Sunday, May 31, 2009

Local boxing scene

El Paso junior middleweight Abie Han and El Paso heavyweight David Rodriguez, both of whom train in Las Cruces, could have fights next month.

The unbeaten Rodriguez could be on a July 11 card in Laredo, Texas, while the exciting and unbeaten Han could be on a July 10 card in San Diego. Han just beat unbeaten Ibaheim King in a 6-round affair on May 21 in San Diego.

Also, Las Cruces bantamweight prospect Sammy Di Pace could have a chance to fight in San Diego as well at a date TBA.

- Felix

What to look forward to next year prep wise

Even though I no longer write for the Las Cruces Sun-News I am continuing my blog as much as possible on LC prep sports. Here are a few things to look forward to for the 2009-10 season.

Onate Football
The Knights return several key players and will have senior leadership to fall back on. Can the Knights get over the hump and play consistently? LB Zach Daugherty will help the way as will FB Zach Hernandez and Lineman John Cachora.
Onate proved at times it could play with the big boys in 2008, giving both Mayfield and Las Cruces High fits at times. My guess is the Knights can win 8 or 9 games in the regular season and make a run in the state playoffs, but they will have to find the will to compete for four quarters every game.

Las Cruces High boys basketball
Last year the Bulldawgs got to the 5A semifinals of the state tournament under coach Mike Smith. He's gone, but assistant William Benjamin takes over. Benjamin, the former Aggie basketball player, knows the program and has been a successful JV coach. His JV squad was pretty solid last year and the freshman team had some good players as well. Those kids will need to step up and replace the many seniors that used up their eligibility. Also, the return of PG Terrel de Rouen will help ease the transition for Benjamin.

Mayfield volleyball
The Trojans made a big time run at the state tournament last year and won the 5A title against perennial power Rio Rancho. The Trojans return outside hitter Jessica Groen and setter Kristen Romney to help lead the charge.

- Felix

Junior middleweight division in boxing

Just to show how tough the 154-pound division is in boxing, Kermit Cintron beat previously unbeaten Alfred Angulo on Saturday night. Cintron is a tough fighter himself having competed at 147 previously.

Angulo is an up and comer in the division, but Cintron showd he still has something left. The 154-pound weight class has good fighters and some good matchups on the horizon. Las Cruces' Austin Trout is in the 154-pound division and is unbeaten. Hopefully, he'll get more big fights this year.

With his win on Saturday, Cintron now has the chance for some big fights down the road. Hopefully, Angulo will learn from this this fight and grow.

Also keep an eye for Vanes Matirosyn, who beat Trout in the 2004 Olympic Trials and is a tough fighter as well with zero losses.

- Felix

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mine That Bird and Rachel Alexandra

Hopefully on June 6, Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra will get to square off in the Belmont.

Rachel Alexandra is a great filly and worthy of taking on the boys in elite races. Mine That Bird proved his win in the Derby was no fluke by nearly rallying to win the Preakness.

Mine That Bird could easily win the Belmont or finish in the top 3 and then go on to run in several other big races. Rachel Alexandra has not made a decision to run in the Preakness just yet, but hopefully she will and make the Belmont a big time event.

But don't count out other horses in the Belmont. The Belmont has seen some other horses fare well in the race other than the Preakness and Kentucky Derby winners.

- Felix

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Abie Han win

El Paso junior middleweight prospect Abie Han won a solid six-round decision on Thursday night against Ibahiem King of Florida.

Han trains is Las Cruces and is now 4-0 in his young career, while King was 6-0 entering Thursday's fight. Han isn't afraid to take on the best in his division and I applaud him for taking on another unbeaten fighter this early in his career. Han is a strong fighter, he's quick and he picks up things quickly.

Han could just have easily taken on a fighter with lesser skill and won easily. But in King, he took on a fighter with a decent punch, Han apparently got rocked a little bit and was also cut.

Han will be be better for his fight with King and he earned a great deal of respect. Hopefully, Han will continue to get more fights on a regular basis. He was having trouble landing fights, but he's had two fights in the last three months.

- Felix

New hire for LCHS boys hoops

Thursday's hiring of William Benjamin as the new boys basketball coach was a good one for the Bulldawgs. He has paid his dues as an assistant varsity coach and JV coach. Benjamin is astute with the game of basketball and he has a great deal of knowledge.

He'll face a challenge next year because the Bulldawgs lost a great deal of experience from this year's 5A semifinal team. But Benjamin is a patient man, a coach with a broad knowledge of the game. It's hard to predict how he'll do in his first year, but his JV team was pretty good last year.

There are probably some who are skeptical of his hire because he was on Mike Smith's staff for a long time and there were many who thought Mike Smith never got the most out of the program.

