content |6| | 16 | On fire
SIDELINE SPECIALISTS When the audience’s eyes are focused on the athletes on the field, many do not realize the individuals on the side lines who aid the injured athletes and lend a helping hand when needed.
The Aztec High School girls’ soccer team has had a strong season so far, with a 10-0 record.
| 18 | Internationally known DURANGO, Colo. – One of the preeminent golf club head designers in the world lives and works in Durango.
| 10 | THE FANTASY GRIDIRON It is estimated that somewhere between 15 and 20 million people play fantasy football in millions of individual leagues. How popular has fantasy football become? During the preseason on nﬂ.com there is some type of mock draft for practicing draft strategies going on every minute.
| 22 | Catching up with Alana Alana Nichols is a world-class athlete, but to many people in the community she was the girl next door who attended Farmington High School and had aspirations to play softball in college.
| 12 | | 26 | New soccer coaches
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Farmington and Piedra Vista High Schools have new boys’ soccer coaches and both were soccer stars while attending area high schools from 2003 to 2009.
The Four Corners Invitational 2013 for Special Olympics New Mexico wrapped up on Aug. 9, 10 and 11. The events for the three-day event included golf, swimming, softball and – for the ﬁrst time – ﬂag football.
| 32 | Desert Bighorn Sheep
| 15 |
The Desert Bighorn Sheep is one of the most coveted hunting tags in the United States. Glen Fuller, local resident and owner of East Main Trading Company, is getting to fulﬁll his dream of hunting this species in southwestern New Mexico.
MIDDLE SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY TEAM Each day at 7 a.m. there are 16 dedicated students who arrive at Mesa View Middle School to run.
| 34 | Fishing Report
Four Corners SPORTS
Don Vaughan PuBlISHER
We love to cheer for the underdog
Cindy Cowan Thiele EDITOR
I spent a lot of time playing softball in high school and college. There’s just nothing like the sense of community and togetherness that comes from sharing a common victory. That shared sports experience brings together people, who otherwise would never have even spoken to one other, to work toward a common goal. Even if you haven’t played a sport, we all like to root for the underdog. I always cringe a little when I sit down to watch a sports movie but by the end I get so wrapped up in the storyline I end up loving it. Our country has always cheered for the underdog, partly because of how our nation was born, and also because everyone aspires to their
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own personal heroism. This issue has a number of inspiring stories and athletes, from Alana Nichols who embodies determination and strength, to the Aztec High School girls’ soccer team who continues to show us what teamwork means. Also, we can’t forget all those Special Olympians who came to Farmington and are inspirations to us all. As the fall prep sports season continues to unfold, we will have a lot more inspiring stories to tell about coaches, athletes and players. With the devotion and determination our schools put fourth for our kids there will never be a shortage of great sports stories to tell.
We’ve got more photos than we can use. Check out the photo gallery for each issue at www.fourcornerssports.com
covercredit Photography by Josh Bishop
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Sideline specia by lauren duff photography by Josh Bishop
athletic trainers have hectic, multifaceted jobs When the audienceâ€™s eyes are focused on the athletes on the field, many do not recognize the individuals on the side lines who aid the injured athletes and lend a helping hand when needed. These individuals are athletic trainers, a job that has many facets. They provide immedi-
MelyndaBRENTON Farmington High School
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l i st s ate care to student athletes who injure themselves, help athletes go through the rehabilitation process, and answer nutrition questions. â€œAthletic trainers do a little bit of everything. We can handle nutrition questions up to taking care of a broken neck or blisters,â€? said Aaron Stem, who has been an athletic trainer at Piedra Vista High School for nine years.
Piedra Vista High School
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Melynda Brenton is the other athletic trainer in town, being at Farmington High School for nine years. She became an athletic trainer because she has always love sports. “My sister played with Barbies and I would help my dad with cars” and play softball, she said. Brenton has been an athletic trainer since 1983, after she received a bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly Pomona and a master’s degree from Cal State University, East Bay. Stem became athletic trainer because of his love for sports as well. Because of this passion, he looked into working in the medical field. “I wanted to do a blend of both.”
Stem has a degree in athletic training from New Mexico State University, which qualified him for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association certification. “In New Mexico, we are required to have a state license and we are certified health care professionals.” Brenton and Stem are at every sports practice and home game, as well as away varsity football games. “It can be hectic,” Stem said. “When it comes to the state tournament time I travel with all my teams.” But while athletic trainers are there to help injured athletes, “we are not doctors and we don’t make diagnoses. We don’t have the intense
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medical knowledge a physician has,” Brenton said, adding athletic trainers work with medical practitioners who can make diagnoses. Not only do Brenton and Stem work with injured athletes, they also oversee the Impact Test, which is taken by students involved in sports. The test is designed to show a student’s ability to memorize words and shapes. If a student is injured while playing sports, they are then reevaluated with the Impact Test to make sure they are not experiencing a severe concussion. “A concussion is not an obvious injury. This is another tool that helps me know if these kids are good and ready to play in games” after being injured, Brenton explained. Brenton and Stem both agree their job is rewarding by being able to help students through injuries or by answering questions. “The most rewarding part is helping our athletes play the sports they love. Sometimes you see an athlete be brought down by an injury and you are there to help them out with it,” Stem explained.
“I just love my job. I’m 51 years old and I’m still 17 at heart. It is a good environment, fun,
and where else can you go to work dressed in tennis shoes and a T-shirt,” Brenton said.
