Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lobos do it again

Well, well, well, what a shocker, the University of New Mexico lands a commitment from an in-state football recruit. The most recent commit was Onate High's Zach Daugherty, who will be a senior in the fall at OHS. Daugherty plays middle linebacker for the Knights and he could very well play there in college. He's a good athlete, who plays the game with a great motor and with great passion. Daugherty joins several New Mexico players, including several Las Cruces kids, who have decided to make the trek up north.

Once again, New Mexico State fails to make the right connection with a local in-town kid for whatever reason. The school can give whatever reasons it wants to, but again the Lobos prove they have the better attraction, the better football program and what ever it does in terms of recruiting in-state kids continues to work.

Daugherty has a chance to make waves down the road as a player because of his abilty to be a play-maker. But first up is his senior season at OHS, where he has a chance to put the Knights on the map in Class 5A.

- Felix

Friday, June 26, 2009

Trout wins, now 18-0

TORONTO — Las Cruces junior middleweight prospect Austin Trout improved to 18-0 in his career with a win against Shawn Garnett on Friday night.
Garnett falls to 11-6-2 in his career.
Trout won the eight-round fight by scores of 80-72, 78-74 and 78-73 according to the Trout team.
“Austin started slower than usual,” trainer Louie Burke said. “But he picked things up as the fight went on and started landing solid combinations. He was fighting a tough fighter. It was a good win for Austin.”
Burke said he hopes to have Trout back in the ring by early September if not sooner.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mine That Bird update

I talked to Mine That Bird trainer Chip Woolley today. Mine That Bird is slated to run in the West Virginia Derby, followed by the Travers before the end of the year Breeders' Cup.

- Felix

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Preseason High School Football Top 10 for NM

Just for the heck of it, here's a preseason Top 10 football poll for NM high school in Class 5A only.

1. La Cueva
2. Mayfield
3. Eldorado
4. Las Cruces
5. Clovis
6. Onate
7. Sandia
8. Cibola
9. Rio Rancho
10. Highland

Sept. 6 boxing show

Las Cruces boxing folks are trying to put together a Sept. 6 boxing show in Las Cruces involving Austin Trout, Sammy DiPace, Ricky Vasquez and perphaps Abie Han. Stay tuned for more on that.

Also, the junior middleweight and unbeaten Trout fights next Friday in Toronto against Shawn Garnett.

- Felix

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Onate High makes solid hire

Onate High School lost a solid coach in Adrian Ortega, but late last week picked up a solid coach in now former Gadsden assistant coach Saul Perez.

Perez has learned under the tutelage of Gadsden head coach Mike Harper for many years.

Perez is a solid basketball guy and he's helped overlook the improvement of the Panthers program. He inherits an Onate team which went 17-13 last year and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 5A state basketball tournament.

Onate will have to replace several key players, but does return guard Tim Jacobs and forward Zach Daugherty among others.

Perez will have tough shoes to follow in Ortega, but again he's a solid x's and o's type of guy and it's great to see him get rewarded for his hard work as an assistant.

He won't have much time to work with his charges this summer, but he knows the district 3-5A well and he should have a good idea of what the Knights have in terms of personnel.

Perez' hiring means two of the five teams in 3-5A have new coaches. William Benjamin was hired recently to replace Mike Smith after several years as Smith's assistant.

- Felix

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ortega lands job

After leaving Onate High and after shown interest in the Rio Rancho and Belen jobs, former Onate High School boys basketball coach Adrian Ortega has landed the head boys basketball job at Atrisco Heritage Acadmey High School.

Ortega coached OHS to a 17-13 mark and a spot in the Class 5A boys basketball semifinals this past March.

Atrisco Heritage Academy is a new high school in ABQ and will compete on the varsity level beginning in the 2010-11 season.

Adrian Ortega has been hired as the boys basketball coach at Atrisco Heritage Academy High School, Mark Garcia, the school’s athletics director, said Tuesday.
Ortega coach

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Some notes on Onate High Boys basketball search

There are six candidates for the Onate High School boys basketball job as of Tuesday. It looks like former Mesilla Valley Christian and Hatch Valley coach Claud Gobble has applied.

Four of the candidates are assistants and two have head coaching experience. Interviews are set for Thursday and an offer could happen or the the job could stay open.