But Benjamin has learned a great deal from different people over the years and he'll do the best he can. My guess is that he will do just fine once he settles in and finds out what hand he's been dealt.

- Felix

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Onate's Zach Daugherty

Onate High School linebacker Zach Daugherty has reportedly received an offer from San Diego State. Texas El-Paso is also interested in him and NMSU and New Mexico have already offered.

- Felix

Friday, May 15, 2009

Onate vs. La Cueva

Tonight's 5A baseball semifinal between La Cueva and Onate should be interesting. Last May, the two teams played a competitive title game which La Cueva won 4-3.

This year, an interesting twist is that La Cueva has former OHS star Abe Tarin on its squad. And Tarin could face the Knights on the mound.

Onate, seeded No. 5, upended Rio Grande 13-3 behind solid pitching from Matt Sierras and timely hitting.

La Cueva, seeded No. 1, got past Carlsbad 5-1 behind pitcher Austin House, who struckout 10.

If OHS is to beat La Cueva, which has won 28 straight games, it will need another strong pitching performance, most likely from Jaime Romero and/or Eric Flores. In addition, the Knights have to put some pressure on the La Cueva starter on the mound, whether it's Tarin or someone else. Onate was able to get Rio Grande's pitching ace Oscar Almieda out in the fourth in Thursday's win.

The winner of the OHS/La Cueva game meets either Rio Rancho or Sandia on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Prep hoops, NMSU hoops and Zach Adams

According to a source, it appears Mesilla Valley Christian point guard Zach Adams will walk-on at New Mexico State. He's had offers from various Division II schools. He recently met with Marvin Menzies, the NMSU coach. Hopefully, more on this in the coming days.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Two-Deeps for NMSU football

Sorry it took me so long to post this, but here is some two-deep info on the NMSU football team.

Jeff Fleming or Trevor Walls
Tonny Glynn or Marquell Colston
Brandon Perez
Ronald Opetaia
X Receiver
Todd Lee or Will Bullock
F Receiver
Marcus Anderson
Sina Shabazz
Z Receiver
Julius Fleming or Marcus Allen
Y Receiver or tight end
Kyle Nelson
Ronny Torres
Left Tackle
David Norman
Kyle Smith
Left Guard
Joe Palmer or Chuck Taylor
Mike Grady
J.R. Saulietis
Right Guard
Seioli Fakalata or Mike Yocius
Right Tackle
Joe Suder or Patrick Blount

Defense End
PIerre Fils
Justen Alford
Defensive LIne
Kawika Shook
Vincent Fedrico
Nose Tackle
E J Cannon
John Finau
Defensive End
Donte Savage
Justin Adolpho
Sam Linebacker
Jamar Cotton
Sam King
Mike Linebacker
Ross Conner
Numi Lolohea
Will Linebacker
Jason Scott
Dawan Nolton
Davon House
Ben Bradley
Chris Buckner
Jonte Green
Strong Safety
Junior Fasavalu
Alphonso Powell
Free Safety
Stephon Hatchell
Michael Zantt

Jordan Davenport
Kyle Hughes

Saturday, May 9, 2009

5A quarterfinals are set

The quarterfinals are set for the Class 5A baseball playoffs.
On Thursday in Rio Rancho No. 1 La Cueva meets No. 8 Carlsbad at 11 a.m. and No. 4 Rio Grande meets at No. 5 Onate at 2 p.m.
On Thursday at Lobo Field, No. 2 Rio Rancho takes on No. 7 Eldorado at 11 a.m. and No. 3 Las Cruces takes on No. 6 Sandia at 2 p.m.

The semifinals are slated for 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on May 15 at Isotopes Park, while the title game is set for 7 p.m. at Isotopes.

- Felix

Friday, May 8, 2009

Calvin Borel switches horses

Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird will have a new jockey in the Preakness Stakes. Calvin Borel is off the horse and will ride Rachel Alexandra instead. Rachel Alexandra won the Kentucky Oaks by more than 20 lengths and was considered a Derby contender if she would have run that race.

Borel is the regular rider for Rachel Alexandra and is a serious contender in the Preakness. I can't blame Borel for the switch. Rachel Alexandra is a great horse regardless of equine gender.