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The fantasy gridiron Creating your ‘own team’ brings game to a new level for fans by Rick Hoerner It is estimated that somewhere between 15 and 20 million people play fantasy football in millions of individual leagues. How popular has fantasy football become? During the preseason on nﬂ.com there is some type of mock draft for practicing draft strategies going on every minute. If you are looking to join a league just for fun, Yahoo, NFL.com, ESPN.com and a host of other sites have leagues of every kind with every conceivable set of rules.
While auction drafts allow everyone to get the player they covet, it is more important to know which players to avoid and who wants those players. In auction drafts everyone sends a player to the auction block to be bid on, so sending out to auction a player that others will ﬁght over is key. This forces other team managers to spend their money, hopefully on players you didn’t initially target.
Auction vs. standard drafts
Default Scoring vs. Custom Scoring
Draft styles usually come in standard or auction formats. Each draft has a different strategy in how to attain a team. Of course draft strategy is based on considering the people that draft near you and noticing the preferences of you competitors.
Watching for the details in a league is essential. Some leagues use the familiar default scoring while others have all kind of rules to enhance the league.
In standard drafting, the number of teams are drawn for position in what is referred to as “snake” draft, which means drafting 1-12 in the ﬁrst round and every odd round thereafter while drafting in reverse order for all even numbered rounds. Draft strategy in standard drafts is completely dependent on those who draft around you. For example, if you have the ﬁrst pick you will deﬁnitely get the player that you believe scores the best in your particular scoring system. However, it also means you aren’t picking again until 24th. So planning ahead is essential while watching every player on your depth chart disappear one by one. The 12th pick assures getting two of the top 13 players, but then sit and wait for 24 picks to go by before grabbing another pair. It’s best to be somewhere in the middle. In standard drafts there will always be a run on certain positions. For example, as soon as a tight end goes off the board a run on tight ends may occur, leaving those waiting for their pick to come around to have to settle instead of getting the player they want. This isn’t a problem in an auction draft. Anyone willing to pay the price can get any player they truly want. In auction drafts every team is issued a set amount of “cash,” then players are bid on with the biggest spender getting the player. Auction drafts are for bargain hunters and those that do their homework.
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Default scoring is the old school original lineups with original scoring. A default lineup consists of one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, a tight end, a defense and a kicker. Scoring is basic. Owners get one point for every 10 yards rushing or receiving and one point per 25 yards passing. Kickers get three points for ﬁeld goals and one for extra points. Default is a nice way to start getting into fantasy football, and keeps a consistent scoring system. Custom scoring leagues can have a multitude of scoring and lineup options from higher points for yardage to multiple quarterbacks and position players. Most custom scoring works to an advantage for a singular position like
giving reception points to help value receivers, third down running backs and tight ends, or making quarterbacks more valuable by giving points for less yardage. When choosing a custom league, make sure the point system is logical and draft accordingly.
ppr Leagues points per reception leagues have become more popular over the past few years. ppr leagues make more running backs in play for bigger leagues and place a higher value on wide receivers and tight ends that make elite ends like the Saints Jimmy Graham as valuable as a premier running back. Wide receiver values increase as well and make the number of targets a receiver gets as important as the yardage. So a receiver like Wes Welker – who gets a ton of short catches but not a lot of yards –
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more valuable than home run threats like torrey Smith. ppr leagues also change the draft strategy for running backs. Backs like Darren Sproles, who may carry the ball only four or ﬁve times a game, may have six catches which adds six points to Sproles’ value. this puts at a premium backs who stay on the ﬁeld for all three downs.
IDp Leagues the new trend in fantasy football is to get the defense involved. Individual defensive players or IDp leagues use statistical information on defense as well as offense. IDp leagues can vary from leagues that use a single player to leagues that use an 11-man defensive roster of three lineman, four linebackers and four defensive backs. Since IDp leagues are custom scoring leagues, the leagues’ scoring system must be strongly looked at before playing. Usually the value of sacks make defensive ends valuable, and since tackles are usually the primary way of scoring, safeties are usually worth more value than cornerbacks. pass rushing linebackers are the most valuable IDp assets. they usually have sacks and multiple tackles. Most IDp leagues use defensive players along with a standard or customized offensive lineup. IDps are fun, but time consuming, and must be changed out regularly.
Advice Like relationship advice, fantasy football advice is easy to get. Every major sports website has fantasy football advice on who to play and who not to, who has a good matchup and who doesn’t. there are even television shows that spend hours evaluating fantasy football schedules, ranking players and injury reports. And if you want to know which team has the worst pass defense on third down against slot receivers, those data are there too. the best advice is to go with your gut as to who you think will do well this week and throw loyalty out the window. You may be a huge Jacksonville Jaguars fan, but that doesn’t mean to take, well, anyone on the team who doesn’t use three names. Should you feel the need for fan loyalty, draft their kicker. they don’t have much difference most of the time anyway. Fantasy has made football more interesting, especially for the casual fan, but has also made for some strange rooting interests. How does one deal with the situation when they have a fantasy player on a team they usually root against? Not draft any raiders or Cowboys? If it can’t be avoided, deﬁnitely not. the best player available is the pick whether they are from the favorite team or the most dreaded enemy.
