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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, April 29, 2005

Eagles unsure about some regional track rivals

Pecos Eagle coaches Veronica Valenzuela and John Fellows know who their main competitors will be at the Region I-4A Track and Field Championships out of their own district, and out of some other parts of West Texas. But as of Wednesday they still weren’t sure about the times and distances competitors from several other districts that will be at Ratliff Stadium on Friday and Saturday for the 2005 regional meet put up at their district meets.

“They still haven’t posted the results for our region. We’re the only region that hasn’t posted its results,” said Valenzuela, who’ll have five girls competing in nine events at the I-3A meet on Friday and Saturday.

Pecos and the other District 3-3A teams will be familiar with some of the teams out of District 4-3A, which includes Sweetwater, Snyder and Abilene Wylie. But the regional meet will bring teams from as far away as the Fort Worth and Waco areas to Ratliff Stadium over the next two days.

“We know all about Snyder and Sweetwater, since we’ve faced them all year,” said Fellows. The Eagles also have faced some of the teams from the Panhandle and saw a couple of Fort Worth area teams earlier this month at the San Angelo Relays.

Sweetwater will be among the favorites at the regional meet on the boys’ side, as will 3-3A champ Monahans, while the Eagles will have only two returning regional competitors from a year ago in seniors Jummy Akinyode and Rashad Terry. Both will run in the 200 meter dash, while Akinyode will also be entered in the 400 meters, which she won at district two weeks ago.

“We know about (Snyder’s) October Wells. I think she has the fastest time in the region, at 59 something, but it’s not out of reach,” Valenzuela said of the 400 meter race. Wells was a state qualifier this year and ran a 60.71 time last month at Ratliff Stadium, in the West Texas Relays. Akinyode ran a 64.06 that day, but took the district title in Fort Stockton with a 60.59 time.

She edged Seminole’s Erin Sheets to win that race, while placing second by one second to Cassie Smalls of Monahans in the 200 meter dash at district, with a 27.15 time. Canyon’s Bryne Fuller beat out Sheets in Odessa to win the 200 last month, while Akinyode finished behind Sheets in fourth place.

Canyon runners will also be the main challenge for Pecos’ two distance qualifiers, Heather and Kathryn Lamka. The freshmen placed first and third respectively in the 3200 meter run, while Heather Lamka also qualified for regionals with a third place finish in the 1600 meters.

Kathryn Lamka won the district title with a 13:32.18 time, but Valenzuela said, “It’s going to be tough at regionals with the Canyon girls.” At the West Texas Relays last month, Canyon’s Morgan Kuykendall sent a new meet record with an 11:19.32 time in the two-mile race and also won the 1600 meters, while two other teammates took the No. 2 spots in the 1600 and 3200 meters.

The Eagles’ other two regional qualifiers for the girls are junior Jessica Florez and sophomore Chantel Mazone in the shot put and discus. Both threw in the 35-foot range at district in the shot and between 106 and 108 feet in the discus, but will probably have to improve on those results to advance to Austin. Last year at regionals, Pecos’ Stephanie Herrera won the discus with a 129-foot-11 throw, while just missing a trip to state in the shot put, placing third with a 38-foot-5 effort.

Herrera and Terry were Pecos’ two state qualifiers last year. Terry went in both the 100 and 200 meter dash, but a leg injury kept him out of the 100 meters at district, and he collapsed at the finish line after winning the 200 meters with a 23.52 time. Last year at regionals, he won the 200 meters with a 22.17 time.

“We’ll just go down there and try and compete and do the best we can,” Fellow said. The Eagles will also have Pete Juarez entered in the 200 meters. He ran a 23.58 at district and cut that last week at a regional qualifiers meet in Iraan.

Ricardo Morales is the regional alternate in that race, and he and Terry will be entered in the high jump on Friday morning. Terry placed second and Morales third in the high jump at district, clearing 6-feet. Terry qualified last year in the high jump, but failed to place in the Top 6 at regionals.

The other regional qualifier, senior Chad Evans, qualified last year in the shot put, but was ineligible when the regional competition rolled around. This time, foot faults on his three attempts at district kept Evans from going in the shot put, but he qualified with a third place finish in the discus, with a 143-foot-6 throw. Evans has thrown just under 156 feet this year, while Seminole’s Bryan Brown won the event at district with a 162-foot effort.

All of the Eagle athletes will compete on Friday, while Florez and Mazone are also assured of going back on Saturday, when the shot put finals are held. The boys high jump and girls discus will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, with the boys’ discus set for a 12 noon start. The finals of the 3200 meter run will begin at 1:30 p.m., with the running preliminaries in the other races will start at 2:30 p.m. Running finals on Saturday are set for a 1:15 p.m. start.

Eagles’ Martinez earns state golf berth

Pecos Eagles junior Shelly Martinez came away with a trip to the Class 3A state golf tournament in Austin on May 12-13, while her teammates and Pecos Eagle boys’ golfer Michael Nichols saw their seasons come to an end on Tuesday, after the final round of the Region I-3A Tournaments in Midland and Odessa.