- Felix

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Siju Shabazz gives it a great ride

It hasn't been long since Siju Shabazz began his boxing career, but it didn't take long for him to pick up the sport and fare well at it.
Shabazz has only been a participant in the sport for around six years, but he's learned fast and he's won two national titles and nearly won a third on Saturday night. In 2007, he won the National Golden Gloves and last year he won the National Police Athletic League title. On Saturday, he just missed out on winning the USA National Boxing Championship, losing a close, 11-9 decision.

Had Shabazz won the championship, he would have been the first New Mexico fighter to win national titles at the GG, USA and the National PAL's. Not too bad for Shabazz, who comes from a very talented family, which includes Siddeeq, Shukree and Sina, all of whom played or are playing college football.

Siju has certainly come into his own as a boxer and that's been due to his hard work and patience. Siju has had to work at being a good fighter and the results have been due to his hard work. To nearly win three national titles and to represent the U.S. in international events says a great deal about Shabazz.

Now the question is whether Shabazz will turn pro or stay amateur. Either way, it will be beneficial for him. If he stays amateur, he'll gain more experience, if he turns pro, then he can move on and see what he can do.

- Felix

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Siju Shabazz falls in final

Las Cruces amateur fighter Siju Shabazz came up just short on Saturday night for his quest for a third national boxing title. Shabazz lost in the 178-pound division of the light heavyweight division of the USA Boxing National Championships in Denver.

He lost 11-9 to Robert Brant. Shabazz won the 2008 National PAL Championships and the 2007 National Golden Gloves.

Shabazz had a solid week, but apparently got behind early Saturday night and to do some catching up.

- Felix

Boxing Prospects

With several hispanic boxing stars such as Oscar De La Hoya, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and others retired or close to retiring, the need for new hispanic boxing stars is critical.

I was able to see two of the sport's rising stars on Thursday night and Friday night on TV. Featherweight Charles Huerta is an up and comer with an 11-0 mark. He has a good skill level and has good power. He is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and has a bright future. He is patient in the ring and with more experience will be a solid fighter down the road.

Meanwhile, Garcia is a tough nosed fighter with decent power at 140 pounds. Garcia is also a patient fighter and has plenty of experience in his career dating back to his amateur days.

Both Garcia and Huerta have the pedigree to be good fighters. If they can both stay focused and keep busy, they have bright futures. Hispanic fight fans and fight fans in general are always looking for future boxing champs and it looks like two more might be on the way.

- Felix

Friday, June 12, 2009

Siju Shabazz at USA Nationals Boxing

Looks like Las Cruces amateur boxer Siju Shabazz has reached the finals of the USA Boxing Nationals in Denver, Colo.

The light heavyweight beat Steve Geffrard 20-15 on Thursday night to improve to 3-0 at the tournament.

Shabazz will meet Robert Brant in the finals.

Shabazz is a two-time national winner, winning last year's PAL's and the 2007 Golden Gloves.

- Felix

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Miguel Cotto vs. Joshua Clottey

On Saturday night in New York City, Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey meet in a 12-round welterweight bout. This is Cotto's first big fight since losing to Antonio Margarito last summer.

Cotto needs a win Saturday night to stay in contention for even bigger fights for the future. Cotto is tough and strong willed and he'll be taking on a very good fighter in Clottey, who has beaten Zab Judah and who gave Margarito a hard time in their meeting.

Clottey is a good boxer and will test Cotto. But Cotto has improved his offensive arsenal and will be just fine in that area. The fight will come down to the final few rounds, but Cotto has been in a lot of tough fights and has the edge I believe in that area. Unless Cotto just struggles, I think he'll do well late and win by a decision, 116-112.

- Felix

Monday, June 8, 2009

Siju Shabazz wins first bout

Las Cruces amateur boxer Siju Shabazz won his first fight at the USA Boxing National Championships in Denver, Colo, on Monday night.
Shabazz beat Dorian Anthony of Los Angeles, Calif., by a score of 18-9 in the 178-pound division.

He led 6-3 after round round and 12-7 after round two.

- Felix

Ring Magazine and boxing hopefuls

A pair of El Paso fighters were mentioned this week in the Ring Magazine, the Bible of Boxing.

Heavyweight David Rodriguez was listed as the most protected heavyweight out there despite his unbeaten record and junior featherweight Antonio Escalante was listed as on his way up in he sport and the division.

Rodriguez has yet to meet anyone of significance and he must do something to quiet the critics. Rodriguez has talent, but he must show he can hang with elite.

Escalante has taken on some tough fighters and is to be respected in his weight class. He is a game fighter, who can still improve, but is finding his way through.