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Invitational Special Olympics 2013 was the best yet by Tom Yost | courtesy photos The Four Corners Invitational 2013 for Special Olympics New Mexico wrapped up on Aug. 9, 10 and 11. The events for the three-day event included golf, swimming, softball and – for the ﬁrst time – ﬂag football. This was the eighth year of the event and even though it is supposed to rotate, San Juan County remains the host and will be for the foreseeable future.
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The Four Corners Invitational hosted nearly 630 athletes and over 1,200 people including coaches, volunteers and family members. The athletes came from all across the state with 22 delegations represented and for the ﬁrst time a delegation from Pagosa Springs, Colo. “It is a long way to come for a lot of athletes,” said Debra Lisenbee, Executive Director of San Juan Special Olympics. On Friday, the games were kicked off at Riverview Golf Course and San Juan Country Club with golf.
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Four Corners Invitational day Civitans, Helpful Heroes Junior Civitans, San Juan Rotary, San Juan Country Club and Riverview Golf Course. Lisenbee has never been more proud of her community than during these games.“I am so proud of my home,” exclaimed Lisenbee. Olympic Village in the parking lot of the Farmington Recreational Center and then attended the aquatics and softball competitions. And even though ﬂag football was played on Sunday, Saturday night’s Closing Ceremonies and dance took place prior to at McGee Park. Athletes who took part were able to participate in three of the four competitions instead of all four, since the aquatics and softball competitions took place at the same time on Saturday. Friday evening brought the opening ceremonies to McGee Park and ofﬁcially began the games with the lighting of the Olympic torch.
The many companies that made the event as great as it was included: ConocoPhillips, Woods Insurance, Piedra Vista High School Athletic Department, Farmington Police Department, city of Farmington, San Juan County Government, Noon-
“I have never been anywhere that has been so embracing and uplifting as San Juan County. And I am not alone in my feelings, because people from out of town tell me how impressed they are with the support.”Chris Page, Executive Director of Special Olympics New Mexico, concurs. “The event this year was one of the best. The community support is probably the best in the state and the facilities are second to none. The SONM Four Corners Invitational has grown a little each year and each year the Farmington community gives a little more to make the experience that much better.”
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Middle school cross country team Mesa View team has a passion for running
by Debra Mayeux | photography by Debra Mayeux Each day at 7 a.m. there are 16 dedicated students who arrive at Mesa View Middle School to run. This cross country team is made up of six boys and 10 girls who enjoy the feel of the wind on their faces and the strengthening of their muscles and lungs as they run long distances before school begins. “I like running long distance,” said Terral Todacheeny, 13. “It makes me feel good and it’s pretty challenging.” Todacheeny is one of the faster boys on the team. His female counterpart, Dellena Payton, 12, is the fastest, and that was her reason for joining the team this year. “I wanted to see how fast I was,” she said, adding that she “guesses” she is really fast. She also enjoys the spirit of competition. The Mesa View team does compete in meets across the region against teams from Aztec, Bloomﬁeld, Kirtland, Colorado and Utah. It is the only middle school in Farmington with a cross country team, and that is because of the hard work and the dedication of Jeri and Eugene Hogue.
Jeri said she would run all of the time if she was able. She and Eugene are lifelong runners. They even own a Southwest Runners, a store dedicated to the hobby and sport of running. Jeri started the Mesa View team ﬁve years ago at the request of the school physical education department. “It’s my passion,” she said of running and coaching the children. She enjoys watching the progress of the children as their bodies and endurance change during the eight-week cross country season. At the beginning of the school year, the young runners come in out of shape. “You work with them and in two weeks or so they are able to run a certain distance,” she said. It’s usually about 1.5 miles. “By the end of eight weeks they can run four miles and it builds conﬁdence. It even helps them with their grades, because it builds them up.” While the focus is on getting the runners in shape, it also is an alternative to children, who don’t participate in a team sport, and in Jeri’s opinion it is a lifelong skill that they become acquainted with in middle school.
A lot of the kids that run on this team go on to run varsity in high school. “The kids continue to run throughout their lives, while other team sports end,” Jeri said. They also pass the running tradition on to their children. That is why 12-year-old Esmeralda Garcia joined the cross country team. “My dad had cross country when he was back in Mexico, so I wanted to run too,” she said. Her father was happy when she told him about becoming a runner. “I was carrying on something he tried to ﬁnish,” Garcia said, adding she enjoys the sport. “I like running. It’s so exhilarating, and I like how the coach and other people tell us to keep on trying, ‘You can do this,’” she said. Jeri does believe the students can accomplish anything with the right training and encouragement. It is something she and Eugene focus on while coaching something they hope will become a lifelong passion for each child. “We love to run,” Jeri said. “I would love to run forever.”
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by Lauren Duff
Aztec High girls’ soccer team focused on championship the Aztec High School girls’ soccer team has had a strong season so far, with a 10-0 record. Since the season began in August, the Aztec soccer team has defeated Moriarty, Bloomﬁeld, Belen, Capital, and Navajo prep. the two tournaments the team has won are the Aztec tiger tournament and the Albuquerque Academy tournament. “We haven’t played our most challenging games yet, but overall we are coming together and doing well,” said Kassia Barber, an Aztec High School senior who plays right defender on the team.
Barber said. the schools that participated in the tournament included Farmington High School, Carlsbad High School, oñate High School in Las Cruces, Los Alamos High School, and Hope Christian School in Albuquerque. the Aztec soccer team won the championship game by defeating Hope Christian 2-0. “We are doing really well. our season is looking good but we still have another half of a season to go, so we need to continue to focus and be intense,” said Stephen parks, who has been the head coach of the team since 2007.
