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Area Newspaper and Travel Guide for Reeves County, Ward County, Trans-Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas


Thursday, Dec. 18, 1997

Balmorhea fighter claims state title

PECOS, Dec. 18 -- A Balmorhea boxer earned a berth in the
Texas Silver Gloves regional tournament next month in Little
Rock, Ark., after tournament competition in Midland and Fort
Worth the past two weekends.

Robbie Mendoza was one of seven Balmorhea boxers, and among
five overall from the area, to compete in the Dec. 5-6
tournament in Midland, with Mendoza, Kevin Machuca and Jesse
Flores advancing to the state tournament on Dec. 12-14 at
Fort Worth.

Mendoza fought in the 11-12 year-old (Junior) division at
100 pounds, earning his trip to Fort Worth, where he
advanced in a walkover, his coach, Abel B. Rodriguez said.
Machuca also fought in the Junior Division at 132 pounds,
where he lost in the finals to a fighters from South Texas,
while Flores fought in the Intermediate Division (13-14) at
100 pounds, and were beaten by a Gulf Coast-area boxers in
the semifinals, Rodriguez said.

"Kevin faced an experienced fighter who outpointed him,"
Rodriguez said. "Jesse lost, but he fought a real good
fight. He lost in the second round when the referee stopped
the contest."

Balmorhea fighter Brandon Mendoza competed in the
nine-year-old division and was defeated by Gilbert Chacon of
Midland at the area Silver Gloves Box-Off, though Rodriguez
said he also fought well in a losing effort.

Also fighting in Midland were Roy Cade, 9, and Santaigo
Ortega, Jr., 14, though their bouts were not to advance to
state competition. In the Open Division at Midland, Abel
`Torito" Rodriguez also fought for Balmorhea.

The other fighter at the Midland Silver Gloves, was
Pecos-Barstow Warbirds boxer, Jaime Montano, who lost in his
division to Joseph Minjarez of Lamesa, Warbirds manager Fred
Martin said.

"He looked good for a while, then the other kid pounded
him," Martin said. "Hopefully Jaime learned his lesson from

Rodriguez just formed the Balmorhea boxing team recently, he
said, and has gotten help from Mike Cade in funding
equipment and the team's trip to Fort Worth.

"He has funded in excess of $5,000 of boxing equipment to
the Balmorhea Boxing Club," Rodriguez said. He added that
Cade also fights, in the Masters Division (34 years and
older) at 165 pounds, ad is the local champion in the
Middleweight class.

While Balmorhea has a new boxing team, Warbirds trainer Roy
Juarez said the number of fighters on the Pecos-Barstow team
this year is down. He currently has Ricky Rubio, Chris
Fuentes and Peter Juarez in training.

"Our little kids are growing up, and started participating
in (junior high) school sports," Martin said. "We encourage
them to play in school sports, and they do that over boxing,
but hopefully, we'll have a good team for the Golden Gloves."

Pecos will host the West of the Pecos Golden Gloves on Feb.
13-14 at the Reeves County Civic Center, and Martin said he
"might try to put on something before then.

"It would be tough to do in such a short time, but I'm
already working on the Golden Gloves, so we should have a
good tournament," he added.

UT's Conradt seeking 700th win

AP Sports Writer
AUSTIN, Dec. 18 -- Texas' Jody Conradt can't remember her
first victory. But no one is letting her forget the
significance of her next.

Conradt, the all-time winningest coach in women's college
basketball, goes for victory No. 700 tonight at home against

With an overall record of 699-202 (77.6 percent), Conradt
would become the first women's college coach and only the
eighth - men's or women's - to reach the 700-victory

The company includes the likes of North Carolina's Dean
Smith and Kentucky's Adolph Rupp.

``I think this means that I'm old and I've been around the
longest,'' Conradt, 56, joked Wednesday. ``It's nice because
people are taking note of it and because there have been a
lot of special players and games along the way.''

She is 582-137 in 22 seasons at Texas, including the first
Division I team in history to go undefeated (34-0) in
winning the national championship in 1986.

She is second only to Indiana's Bob Knight (706) in
victories among all active college coaches.

``When I first started coaching, they didn't pay people to
coach women's basketball,'' Conradt said. ``It was something
you did in addition to teaching or being an administrator.
It's great to see how everything has evolved.

``Now, coaching women's basketball is respectable with good
pay and fans are interested in the game.''

Conradt, who pulled in $12,000 a year in the early 1970s as
an administrator and coach at University of Texas-Arlington,
now takes home $255,000 per year.

Texas players would love to give their coach No. 700 as
quickly as possible.

``This victory probably should have come already,'' said
junior guard Vanessa Wallace, referring to the Longhorns'
2-4 start, due in part to a season-ending knee injury to
6-foot-4 center Carla Littleton.

``It's special to be part of a program like this and to
learn from someone who has had so much success,'' Wallace
said. ``It's great to be a part of history. So many players
contributed to this, and I'm sure they share in our
excitement for coach Conradt.''

Conradt, ever the perfectionist, said she finds it ironic
that pursuit of the victory milestone comes at a time when
her team is struggling.

``When the spotlight shines on your program, you would like
to have a winning record,'' Conradt said. ``There's irony
that it comes at a time when we are trying to find

Conradt has averaged 27.6 wins per year at Texas with one
losing season (12-16 in 1994-95).

``I guess that's what means the most, that I have been able
to sustain a level of consistency in winning,'' Conradt

She remembers her biggest loss more than her biggest
victory, however.

It was a 92-90 defeat by Western Kentucky in the 1985 NCAA
Mideast Regional. The Lady Longhorns were hosting the Final
Four that year and were favored to win the title as the
top-ranked team in the country.

``I thought I was going to die after that loss,'' Conradt
said. ``It was painful to have to come home and watch Old
Dominion cut down the nets as national champions in our

And the biggest victory?

``No one would believe me if I didn't say it was the
national championship game in 1986.''

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