- Felix

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mine That Bird and Triple Crown

The Triple Crown run is now over for Mine That Bird. The 3-year-old gelding, who ran twice at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino and who was training at the track, won the Kentucky Derby, ran second in the Preakness and was in the lead in the Belmont before tiring and finishing third.

What a run it was for Mine That Bird, who ran second and fourth in races at Sunland park. He improved and matured a great deal during his Triple Crown run under trainer Chip Woolley.

Mine That Bird really didn't have a bad race during the three races and now he can take a break. He may run in something small before the Breeders' Cup Classic in November. But he to be considered one of the favorites to win the Breeders' Cup Classic. Not bad for a horse who was originally purchased for $9,500.

What do you think of Mine That Bird's run through the Triple Crown?

- Felix

Adrian Ortega and Onate

It's too bad that Adrian Ortega left Onate High School last week. In just one season as the boys basketball coach, he left a mark with the program. He established a winning attitude and a new form of discipline.

The Knights were much better defensively and much tougher than in previous years. And the results were profound. Onate finished second in District 3-5A and won a state playoff game, advance to the Pit in Albuquerque for the first time since 2002.

OHS needs to take its time in finding a good coach with a good background. Ortega was a good fit for the Knights and it's too bad that things didn't work out for him at OHS, he had to leave because of family commitments and that's honorable. Ortega is a solid coach and he'll do fine down the road at some other school.

- Felix

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rodney Pollard gone at Las Cruces High

It was learned Wednesday that Las Cruces High softball coach Rodney Pollard had tendered his resignation. The LCHS program seemed to improve while he was the head coach, especially the last two years.

It seemed as if some thought the program had grown stagnant. It's tough to say but the fact is that the program won a lot of games the past two years and did well in the state playoffs. Had the Bulldawgs won one more game this year, would it be different?

Well, Pollard did a decent job and he'll be missed. But whoever the new coach is has plenty of talent returning next season.

- Felix

George Maya and New Mexico State women's basketball

According to a key source, it looks like Mayfield High School girls basketball coach George Maya is leaning towards taking an assistant coaches job at New Mexico State under Darin Spence. Maya has won two state titles at Mayfield and finished second twice. A decision could be made in the next 1-2 weeks.

- Felix

Monday, June 1, 2009

More Belmont Stakes and more Mine That Bird

It seems as if all the connections of Mine That Bird are very confident entering Saturday's mile and a half Belmont Stakes, the final part of the Triple Crown of horse racing.

And well they should be. The horse seems fresh and he's improved a great deal in winning the Kentucky Derby and finishing a game second in the Preakness.

Mine That Bird has simply gotten better in the past five weeks and trainer Chip Woolley deserves a great deal of credit for that improvement. Woolley has worked hard to train the horse and get him ready for the long haul of a Triple Crown series.

Mine That Bird has matured so much since he ran at Sunland Park racetrack and Casino. Did anyone expect the gelding to do what he's done? No, but his team felt like there was room for improvement.

In addition, Mine That Bird gets jockey Calvin Borel back aboard. Borel gave Mine That Bird a great ride in the Kentucky Derby, rallying from several lengths back along the rail to pass the field and win by more than six lengths. Borel rode the great filly Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness and edged Mine That Bird, which was coming on.

Mine That Bird's connections were planning on running the horse in the Belmont even before the chance to ride in the Kentucky Derby came up. They felt the horse's abilities were suited for the Belmont and now there is the chance to win two-thirds of the Triple Crown.


Borel expressed a great deal of confidence on Monday and feels his

The Koerper's

Jason Groves wrote a solid story on Kristoffer and Joe Koerper that will run in the June 2 paper.

Both were very good players for Onate High School and both will give it a try on the collegiate level at New Mexico State. But first up is a trip to California for a Wooden Bat league.

Joe just capped his high school career last month, helping lead the Knights to the 5A semifinals. Joe improved as a hitter during his senior year, spraying the ball around the field more often it seemed. He has solid power and if he can handle collegiate pitching next spring, he might have a chance to crack the NMSU lineup.

Kristoffer is an interesting story in his own right. He was a very good prep player, then went on his Mormon mission and hasn't played in a couple of years. He'll have to regain form this summer, but if he can do it, then the Aggies will have found themselves quite a player. Kristoffer originally signed with Brigham Young out of high school and he too was a very good high school player.

Both guys have a lot of experience as players and it's going to be interesting to see how they can transform their game from the high school level to the college game.

- Felix