In mid-September, the team was invited to play in the Albuquerque Academy tournament. this was the ﬁrst time Aztec High School was invited to play in the tournament.
He added the team’s ultimate goal is to make it to the state championship games again. Last year, the team came out second in state.
“We got to play against some 5A schools, so that was a good opportunity for us,” since Aztec High School is classiﬁed as a 4A school,
“We are deﬁnitely looking to be back in the state ﬁnals and win the championship game. It is a good possibility for us to be in that
spot, but we can’t get complacent. When the players start winning games sometimes it is easy to let down a little bit,” parks said. Along with being undefeated, the Aztec soccer team also has scored 72 goals and has only been scored on twice. one reason for the impressive statistic is sophomore Elana Kresl, who is rated as the top goalkeeper for a 4A high school in New Mexico. “It’s kind of scary to me because other people know about me. But it is also nice to be working towards something,” she explained. this is her ﬁrst year playing on the varsity soccer team. Alana’s older sister, Jessica Kresl, a senior who plays right midﬁelder, said being scored on only twice has boosted the team’s conﬁdence. “the game against (Belen High School) was the ﬁrst time we were scored on. It opened our eyes and we realized we need to help our defense and work together and stay disciplined,” she explained.
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by Margaret Cheasebro | photography by Josh Bishop
Durango’s Tom Wishon, preeminent golf club head designer
more than 20 years at specialized factories in China. He also has a 1,200-square-foot laboratory at Dalton Ranch Golf Club a few miles north of Durango on US 550. There, he has a swing hitting robot for testing.
DURANGO – One of the preeminent golf club head designers in the world lives and works in Durango. For the last 10 years, Tom Wishon has owned and operated Tom Wishon Golf Technology at 695 County Road 233. He has 10 employees, including himself and his wife, Mary-Ellen, whom he calls the epoxy that holds the business components together. In a 6,800-square-foot building he does engineering and design work on club heads, shafts and grips, takes orders, warehouses the inventory and ships orders. Production of club heads, shafts and grips is done by vendors he has worked with for
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“It has all our electronic telemetry equipment that we use to read the golf ball when it’s in flight so we know what’s happening when we hit different club heads and shafts in testing,” he said.
Distributes to the world He has distributors around the world, and 55 percent of his business comes from international markets, mostly Europe. “I’ve probably learned more in the last 10 years from Tom than in the first 30 years I’ve
been building golf clubs and fitting people, and I’ve been doing it almost 40 years,” said Don Greenwood, who owns Greenwood Golf near Aztec. “I can talk golf and golf clubs all day long, but when I’m around Tom, I listen. He’s one of the most intellectual and informative people on golf club design and function and the whole golf swing as it relates to club fitting.” Wishon began his golf career in 1972. Thirty years later, he turned down a job offer to head up research and development for Titleist Golf Company. Instead, he moved to Durango to start his own business and live in the mountains. He brought with him his internationally known expertise in custom clubmaking.
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Creative clubhead designs He has more than 50 different technology ﬁrsts in clubhead designs. His clubhead designs have been used to win on the Professional Golf Association, or PGA, Tour, the Champions Senior Tour, and in the Ryder Cup competition. Wishon has written 10 books in the ﬁeld of golf club design, performance and clubﬁtting as well as hundreds of equipment related articles for most golf publications in the industry.His books fall into two categories – textbooks from which custom clubmakers can learn their craft and books written in layman’s terms to help consumers make better buying decisions for their golf clubs. His newest book, The New Search for the Perfect Golf Club, falls in the latter category. His books are part of the required curriculum for training in the British, Swedish, Dutch and German PGA. But not inthe U.S.
Outspoken “I’m pretty outspoken,” Wishon explained. “When I see things that are wrong, and – because I write, I’ll say it. So within some levels of the American golf industry, I’m seen as either the maverick or
rebel. If something’s wrong and I know it’s wrong, I’ll speak up because I want it changed.” Simon Hubbard, who manages the equipment technology modules for the PGA of Great Britain and Ireland and the University of Birmingham education programs, said Wishon has given seminars at the PGA headquarters and has written articles for their PGA trade magazine. “We supply our new students with a copy of one of his books as they are introduced to custom ﬁtting on our training course,” Hubbard said. “Feedback comments we receive from our members are that they value spending time listening to Tom, they acknowledge that he is an expert in the industry, and they appreciate him traveling such a long distance to see us. From my point of view, Tom has been a great source for information and has encouraged me to delve deeper into the delivery of custom ﬁtting golf clubs, which I am able to include as a part of our education program.”
training, once he got into the golf industry. “I’m the guy who didn’t know the math formulas,” Wishon explained, “but I needed to know what they said so I could translate a lot of this very technical stuff into language and sentences that non-technically minded golfers could understand.” That skill is a strong point about his books and magazine articles. Sherm Haworth, owner of The Golf Meister in Albuquerque, is an independent clubmaker/clubﬁtter who calls Wishon his guru and mentor. “There isn’t anyone in the world who knows more about golf equipment than Tom Wishon,” Haworth said. “He’s dedicated his life to it. His products show his passion and his dedication. He’s an independent thinker and ﬁercely proud. He could have had a top job with Titleist, but he wanted to do it his way and live in the mountains and get out of the rat race. He has morals that exceed those of today’s – what I call – suits.”
