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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Thursday, Aug. 17, 2000

Netters seeking more balance

Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 17, 2000 -- Pecos Eagles tennis coach Bernadette Ornelas is hoping  a more balanced team will be a better team this season, as the  Eagles prepare to open their fall schedule next weekend.

The Eagles got the majority of their victories from the boys' side two seasons ago, when they captured the District 2-4A team title. Last year, with most of that team having graduated, Pecos relied on its girl's team to pick up the bulk of their victories, as they placed second to Clint in the 2-4A standings and earned another trip to regionals.

This season, Ornelas loses about half her girls team, but gets back almost all of her boys, and said she has about two dozen players overall on the varsity and junior varsity teams.

"Right now we're stressing a lot of conditioning workouts and consistency," she said. "Next week, we'll send part of the team to Fort Stockton for a JV tournament and the rest will go to Odessa to play in a three-way meet."

The varsity opens its season at Odessa High against OHS, Seminole and Brownwood on Aug. 26 and will play their entire pre-district schedule on the road, before opening 2-4A play on Sept. 30 at home against Fabens. The Eagles do get two of their three district matches at home this season, and will also host Monahans and Fort Stockton in October, before the District 2-4A tournament Oct. 20-21 at San Elizario.

"I'm trying to get that changed, because it would be the same weekend as the (area) band competition," she said. Last year, several Pecos players had to miss the final district match against Clint after Pecos won a regional berth by beating Fabens, as they had to drive 250 miles from Fabens to Odessa for regional band competition. This year the travel won't be as far, since the area band event will be only 10 miles away, at El Paso Socorro Stadium.

Before then, the Eagles will try to improve on their results from a year ago, especially on the boys' side. "I've got back all the boys, plus I've got some freshmen who are pretty strong, and that should make the team more solid," Ornelas said.

Trent Graham was the top player on the boys' side in junior high last year, while on the girls' side, Ornelas' daughter Natalia was the No. 1 seed for the eighth graders this past spring.

The girls did lose their top two seeds from last year, in Teresa Minjarez, Vanessa Miranda and Rachel Pharoah, but get back junior Rebecca Wein, the No. 4 singles seed last season who teamed with Minjarez to earn a regional berth in doubles this past spring.

"Our girls are pretty solid, and I think we'll go into district play with some strong teams on both sides," Ornelas said.

Romanowski denying making racial remark

AP Sports Writer

DENVER, Aug. 17, 2000 — The last time linebacker Bill Romanowski  was involved in a controversy that threatened to fracture his team,  the Denver Broncos won their first of two straight Super Bowls. 

Can it happen again?

On Wednesday, Romanowski was again at the center of a potentially divisive issue.

Responding to a report in a Sports Illustrated article that he made a racial slur, Romanowski angrily called the story "an absolute lie."

One of his attorneys described the article as "terrible, baseless journalism."

The magazine reported that Romanowski, already under indictment on charges of fraudulently obtaining a diet drug, might have distributed drugs to teammates and suggested that a white teammate take the drug as the only way to compete with black players.

The unidentified teammate told SI that Romanowski used the "N-word."

Sports Illustrated spokesman Joe Assad said the magazine had no reason to question its account. "We stand by our story, we're confident in our reporting and our sources," Assad said Wednesday.

Romanowski addressed his teammates during a team meeting Wednesday morning. Later, at an emotional news conference at which he appeared near tears, in contrast to his tough-guy image, Romanowski shared his message.

"I told them that I had had a relationship with someone I considered a friend, and for reasons that I will not get into, the friendship went sour," he said. "And, for some reason I don't know, that person went and told Sports Illustrated something that I supposedly said to him.

"I told my teammates that is an absolute lie. I did not make the statement that they quoted me as saying in Sports Illustrated."

Three people close to the situation, including one of Romanowski's teammates, told The Denver Post they know the informant to be Martin Harrison, a former teammate of Romanowski's in San Francisco who was in Denver's training camp in 1998. Harrison was identified in the SI article as having given prosecutors a written statement saying Romanowski had offered him pills as pregame stimulants.

Determined to prove his innocence, Romanowski said he took a polygraph test Tuesday night and passed it.

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