- Felix

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Jockey Calvin Borel story

Jockey Borel living his dream
By Felix Chavez
Sun-News reporter
LAS CRUCES —Although Mine That Bird was an unlikely winner in the Kentucky Derby May 2 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., the jockey aboard the horse wasn’t.
Longtime jockey Calvin Borel has been one of the sport’s best during his career, which started as a young boy in Louisiana. He began riding in match races at the age of 8 and has been hooked on the sport ever since.
Now at the age of 49 and the winner of more than 4,700 races, Borel is enjoying some of the best moments of his career.
“It’s been a great career,” Borel said. “I’ve been fortunate to have had the success I’ve had. There are ups and downs, but I always believed I would be successful in some capacity. I’ve always been competitive and I’ve always believed that I have a shot to win any race.”
Mine That Bird won the Kentucky Derby at 50-1 odds with a sterling ride from Borel, who navigated Mine That Bird to a 6 and 3/4 length victory over Pioneerof the Nile, the largest margin of victory in the race since 1946.
The 3-year-old sire of Birdstone was way back at the start and then in customary Borel fashion rallied along the rail for the win. Borel is known as a jockey who likes to save ground along the rail.
“It was the ride I have been looking for all along,” said trainer Chip Woolley, whose horse ran second and fourth in stakes races at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino. “Calvin is a great rider and he showed it that day in the Derby. Calvin is very competitive and it was awesome to see him give the ride he did.”
Borel is no stranger to success at the Kentucky Derby. He won aboard Street Sense in 2007 and has also won several stakes around the country and also won the Kentucky Oaks on May 1 aboard Rachel Alexandra.
“Every horse means something to me, every big win is special,” Borel said. “Mine That Bird did a great thing in the Derby. He was 50-1, but people don’t understand he had a lot of success in Canada as a two-year-old and he is a talented horse. That day he took to the track, which was hit with rain and he liked coming from behind. It felt great to win that day.”
Mine That Bird, which has won 5 of 9 lifetime, is now off to the mile and 3/16 Preakness Stakes, which is just a bit shorter than the mile and 1/4th Kentucky Derby. The Preakness is slated for May 16. The sport hasn’t had a Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
“It’s going to be a different race,” said Borel of the Preakness. “We’ll run against good horses, but we hope not to be as far back as we were in the Kentucky Derby. Mine That Bird has a quick turn of foot and he showed he can handle the distance. He came out of the Derby good and he’ll be in the hunt. I worked him before the Derby and Chip Woolley the trainer felt he was better than he had showed in the two races in New Mexico and he was right.”
Louisiana has produced several top jockeys over the years, including Randy Romero, Shane Sellers and Kent Desormeaux. Borel said the competition among them in their early days of riding has been beneficial.
“I’ve learned a great deal from those guys,” Borel said. “It’s neat to see so many good jockeys from our state do well, it’s a credit to how much hard work we put in and how much we love the sport. We all had to work our way up from smaller tracks to bigger tracks and that takes patience. But the time put in is worth it when you win the big races and achieve great things.”
Borel also has a strong ally in the sport in his brother Cecil, a former quarter horse jockey and currently a trainer
“Cecil has been there for me on so many occasions and I’m grateful for him,” Borel said. “I’ve learned from him and there have been so many other who have been there to support me. Without good people around me, I wouldn’t have accomplished as much.”

Felix Chavez can be reached at; (575) 541-5444

Prep 5A Baseball Schedule for this weekend

Best 2 of 3
Class 5A
No. 1 La Cueva vs. No. 16 Los Lunas on Friday at 4, Saturday at 11 and 1 p.m.
No. 8 Carlsbad vs. No. 9 Santa Fe, Friday at 7 p.m, Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
No. 5 Onate vs. No. 12 Valley, Thursday at 6 p.m., Friday at noon, Friday at 3 p.m.
No. 4 Rio Grande vs. No. 13 Hobbs, Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 11 a.m. and Saturday 1 p.m.
No. 3 Las Cruces vs. No. 14 Manzano, Friday 7 p.m., Saturday at 11 a.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m.
No. 6 Sandia vs. No. 11 Cibola, Friday at 4 p.m., Saturday, 8:30 a.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.
No. 7 Eldorado vs. No. 10 Mayfield, Friday, 4 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. and Saturday 11 a.m.
No. 2 Rio Rio Rancho vs. No. 15 Clovis, Friday 4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. and Saturday at noon

All third games are if games

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Onate, LCHS, MHS baseball

The 5A state baseball playoffs are set for May 7-9 and here is a look at the three Las Cruces schools and their times.
Onate / Valley
Game 1 - Thursday, 5/7/09 @ 6 p.m. at Apodaca
Game 2 - Friday, 5/8/09 @ 12 noon at Apodaca
"If game" - Friday, 5/8/09 @ 3 p.m. at Apodaca

LCHS / Manzano
Game 1 - Friday, 5/8/09 @ 7 p.m. at Apodaca
Game 2 - Saturday, 5/9/09 @ 11 a.m. at Apodaca
"If game" - Saturday, 5/9/09 @ 1 p.m. at Apodaca

Mayfield / Eldorado
Game 1 - Friday, 5/8/09 @ 4 p.m. at Eldorado
Game 2 - Saturday, 5/9/09 @ 11 a.m. at Eldorado
"If game" - Saturday, 5/9/09 @ 1 p.m. at Eldorado

Practices resume for high schools, state tourneys set

Practice can now resume for high school athletics across the state after practices were banned for the week due to the swine flu.