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Though Wishon doesn’t have an engineering degree, he picked up hands-on engineering information on the job, and through mentoring and
Born in Denver and raised in Greeley, Colo., Wishon has loved golf since his dad taught him to
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play when he was 12. He earned a golf scholarship to the University of Nebraska, but the coach kicked him off the golf team during his freshman year when he wouldn’t cut his hair. By the time he graduated with a pre-dentistry degree in 1972, he knew he didn’t want to be a dentist. He couldn’t afford to pursue more education, so he moved to northern California, where his parents lived at the time, and took classes through the PGA of America to learn how to teach golf and run a pro shop and a golf course. He worked as an assistant golf pro and ran his own club repair business for about 15 golf courses in the San Francisco Bay area.
Nobody had the answers “That got me hand skills in clubmaking,” he said. “More than that, I got curious to ﬁnd out if I changed something on a golf club, why would it work for this guy but not that one? Nobody had the answers. I used to get so frustrated calling these golf companies and shaft companies. They either wouldn’t talk to me, or they’d say that’s secret information that we don’t share. I ﬁnally got so mad one day I said I’m going to ﬁgure this stuff out on my own. If anybody ever cares to know what I know, I’ll share what I learned with
them. As I got further into it, I realized they didn’t know.”
ferent eye-hand coordination, different swing characteristics.”
He moved to Newark, Ohio, in 1980, where he worked as the vice president for sales at The Golf Works. In 1986, he took a job as president of Dynacraft Golf Company in the same city.
He’s convinced golfers need clubs that address their individual needs. A well-designed golf club tailored to an individual’s needs can last about 15 years and improve the person’s game, he said.
Researches differences “At Dynacraft, I really began to do research to ﬁnd out why this golfer does better with this length or this weight or this shaft or all these different speciﬁcations that make up a golf club,” he said. “That’s been an ongoing project ever since 1986 for me.” Most big golf companies design a fully ﬁnished, ready-to-hit golf club, he explained. “Their clubs are not custom ﬁt, and golfers buy them off the rack. They don’t admit that one of their clubs might not perform well for the golfer because it isn’t properly ﬁt to the golfer.”
Sells only what he designs Wishon sells only to clubmakers he screens, and he sells only what he personally designs. These clubmakers are usually small, independent business people, like Haworth and Greenwood, who pride themselves on making and ﬁtting clubs that are tailor made to the individual. Though he doesn’t have the advertising dollars to compete with large companies, he has a loyal following among those who have discovered his expertise. He thrives on continuing to create new and innovative clubhead designs.
Wishon disagrees with that approach. “Golfers are as different as ﬁngerprints,” he said. “They’re different height, different weight, different strength, different athletic ability, dif-
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“This last 10 years with my own company,” he said, “the model design work and the engineering work I’ve done is the best I’ve ever done in my whole life.”
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Across from the food court
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Catching up with
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by Lauren Duff | courtesy photos
Nichols training for 2014 Winter Paralympics in Russia
Nichols is a renowned paraplegic athlete involved in wheelchair basketball and Alpine skiing. She also is the only American woman to receive gold medals from the Summer and Winter Paralympics.
Alana Nichols is a world-class athlete, but to many people in the community she was the girl next door who attended Farmington High School and had aspirations to play softball in college.
In 2000 Nichols hit a life-changing speed bump when, after a snowboarding accident, she became paralyzed from the waist down. Her incredible strength is what pulled her through that painful time, and she eventually saw she could be involved in paraplegic athletics. In her junior year at University of New Mexico, Nichols found a new love for wheelchair basketball. “I went to UNM not thinking about sports. One day I came across a gym and saw women playing wheelchair basketball and it blew me away. I had no idea there were people my age, in wheelchairs, playing sports. That was what I needed to get back into it,” Nichols explained. She was eventually recruited by the University of Arizona to play on its women’s wheelchair basketball team and then played for the University of Alabama team, which led her to become part of the U.S. Paralympics Wheelchair Basketball Team.
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In 2008, the team traveled to Beijing, China, to compete in the Summer Paralympics. At the end of the games, each team member wore a gold medal around their neck. “We were able to come out undefeated. We were training for that moment and it was unbelievable we made that dream come true,” she said. In 2012, the team had to let go of their gold medal title after placing fourth in the Summer Paralympics in London, England. “We were disappointed with our fourth place ﬁnish in London but we had an incredible experience nonetheless,” Nichols said. But while she was focused on wheelchair basketball during those years, Nichols also decided to return to the mountains and pick up Alpine skiing. At the 2010 Winter Paralympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, Nichols earned her second gold medal in giant slalom and downhill. She took a silver medal in Super G, and a bronze medal in super combined. This was her proudest moment because she was able to compete in the winter games sev-
eral months after her brother, D.J., passed away. “That was one of the most devastating experiences of my life for me, but I used that as an inspiration. When I won that gold medal – that was for him,” she said.
Since that time Nichols has received accolades for her many accomplishments and inspiring story.
