United a playoff contender as season winds down
Aug. 8—So far, so good.
Despite losing a pair of matches last week, New Mexico United is still in great shape as the United Soccer League's Championship season prepares to enter the home stretch. With 38 points and 23 matches in hand, United is sitting alone in fourth place in the Western Conference standings with 11 matches remaining.
Losses to Sacramento Republic FC and The Miami FC over a four-game span at Isotopes Park dropped New Mexico to 10-5-8. The good news is six of club's remaining matches are on the road, a place where United has won or tied 10 of the 12 matches it has played.
The top eight clubs in each conference make the playoffs, and as of Sunday, New Mexico was within three points of third place and five points of falling out of the postseason altogether.
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The two teams who caught and passed the Santa Fe Fuego in the final month of the Pecos League's regular season have captured lightning in a bottle.
Both teams, Trinidad and Roswell, pulled first-round upsets over the weekend and will now meet in the Mountain Division finals. Trinidad spotted Alpine a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three series in Texas, but the Triggers outscored the Cowboys 15-6 in the final two games to move on.
Roswell, which finished fourth in the final standings, 101/2 games behind Garden City, knocked off the top-seeded Wind with wins in Games 1 and 3. Garden City's 36-10 record in the regular season was easily the best mark in the division.
The Pacific Division finals has San Rafael hosting Tucson. San Rafael entered the playoffs on a 17-game winning streak and kept it rolling by plating 32 runs in sweeping aside Santa Rosa. Tucson, which went 34-8 to reach the playoffs, swept Bakersfield in the other series.
The best-of-three division finals begin Monday in Trinidad, Colo., and San Rafael, Calif.
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Monday kicks off practices for the rest of fall sports for high schools, so soccer, volleyball and cross-country will get their seasons underway.
Santa Fe High and Capital will hold volleyball tryouts. Capital is starting tryouts Monday and Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Edward A. Ortiz Memorial Gymnasium. Players should arrive by 5:15 p.m. to change clothes and warm up.
Santa Fe High will hold varsity tryouts from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday in Toby Roybal Memorial Gymnasium. Junior varsity tryouts are set for 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and the C-team is set for 4 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
In order to tryout, players must submit all paperwork to participate by Thursday at bit.ly/3vMM7uQ.
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The second annual Fedonta "JB" White Memorial 3-on-3 Tourney, set for this weekend at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center and Fort Marcy Complex, had 45 teams signed up as of Thursday. The registration deadline is Wednesday and costs $100, which includes a free T-shirt and wristband honoring White, a Santa Fe High star basketball player who was shot and killed in 2020.
All proceeds go toward a scholarship foundation in White's name.
Games run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. the following day. The tournament is open to fourth graders to adults with divisions comprising up to 10 teams for each.
To register, go to fedontaforever.com or call Adolph Campos at 505-557-8810.
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The University of New Mexico football team will crank up the wayback machine a few times this season by honoring some of the best teams and players from its past.
This week, head coach Danny Gonzales said the program will pay tribute to the 1962 WAC championship team, a team led by school legends like Bobby Santiago and Jim Cromartie.
About a dozen surviving members of that team will convene for an in-game ceremony at University Stadium the night of Sept. 17 when the Lobos host UTEP in the third game of the season.
This season also marks the 40-year anniversary of the only 10-win team in school history. The 1982 Lobos coached by Joe Morrison went 10-1 and finished second to Brigham Young in the WAC. The Cougars handed UNM its only loss, a 40-12 drubbing midseason at University Stadium.
That Lobos team famously never received a bowl invitation. Tulsa also went 10-1 that season, going undefeated in the same Missouri Valley Conference that housed New Mexico State.
The pair were matched in the fictitious 1982 Justice Bowl, a computer simulation played out with algorithms weighted by statistics from each team. It even had a fictitious site, TCU's Amon Carter Stadium because Fort Worth, Texas, is something close to the halfway point for both schools.
Depending on who's doing the talking, the Lobos won 30-27 or lost 27-24. Radio stations from both teams feigned broadcasts of the "game" as legendary Lobos broadcaster Mike Roberts took part in a broadcast aired in New Mexico on KKOB 770-AM.
Gonzales said about 40 players from that team have committed to attending a ceremony that same Sept. 17 date against UTEP.
The honors really don't stop there, either. Weeks will be inducted into his alma mater's hall of fame Sept. 24. An Iowa State alum, Weeks was a quarterback for the Cyclones from 1949-50. He took over at UNM when Marv Levy stepped aside after the 1959 season.
Weeks coached the Lobos from 1960-67. His 1964 team went 9-2.