The clock is rapidly clicking down on the winter schedule for high school sports. The state championships for swimming and diving are scheduled for later this week in Albuquerque and the state meet for wrestling will be held at the same time in Rio Rancho.
If that’s not enough, this is the final week of the prep basketball regular season.
There’s much to do in the next few days.
The hectic swimming and diving finals get underway Friday morning at the Albuquerque Academy Natatorium. A number of local swimmers will take part, but it’s a meet that, as usual, should be dominated by metro-area schools as well as a few from the southern part of the state.
The St. Michael’s and Los Alamos boys and girls are expected to contend for a top-10 spot in the team standings, but most of the Northern trips to the podium should come in the form of the occasional challenger in individual events.
The boys’ swimming competition might offer very few shots at a medal.
St. Michael’s eighth-grader Sam Kaiser had one of the top point totals in the 1-meter diving competition, scoring 138.35 points during the Demon Invitational on Dec. 15 at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center. That total placed him among the top five in the state heading into last weekend’s district meets and, if it holds up at state, would put him in contention for the winner’s podium.
The girls’ meet offers more promise.
St. Michael’s won its district meet in Farmington while its boys finished second. The Lady Horsemen won a number of individual events and most of those winners are expected to be among the contenders for the podium at state.
Their 200 medley relay team signaled its potential in the Jan. 18 Albuquerque Academy Invitational with a time of 2 minutes, 1.6 seconds, then bettered that mark by nearly two seconds in Farmington. Both times give the Lady Horsemen one of the top state qualifying marks in the event.
St. Michael’s underclassmen Rachel Langone (200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke) and Kirsten Sweers (100 butterfly, 100 backstroke) should contend for a medal, as will Taos sprinter Issa Wilson (50 freestyle) and Los Alamos junior Ashlynn Bennett (500 freestyle).
The real star could come out of the diving competition. St. Michael’s sophomore Crista Palermo is considered a favorite for a state title.
The state wrestling tournament will announce its pairings on Thursday. The entire tournament will be held at the Santa Ana Star Center starting Friday. The championship rounds begin Saturday evening.
St. Michael’s returns to defend its title in Class 1A-3A. The Horsemen rolled to the District 1-5A-AAA championship over the weekend, a victory parade that included another win for undefeated heavyweight Andres Blea. The senior improved to 32-0 in the 285-pound division.
Luke Sanchez (170), Korey Windham (160), Jose Ocampo (138), Mario Olivas (126), Kevin Trujillo (120), Geno Palermo (113) and Clayton Montoya (103) all won district titles for the Horsemen.
St. Michael’s has won two of the last three A-AAA state championships.
Not to be forgotten, basketball offers a handful of marquee games this week on both the boys and girls side.
Capital’s boys can nail down the top seed in next week’s District 2AAAA tournament with a win Wednesday at last-place Los Alamos. The Jaguars can clinch the outright district championship by taking down the Hilltoppers, then Santa Fe High on Saturday.
St. Michael’s can only hope for a tiebreaking scenario in 5AAA. The Horsemen need a win over Sandia Prep on Thursday, then have Prep beat Hope Christian in the regular season finale to have any chance.
The 5AAA girls race essentially comes down to Wednesday’s Hope-Santa Fe Indian School girls game at the Pueblo Pavilion Wellness Center. Hope can clinch first place with a win; SFIS can all but assure a one-game playoff on Feb. 25 with a win.
Santa Fe High’s girls can clinch the 2AAAA championship by beating Bernalillo and Capital later this week. The Demonettes lead Espanola Valley by a half game in the standings.