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Sportswoman of the Year and the Colorado Sportswoman of the Year. Last year, she spoke at the ESPNW conference in California and was nominated for the ESPN ESPY Award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability. This October will be a busy month for Nichols because she will once again present at the upcoming ESPNW conference and also appear on NBC’s Today Show. “What is amazing are her experiences, and even if she wasn’t in a wheelchair she would be doing something amazing,” said Nichol’s close friend, Matt Camacho from Farmington. “For her to get back in touch with herself I believe it propelled her into an amazing life, and she is blessed.” Since competing in Vancouver, Nichols has had her heart set on competing in the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. But in June she suffered a shoulder dislocation, which delayed her training for the winter games. “I went through three months of rehab, but I will be competing in next year’s games.” Nichols will begin to strengthen her arm within the next couple of weeks and begin training in November. She will compete in giant slalom, downhill, Super G, and super combined.
to quit sports. But I’m 30, and with this recent injury it is not as easy as it used to be. But I think I have another summer games in me.” Another aspiration for Nichols is working in Africa with children who have disabilities. “Sports have been my life and in my heart, and to be able to share that and show people how to play – that is something I’m passionate about.”
“It seems like whenever she has had something to prove, that is when she puts it all out there. With the loss of her brother and then this recent shoulder injury, I think that has given her some ammunition to strive and I think we will see some big things from her,” Camacho said about Nichols competing in next year’s Winter Paralympics. Even though Nichols will focus on her races at the Winter Paralympics, she looks forward to experiencing Sochi. “The culture is really different and I look forward to having the life experience of being in and around Russia.” When asked what the future holds for her, Nichols said she is at a “crossroads” with her athletic career. “A part of me wants to push for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro because a part of me never wants
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Farnsworth, Quintana using their soccer skills to help kids excel by Debra Mayeux photography by Josh Bishop Farmington and Piedra Vista High Schools have new boysâ€™ soccer coaches and both were soccer stars while attending area high schools from 2003 to 2009.
PaBloQUINTANA Piedra Vista High School
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ByronFARNSWORTH Farmington High School
Byron Farnsworth, 23, is the new head coach for varsity boys’ soccer at Farmington High School. He played soccer for ﬁve years while attending Aztec High School and was the team’s captain for two years. During that time, the team was the last to win District in 2005, besides Farmington High School, and he had the title of being one of the top three in the state for scoring and assist during three years of his high school career. Farnsworth also was named Aztec’s most valuable player for his participation in soccer, football and track. When he graduated in 2008, Farnsworth went to Fort Lewis College, where he played soccer and
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coached the FLC Soccer Club, which went to Regionals twice and Nationals once during his tenure. He graduated from college with a degree in exercise science physiology and nutrition. Farnsworth was hired in 2011 to work as the junior varsity boys’ soccer coach at FHS, and he transferred into the head coach position when Coach Ryan Atkinson left the school for a position in Arizona. Pablo Quintana, 23, began coaching the Piedra Vista varsity boys’ soccer team when the school year began. This was only four years after he graduated from that same school, where he had played soccer for five years.
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“They were kind of excited, but they didn’t call me ‘coach,’” Quintana said. “I knew it would come, when I earned their respect. Now, I am ‘Coach’ and a friend.” This was not a problem for Farnsworth, who had coached guys his own age or even older than he on the FLC Club team. “You’re trying to manage them, rather than coach them,” Farnsworth said.
When he started, the students knew who he was because Quintana had 125 record goals for the high school team as player. He was the most valuable player for four seasons and District player of the year during his sophomore, junior and senior years. Quintana also was honored during high school as the player of the month by Fox Sports.
He took the coaching job after former coach Adrian Romero encouraged him to apply for the job and take over the program. When he received the title of coach, many of his students knew Quintana and were not sure about calling him “Coach.”
He comes from a long line of soccer players and soccer coaches. His father Rex Farnsworth has coached youth soccer for 25 years, and he has five siblings who all play soccer. And while his FHS players are close to his age, he listened to advice from his dad. “I
got taught from my dad that you have to instill the level of respect between playing and coaching and being able to show them drills and techniques,” Farnsworth said. Quintana has worked not only to demand respect, but to instill values in the players with regard to their education and the level of work they give to the sport. He raised the grade point average to 2.5 for eligibility to play and he asks the students to focus on their education first. “I am not just helping these young kids sports wise, but also with education,” he said, adding that he has workshops for team members on how to apply for college, and motivates them to earn good grades. “It’s not just winning on the field, but how to be successful in life, and education is the most important thing.” Education has helped raise Quintana to a level of hope for his future and success. He is a Mexican immigrant who came to the U.S. with his parents, Pablo Quintana and Socorro Duran, when he was 12 years old.
While he graduated from Piedra Vista and continued his studies at San Juan College and Eastern New Mexico University, he only received his work visa in February. He continues to work hard studying full-time at the San Juan College School of Energy with hopes of working in the petro-chemical field. He works nights at Lowes and coaches every day. It is this work ethic he hopes to instill in the students he coaches. “My advice to the students is ‘Get prepared and go to school,’” Quintana said. “Regardless of whether you want to become a coach or not, go to school. It will make you a better person, and if you love it, go ahead and do it.” This advice spills over onto the field, where Quintana preaches teamwork and even encourages his students to be friendly with the Farmington team by putting aside the FHS vs. PVHS rivalry. “I’m not only trying to make them better players, but better persons,” he
said. “My hope is that I can do something or say something positive that will affect the rest of their lives. I want to leave something on their hearts and on their minds. For me to do that it would be more of a success than to win a championship.” Farnsworth also wants his boys to learn respect – “to set them up for college and their careers as well,” he said. He enjoys camaraderie with Quintana and would also like to see FHS and PVHS as the two top teams in the state, cheering each other on at tournaments instead of being rivals. “The in-city rivalry will always be there, but we go to tournaments and encourage them to do their best – go hand-inhand and help each other out as well,” Farnsworth said, adding he has a great group of boys. “I feel like I got handed the best team in New Mexico. Every one of my seniors will be up for All-District and All-State academics, which reflects their talent in the field as well as in the classroom.”