Also, state tournaments have been set once again. The A-AA track and field championships will be May 13-14, while the 3A-5A state championships will be May 15-16.

In baseball action, Class A-AA will have their tournament next week in Albuquerque with seeding taking place on Friday.
In 3A, 4A and 5A, first round series will take place Friday-Sunday at home sites in best 2 of 3 and the winners move on to Albuquerque May 14.

Softball will resume its regular season and wrap up May 9 with seeding on May 10. The state tournament is set for May 14-16 in Las Cruces.

Golf will have its state tournaments next week, including the 5A tourney in Cruces May 12-13. Districts now have the option of having a district tournament.

Tennis will have its individual and state team tournaments May 14-16 in Albuquerque.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

LCHS boys hoops update

Twenty applications accepted for the Las Cruces High boys basketball posistion, vacated last month by Mike Smith, who resigned after 12 years on the job.

The school hope to start interviews on Monday and done by next Friday. Coaches from out of state have applied for the job. A possible leading candidate is assistant William Benjamin, a fixture in Las Cruces for several years. He was a player at New Mexico State and has been on Smith's staff for several years.

- Felix

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mine That Bird to run in Preakness


Louisville, KY – May 4, 2009 – The connections of Mine That Bird
unanimously agreed today that they will enter the 134th running of the
Preakness® Stakes on May 16.
The decision came this morning after a light morning work at Churchill
Downs where the Birdstone gelding stretched his legs as the owners
Mark Allen and Leonard Blach watched.
“We wanted to give him some time after the Derby before we made the
decision on his future. He pulled up healthy and sound and he’s in
great spirits. All of his medicals came back clean and we feel he is
go to go,” commented Blach.
Mine That Bird will be staying at Churchill for the time being though
and shipped to Pimlico a few days before the Preakness.
“He’s happy here and doing real well, we’ll just keep him here for as
long as we can,” said Allen,”We want him fresh and ready when we make
our move to Maryland.”

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Floyd Mayweather vs. Juan Manuel Marquez

On July 18 Floyd Mayweather comes out of reetirment to meet Juan Manuel Marquez. Mayweather has been off since December of 2007. He is unbeaten and is coming off a late round knockout of Ricky Hatton.

Marquez successfully made a move to lightweight and in his last outing beat Juan Diaz. It appears the Marquez vs. Mayweather will be contested at 143 pounds.

Marquez is considered one of the sports's best, but this will be his stiffest test to day against the bigger and very fast Mayweather.

- Felix

Prep Baseball Playoff matchups

The matchups are set for the Class 5A, 4A and 3A state baseball playoffs. The first round in all three classes is best 2 of 3 and begins next Friday and Saturday. Winners move on to Albuquerque May 13-16.

In 5A, No. 1 La Cueva meets No. 16 Los Lunas
No. 2 Rio Rancho meets No. 15 Clovis
No. 3 Las Cruces High takes on No. 14 Manzano
No. 4 Rio Grande meets No. 13 Hobbs
No. 5 Onate entertains No. 12 Valley
No. 6 Sandia takes On No. 11 Cibola
No. 7 Eldorado meets No. 10 Mayfeild
No. 8 Carlsbad takes on No. 9 Santa Fe.
All Games at higher seed

In 4A
No. 1 Artesia takes on N. 16 Aztec
No. 8 Moriarty is at No. 9 Los Alamos
No. 5 Belen entertains No. 12 Silver
No. 4 Piedra Vista is at home vs. No. 13 Volcano Vista
No. 3 Farmington meets No. 14 Espanola Valley
No. 6 St. Pius is at home vs. No. 11 Bernalillo
No. 7 Goddard is at No. 10 Deming
No. 2 Albuquerque Academy meets No. 15 Roswell

In 3A
No. 1 Cobre vs. No. 16 myamura
No. 8 Hope Christian vs. No. 9 Ruidoso
No. 5 Socorro vs. No. 12 Laguna Acoma
No. 4 St. Mike's vs. No. 13 Hatch Valley
No. 3 Sandia Prep vs. No. 14 Robertson
No. 6 Portales vs. No. 11 Raton
No. 7 Pojoaque vs. No. 10 Lovington
No. 2 Bloomfield vs. No. 15 W. Las Vegas