Playing at the Nueva Vista Golf Course in Midland, Martinez took third place in the medalist standings after a four hole playoff, finishing with a 77-78-155 score for the 36-hole tournament. At the same time, the Eagles ended up in fourth place as a team in the tournament, which saw District 4-3A winner Snyder and runner-up Sweetwater earn the two state berths, while District 3-3A champ Monahans finished third.

As a team, Pecos shot a 347 on Monday at Nueva Vista, and cut 13 strokes off that total on Tuesday to finish with a 334 score for a 681 total. The Eagles had the fourth-best score both days in the tournament, but finished much closer to the leaders overall on Tuesday.

“I was real proud of the girls. They came back and fought hard. Fourth place isn’t bad for regionals,” said Eagles’ coach Tina Doan. “We came back the second day and only finished two strokes behind Sweetwater, but we were too far behind before that.”

Martinez won the playoff over Sweetwater’s Brittany Mercer, who made up one stroke on Martinez during the second day of the tournament. Monahans’ Allison Jordan, who beat out Martinez for the District 3-3A medalist title, won the Region I-3A championships as well with a 76-73-149 score, while Mercer’s teammate Kelly Rainbolt was second, with a 75-77-152 total.

“The only reason we had a playoff was for the medal, because they give away first, second and third place individual medals,” Doan said. “The Mercer girl already was going to state with her team.”

Sweetwater used a strong opening round to take the first day lead, but were unable to improve on their score Tuesday. That allowed Snyder to pass them for the regional title by one stroke, with a 336-326-662, but the Mustangs’ opening round was enough to hold off Monahans, which shot a 341 on Monday and cut that to a 328 on Tuesday for a 669 score. Pecos finished 27 strokes ahead of fifth place Breckenridge, which shot a 362-346-708 for the tournament.

Aside from Martinez, teammate Jennie Canon also placed in the Top 10 in the medalist standings. The senior tied for eighth place with rounds of 82 both days for a 164 score. Elenaor Mason bounced back from an opening round 92 to shoot an 84 on Tuesday for a 176 final score, while Carolina Briones shot a 96-90-186 and Rica Pino shot a 96-102-198 for the two days of play.

“I lose my senior, Jennie Canon, but the young girls know what they have to do now to get back to regionals,” Doan said. “Eleanor had a better round the second day and stayed with her group. Jennie was consistent and Carolina came through and showed she can shoot lower scores.”

Nichols had a shot at a state berth on the boys’ side after the opening round of play at Ratliff Ranch in Odessa on Monday. His round of 74 left him tied for fifth place in the medalist standings, three shots out of the lead. But the senior shot a 75 on Tuesday while a number of other golfers cut their scores into the 60s and ended up tied for 12th place in the final standings with a 149 score.

“He was right with them the first day. A 71-74 is not that big a spread,” said Eagles’ coach Kim Anderson, who added that Nichols was still in the race halfway through the second round.

“The second day he made the turn at one under and was right there with them,” Anderson said, but was unable to stay up with the leaders on the back nine, winding up with bogeys on three straight holes to fall out of contention.

“Mikey had a chance for two eagles on the front nine, and they just rimmed out and came back at him,” Anderson said. “One of them was completely in the hole and came back out, so sometimes it’s just a matter of luck.”

Canyon shot a 295 on Tuesday after an opening round of 311 to win the tournament with a 606 score, while Graham got the other state berth with a 303-305-608 total, one stroke ahead of Abilene Wylie. The two District 3-3A qualifiers for regionals, Seminole and Fort Stockton, placed seventh and ninth in the 16-team tournament, with the Indians’ final round of 298 not being enough to make up for a 328 score on opening day. They finished at 626, while the Panthers shot a 326-311-637.

Seminole’s Brady Shivers, who won the district medalist title, shot 73s both day and placed eighth overall in the regional standings with a 146 total. The other golfer besides Nichols to advance from the 3-3A tournament as a medalist, Monahans’ Victor Calzada, struggled to an 87 on Monday, and then improved to a 74 for a 161 final score.

Perryton’s Miles Seybert won a three-way playoff for the Region I-3A medalist title on the first hole of play, after shooting a 71-70-141. Kevin Doskocil of Hillsboro was second after rounds of 72 and 69, while Sweetwater’s Ryan Williams placed third and also won a state berth, with rounds of 73 and 68.

“This was the toughest regional I’ve seen. A 149 gets him in (to state) last year. Three 141s are three under par for the three medalists. You generally don’t see that at regionals,” Anderson said.

Pecos closes year at Lamesa after elimination

The Pecos Eagles’ last hope to stay in the District 3-3A playoff race ended Tuesday night without the Eagles ever taking the field, as the Greenwood Rangers clinched the third and final playoff berth out of 3-3A win a win over the Fort Stockton Panthers.

Greenwood’s 18-4 win over Fort Stockton eliminated both the Eagles and Panthers from the playoff race, and left Friday’s season-ending game for Pecos in Lamesa against the Golden Tornadoes as a chance for head coach Elias Payan to take one more look at his 2005 team before the 2006 season.