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Age: 46 Previous job: Former athletic director at Piedra Vista High School Wife: Laurie Stevenson, Former Kirtland Central Assistant Coach
What does the New Mexico High School Coaches Association do ? The New Mexico High School Coaches Association is an organization 501(C)(4) of New Mexico coaches that highlights the outstanding accomplishments of New Mexico’s studentathletes and coaches through its all-star, all-state and coaches awards programs. We operate eighteen “north vs. south” all-star events, publish 62 all-state teams, and recognize hundreds of coaches each year. The NMHSCA also manages multiple professional development conferences and represents the needs of coaches at the state level via the NMAA Commission and the assignments of the NMAA sport speciﬁc committee coaches. The New Mexico High School Coaches Association also provides a million dollar liability policy plus other beneﬁts for its member coaches. How has running the NMHSCA been different from being an athletic director? It’s been about 10 to 12 pounds of difference for me, now that I sit at a desk all day and work on a keyboard and stare at a computer screen. At Piedra Vista, I was always on the move having to be somewhere different on campus all the time. But, the biggest difference is that I am not able to work with student-athletes on an everyday basis. And, as an athletic director, every issue is more up close and personal. Athletic Directors have a difﬁcult job. I make many decisions now, but for the most part, I do not know the athletes, the parents, or even the coaches on the same personal level that I did as an athletic director. It is easier to make decisions via email and/or the telephone than it is to have the parents, the student-athletes, and/or the coaches sitting in the same room.
What was it like growing up in Hobbs with the legendary Ralph Tasker? Growing up in Hobbs, America, was a fantastic. It was a
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THOMAS‘BuSTER’MABREY DIRECTOR OF THE NEW MExICO COACHES ASSOCIATION
community that revolved around youth sports, and I loved it. In my mind, it was the best place in the world to live. The best part of Ralph Tasker and Hobbs Eagle basketball was that it was a source of community pride and identity. Everyone took ownership in the Hobbs Eagle basketball program, and we all felt like we were a part of something special. Within the community, everybody played basketball. I am proud that I’m from Hobbs, and that I can still shoot and play a “little” defense.
Outside of getting a hit off Farmington’s Duane Ward, what was your most memorable moment in sports as a player or coach?
Well, that was one of my favorite stories for sure. I also remember hitting my first foul ball at age 10. It was great; because it took half the baseball season to make contact in an actual game. Hitting a last second jumper in a ninth grade playoff game was exciting and made the newspapers. I played in lots of great games and had so many fun and exciting moments. As a coach, the first state championship at Mayfield, when we beat Clovis in the last minute of the game with the clock running and no time outs, was pretty cool. As an AD, watching Piedra Vista win the first ever NMAA State Bowling Championship was one my favorite moments. People, such as Chris Pash, tease me about that, but it was an intense moment that was exciting. The best thing about being involved in sports as a kid and as an adult is that there are so many memorable moments with so many great people. There is nothing more rewarding than to risk public failure in order to be a part of something greater than oneself. I love sports, and the world of sports has been good for me and to me.
Earlier in your career you were a certiﬁed basketball ofﬁcial. How has that job changed over the past decade?
Ofﬁciating was so much fun, as well as challenging. I loved it. Once a person has been in the trenches as an ofﬁcial, I believe there is always a special place in their heart for ofﬁcials, and the camaraderie among ofﬁcials themselves. The difference with ofﬁciating today is that it doesn’t seem like ofﬁcials and coaches give and/or show each other same level of respect as they once did. Ofﬁcials and coaches have always been adversarial, but there was always a level of appreciation for the task the other did. It seems to me that both coaches and ofﬁcials are being critiqued to a greater degree than ever before by more and more entities. Fans are harsher on both; the advent of advanced ﬁlming, editing, and social media puts more of a spotlight on both. The NMAA is critiquing both groups to a higher degree. It seems to me that the common denominator for each one to vent is at each other. It is tougher to be a coach and an ofﬁcial today than it ever has been.
What changes do you foresee in the upcoming realignment of high school classiﬁcations?
Alignment & Classiﬁcation is difﬁcult. The difference this time is that the NMAA has created an objective process that will determine classiﬁcations and that process will be used again and again in future classiﬁcation alignment. All that the NMAA staff needs to do is plug the three-year average of a school’s enrollment into the classiﬁcation formula, and classiﬁcations will be determined mathematically. It’s the district alignments that interest me the most. I’m curious if the NMAA will work to get rid of three team districts
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or create more. There were some oddities in the district alignments that were released in December 2012. It will be interesting to see the ﬁnal proposal of the district alignments. Six classiﬁcations seem to be too many for me personally; but, in the end, more classiﬁcations equal more athletes competing in playoffs and state championships, and that isn’t all bad either.
How is the change in classiﬁcation going to affect the NMHSCA All-Star games?
I believe the NMHSCA has been ahead of the curve in this regard. Three years ago, we combined our games to reﬂect six classiﬁcations by creating three all-star games in volleyball, football, and basketball. Basically, each game covers two classiﬁcations now, and that will be the case when we have 1A-6A. When the new classiﬁcations start, we will have a 1A/2A, 3A/4A & 5A/6A. Right now, we have 1A/1B, 2A/3A & 4A/5A. Football has a six-Man – 1A game.
