes.” “Finishing second was a big accomplishment, but nothing beats that golf medal,” explained Goodwin. “I had fun and was proud of myself, for the most part.” In the boy’s team competition, Piedra Vista High School finished in fourth place, led by Thornton’s fourth place finish. On the girls’ side, Kirtland Central High School was the lone team out of San Juan County to qualify for state. Their third place finish completed a season that started very strong and added a green trophy to their district dominance. Kirtland Central’s Girls Coach, Steve Williams, was concerned heading into the state tournament, due to the lack of competition in the region. “Our girls didn’t really have a lot of competition, week in and week out during the season, so when we got paired with great players from Deming and Albuquerque Academy I think it might have explained the bad first day.” Paced by Darmika Frank’s third place finish, the Lady Broncos forged their way ahead of Goddard on day two to finish in third place behind Deming and Albuquerque Academy. “Our girls lost a lot of ground to Deming and Albuquerque Academy the first day,” said Coach Williams. “But I was very pleased with the way they bounced back on day two to finish in third place. With summer in full swing, the high school golf teams will be practicing hard and looking forward to the start of a great 2014-2015 season in the fall.


Four Corners SPOrTS

June 2014

Fishing REPORT Current flows on the San Juan River below Navajo Lake are 305cfs. Fishing is very good throughout most of the Quality Waters. The best times to be on the water are between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. With summer just around the corner the water clarity has improved greatly within the last few weeks.

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Some of the best rigs as of late are: Size 22 Grey Midge Emerger trailed by a size 24 Olive Midge Emerger Size 22 Grey Big Mac Midge trailed by a size 24 Black Zebra Midge Size 22 Red Larva trailed by a size 22 Thread Body Baetis


Size 20 Griffith’s Gnat Size 22 BWO Size 18 Black Foam Ant


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Some of the better dries to try are:

The fishing below the Quality Waters has been good using night crawlers, power bait, and red salmon eggs.

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T.J. Massey San Juan River Outfitters 505.486.5347

continued from


employees who will never reap the financial awards of the public sectors. There are few teachers, firemen or police with the means to have the big house on the hill.



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In the end, I feel sorry for the new teachers who will grow up in a profession that is less and less about the emotional well-being and age appropriate education of their kids and more and more about the data the automatons can produce. With the cookie cutter teacher approach to education, the idea that the individual in front of the classroom makes all the difference will all but disappear. I didn’t sign on for this. I’m not leaving the profession. It has left me.

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Life lessons in 18 holes There is still plenty of time to get your son/daughter registered for The First Tee of San Juan County, N.m. summer programs taking place throughout the county. We currently offer programs in Kirtland (Riverview Golf Course), Aztec (Hidden Valley Golf Club) and Farmington (Piñon Hills/Civitan Golf Courses). With that being said, the reasons to get your child/grandchild into The First Tee are too numerous to list. The character values and life skills that they will learn can be applied to all of life’s challenges as they get older. many have said that golf is the perfect mirror of life. Therefore, in an attempt to show that, I am going to go through 18 holes – this list could be a lot longer – of life lessons that transfer from the golf course to the course we call “the Real World.” 1) Introducing yourself to your playing competitors on the first hole of the course is important because you are making a first impression. A first impression goes a long way in life when making friends, relationships, career choices, etc…. 2) Sometimes great shots take bad bounces and end up behind trees or in the lake. In life, you can do all the right things and end up having something negative happen. The result doesn’t dictate who you are as a person, but how you react to and proceed with that situation will. 3) Conversely, bad shots sometimes get unbelievably great bounces and turn out better than your good shots. once again, the key in life is taking advantage of the lucky opportunity that you received and making the most of it. 4) The person playing in golf is the scorekeeper, official, referee, etc…. Golf gives you every opportunity to cheat, but also gives you the opportunity for honesty and integrity. In life, you can do a lot of bad things when nobody is looking – what choices you make in these situations tells the world about who you are as a person.


Four Corners SPoRTS

12) Showing respect is the single most important rule to follow in golf and in life.

TomYOST The First Tee 5) Practice and preparation are keys for success both on and off the golf course. 6) In golf and life, there are things that you can control – your swing/job, temperament, attitude toward others – and things that you cannot control – wind, temperature, other people. We will not have success if we are constantly worried about things out of our control. 7) measuring the risk versus the reward is a must if you want to play golf well. In life, there are some risks you should take and some situations where playing it safe is the better option. 8) Anger management is very important in golf. Emotions cause errors to compound and scores to increase. In life, a bad situation becomes much worse when emotions are the driving force of decisions. 9) Golfers must take responsibility for their play and accept the success or blame accordingly. In a world of excuse-makers and finger-pointers, this would be a refreshing “real world” change. 10) Golf is about making adjustments and learning from mistakes. once a mistake is made, going through an evaluation of what happened will give you a better chance of not making it again. 11) There are a ton of rules that govern the games of golf and life, but if you know and follow the important ones, then you will be extremely successful.

June 2014

13) The biggest enemy of the golfer is themselves. The negative voice inside your head usually controls the conversations both on and off the course. 14) other people on the course are usually too worried about what they are doing to be worried about what you are doing. Therefore, focus on being the best you can be instead of worrying about what others think of you. 15) Sometimes the “shortcut” takes a lot longer. 16) The games of golf and life are not easy. They take patience, a good attitude and a lot of work to become proficient and successful. The easy thing to do is quit, but the rewarding thing to do is persevere. 17) Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent. only perfect practice makes perfect. If you are practicing the wrong things, the only thing you will get better at is the bad habit. 18) Win and lose with grace and humility. The sun will rise the next day no matter the outcome – and with the new day, comes a new opportunity to improve.





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Four Corners Sports June 2014  

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

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