With no seniors on the varsity roster, Payan will have all of his players back from this year’s team that will be trying to end their district season at the .500 level with a win over the Tors, who are winless in 3-3A play. The Eagles are 5-6 in district and 10-14 overall following their 12-10 win last Saturday over the Rangers in Greenwood. The 12 runs was the second-highest total for Pecos in district play this season, behind only the 17 they scored in their first game against Lamesa in early April.

Eddie Vela picked up the win in that game, and Payan said he would start on the mound again in Friday’s 5 p.m. game. “I may pitch Edward (Valencia) and Isaiah (Rayos) as well,” Payan said. “We’re still playing to win, but if the opportunity comes where everybody can play they will.”

Vela took the loss last Friday in an 8-0 home defeat at the hands of Lamesa, which left him with a 5-3 season record. It was the third time the Eagles had been shut out in district and the fourth time they had managed two or less hits in a game, which resulted in Payan juggling his lineup for Saturday’s game against Greenwood, putting freshman Donnie Myles into the leadoff spot while moving his other freshman, Jose Chavez, down to the middle of the batting order from the leadoff position.

Myles ended up getting on base three times, while Chavez, who had been slumping in recent games at the plate, had three of Pecos’ 17 hits against the Rangers’ Dallas Golden and Logan Bawcom.

“We’ll go with basically the same lineup we’ll see for the future, with Donnie leading off,” Payan said. “I feel like Donnie has a good eye for the ball and isn’t going to strike out much. If you’ve got a leadoff hitter with that type of speed, if he gets on you’re more than likely going to score some runs.”

Friday’s trip to Lamesa is the first for Pecos since the last time the teams were part of the same district, back in 1988. Since then, Payan said the Tors have relocated to a new baseball field on the north side of town near the high school, from their old home on the south side of the city.

Payan said while the season will end for Pecos on Friday, the Eagles will be hosting former district rival Kermit and the Alpine Bucks on Monday in a playoff game for the runner-up spot out of District 1-2A behind the Crane Golden Cranes. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start, the Eagles’ coach said.

Junior swimmers place ninth, 14 at state

The Pecos Eagle junior high boys swimming team picked up one gold medal and placed ninth, while Pecos’ junior high girls were 14th this past weekend, at the 2005 Texas Middle School Swimming and Diving Championships in San Antonio.

Competing against sixth, seventh and eighth graders from all classifications and from both public and private school districts, the Eagles finished with 14 points in the girls division and with 48 on the boys’ side. The combined score of 62 points was good for 11th place overall in the standings, out of 48 schools that scored points at the two-day meet. “I thought our swimmers performed well this past weekend,” said Junior High coach Evan Bates. “The newest members of our team had a glimpse of what it was like to swim against athletes from other areas of Texas. The competition was a little more difficult this year, with 60 total teams there.”

The meet was divided into two divisions, for grades 6 and 7 and for grades 8 and 9, though no ninth graders competed for Pecos at the meet, and some seventh graders competed in the 8-9 division.

Individually, the highest finishes for the boys came from eighth grader Josh Elliott, who won the boys 8-9 grade 50 yard butterfly with a time of 27.84 seconds. The Eagles also picked up medals in the 6-7 grade 1 meter diving competition, where Parker Johnson placed second, in the 6-7 grade 50 yard freestyle, where Derek Teague finished second, and from Elliott, who was third in the 8-9 grade 50 yard backstroke. The girls’ best finish was in the 6-7 grade 50-yard butterfly, where Alyson Reynolds placed fourth.

The Eagles boys 200 yard medley relay team placed sixth in the Grade 8-9 division, with eighth graders Frankie Morin, Elliott, Hector Roman joined by seventh grader Teague. The girls’ 200 medley team was entered in the 6-7 year old group, with Conner Armstrong, Reynolds, Anatalia Hernandez and Adrianna Roman finishing 10th. In the 200 freestyle relay, both the boys and girls teams competed in the 6-7 grade bracket, with the girls again placing 10th, while the boys’ team of Teague, Gus Mendoza, Parker Johnson and Tanner Hardwick finished eighth.

Roman was fifth in the 8-9 boys 1 meter diving; Teague was fifth and Mendoza 13th in the 6-7 grade 100 yard freestyle; Mendoza was 15th and Hardwick 24th in the 6-7 boys 50 free; Hardwick was 12th in the 6-7 50 fly; Morin was sixth in the 8-9 grade 50-yard backstroke; and Johnson was 21st in the 6-7 grade 50 yard breaststroke.

Armstrong was seventh, Hernandez 22nd and Roman 30th in the girls 6-7 50 yard freestyle; Armstrong was also seventh in the 6-7 grade 50 yard backstroke; Hernandez was 22nd and Roman 25th in the 50 fly; and Niki Lindemann was 19th in the 8-9 50 fly. “The overall turnout for swimming this season was very good, which also reflected the number of swimmers and divers we took to this meet,” Bates said.

Andrews was the only other school from Pecos’ high school district entered in the meet, and scored 10 points in the girls’ division. Hill Country Middle School won the girls division title with 118 points, while O.L. Slaton Junior High from Lubbock and Hill Country Middle School tied for the boys’ title, both with 88 points.

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