What do you miss about being at a high school?
I miss being within the community of a school. It is fun rooting for the home team and rooting for athletes, coaches, and teachers that a person knows on both a professional and personal level. Great schools have “family” atmospheres, and I was lucky to work at three great high schools. I miss working with fantastic people like Ann Gattis, Linda Crabtree, and many others. Continued on page 34
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Fuller wins coveted tag; hunt is a dream come true by Tom Yost | photography by Josh Bishop The Desert Bighorn Sheep is one of the most coveted hunting tags in the United States. Glen Fuller, local resident and owner of East Main Trading Company, is getting to fulﬁll his dream of hunting this species in southwestern New Mexico. “I will be hunting in the Hatchet Mountains in Unit 26,” said Fuller. “It is in the Bootheel of New Mexico between Deming and Lordsburg. This will be the most exciting hunting trip I will
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have been on in my life.” That is saying something, seeing that Fuller has been a lifetime resident of the Four Corners and has hunted all species of animals native to the region since he was a young boy. “Back when I was young, you got a deer tag over the counter and got tags for turkeys and bears along with the deer tag,” recalled Fuller. “I got to hunt with a bow, a muzzle loader and a riﬂe, and learned how to hunt with all three.”
“Kids today don’t have the same opportunities that I had,” continued Fuller. “They have to put in for a deer tag and hope their name is drawn for a lottery. I had a friend whose boy got his hunting license when he was 10 and didn’t get his name drawn for a deer tag until he was 18. That is why we are big supporters of young people in shooting sports and 4H type programs … they are our future customers.”
perfect for hunting,” said Fuller. “With bear, mule deer, Coues deer, elk and Oryx … there are five or six different species of hunts within New Mexico alone. There are not too many places on earth where you can do that. We have great BLM public hunting land as well. Combine those factors with the weather conditions and it is tough to beat the hunting conditions in this area.”
The customers Fuller speaks of are the patrons of his store, East Main Trading Company located on East Main Street by the National 9 Inn. Fuller opened the store with his father in 1983 as a military surplus/sporting goods store. “I was managing a sporting goods store in Scottsdale, Ariz., after attending Arizona State University for a couple of years,” said Fuller. “My father called me and asked if I wanted to partner with him. I bought him out after 15 years and have been expanding ever since. We just opened up the archery center.” Fuller enjoys his days taking care of his current customers, and his expertise in the areas of firearms and hunting draws new customers daily. “Our store is a home away from home for hunters,” explained Fuller. “People coming in can expect to talk to knowledgeable staff
members who have been there and done that. We offer competitive pricing on firearms, but we save people time and effort with our expertise whether it be with guns, loads or hunting stuff.” And with the world class hunting in the Four Corners, Fuller would not want to be anywhere else in the world. “We have great seasonal changes, which is
With interests other than hunting that include fishing (bass and crappie), camping, fourwheeling and just being outdoors, Fuller is looking forward to the upcoming fall hunting season, starting with his once-in-a-lifetime hunt for the desert bighorn sheep. “I just have to use patience and glass a lot using fine optics,” explained Fuller about his upcoming hunt. “I am looking for a worldclass sheep and feel I will get one by putting in the necessary time and effort and staying patient.”
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10 questions 9
Recently you were married to Coach Stevenson at Cibola. How difﬁcult is it not to root for the wife?
Oh, I root for my wife and her Cibola Lady Cougars. Every time her team plays, I hope they play well, and I hope they win. It is not a bad thing for me to root for her teams. One, she is more happy when her team wins than when her team loses, so I prefer happy over grumpy as most husbands. Two, I never root against another team or coach. Honestly, in the end, I have no leverage or input at any of her games. The hard part for me is that I want to help her coach, and that doesn’t always work out too well. She has no problem reminding me of my role, and it isn’t being the coach of her team.
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Looking forward, what do you see the role of the NMHSCA being in the future?
The NMHSCA is committed to communicating with all stakeholders via more technology to promote and highlight all-stars, all-state, and award winning coaches. It is also important for the NMHSCA to do more in creating professional development opportunities for coaches. Forty-one percent of New Mexico’s coaches are “contract” coaches, which mean they have no formalized educational training. Combine the increased number of “contract” coaches with the fact that very few school districts spend time actually training coaches how to be better coaches; the NMHSCA believes we, as an organization, need to do more in coaching coaches to be better coaches.
Current ﬂows on the San Juan River are 250cfs. Fishing remains good despite the very low ﬂows. Keep in mind that with the low water ﬁsh tend to migrate towards the deeper slower pools. Some of the better ﬂies to try as of late are a size 22 gray/black big mac midge and a size 24 olive/black midge pupae. Also, red larvae have been very effective early in the day. There have been decent midge hatches in the morning hours followed by a sparse afternoon baetis hatch. Dry ﬂy ﬁshing has been fair with ﬁsh eating single size 24 black midges. If you ﬁnd ﬁsh eating baetis on the surface try a size 22 olive comparadun. Fishing in the bait water has been decent using power bait, night crawlers, and red salmon eggs. Salmon snagging started Oct. 1.
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Four Corners Sports explores and celebrates the participants, coaches, events and supporters of sports in the area.
Published on Oct 11, 2013
Four Corners Sports explores and celebrates the participants, coaches, events and supporters of sports in the area.