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


March 23, 1998

Eagles' track squads place third at meets

PECOS, Mar. 23 -- Four Pecos Eagle seniors did as well
against new competition at track meets in Odessa and
Sweetwater this weekend as they have running against their
regular opponents during the first month of competition. A
fifth did even better, scoring his own personal best time
Saturday at the West Texas Relays.

Senior Billy Rodriguez not only broke the two minute mark
in the 800 meter run on Saturday, he finished with a 1:58
time on the Ratliff Stadium track to give Pecos the last of
its three gold medals at the two-day meet.

He was one of two Eagles to win golds at Odessa against
mostly new opponents, and the Eagles placed third in the
nine-team Class 4A division.

Meanwhile, in Sweetwater, Pecos' girls got to see the last
of their District 4-4A rivals for the first time, and had
two golds and two silvers at the Rattlesnake Relays, while
also placing third.

"I got Billy at 1:57.9," said Eagles' coach Mike Ferrell.
"It was fun to watch him run. He took control right from the
start, and if he had had any competition, he might have
broken the meet record of 1:55."

Rodriguez, who later placed third individually in the 1600
meter run, was joined in his gold medal win by senior Jeff
Brownlee, who finished first in both the shot put and discus
on Friday at Odessa, with another Eagle senior, Jake Fowler

It was the first double-win for Brownlee since the
season-opening Comanche Relays, as he took the shot put with
a 50-foot-2 throw and the discus with a toss of 151-7.

"Jeff was a little disappointed with the way he threw, but
he won and that's what's important," Ferrell said. "Jeff
knows he wants to throw his best at district, regional and

Fowler was also second in both events at the Comanche, but
had been involved in other school activities in recent weeks
and had not placed since then. On Friday, he threw a
personal-best 147-9 in the discus and 46-11½ in the shot put.

Pecos' other field event point came from Len Carson, who
was sixth in the pole vault. It was the lowest finish this
season by the Eagles in that event, but four of the five
ahead of Carson were New Mexico vaulters.

The Eagles did get to see a few Panhandle Class 4A teams,
including Lubbock Estacado and Hereford, who were first and
second in the final standings with 199 and 102 points. Pecos
was third with 75 while Artesia, N.M. was next with 68.

Estacado, Hereford and Pecos were also 1-2-3 in the 1600
meter relay, while Orlando Matta was fifth in the 400 meter
dash for the Eagles' other points. Carson, Rodriguez and
Matta were joined by Lucio Florez on the relay team.

"I'm excited about district meet. The way the kids
competed, I think we have a chance to do something real
special," Ferrell said.

Over in Sweetwater, Big Spring's girls dominated, winning
with 202 points to 70 for Andrews. The Eagles were next with
59, while their other 4-4A rival, the host Mustangs, wound
up eighth in the nine-team field.

It was the first time this season the Eagles had faced
Andrews or Sweetwater, and Senior Marisol Arenivas picked up
gold medals in both the 1600 and 3200 meter runs. She had a
5:58.53 time in the mile run, where teammate Liz Parent
placed fourth, and won the two-mile in 12:41.18, with
freshman Jenny Alvarez finishing fifth.

"Marisol cut her time again, by about two or three
seconds," said Eagles' coach Lily Talamantez of the 3200
meter run, where Arenivas earned a regional berth last year.

Senior Penny Armstrong didn't get a gold medal for the
first time this season, but she did place in front of her
4-4A rivals in the discus and high jump. She was second in
the discus with a 107-3 throw and won a tiebreaker for
second in the high jump, clearing 4-foot-10.

"We're going to go ahead and start running her. We'll
probably use her in the 800 meter relay," Talamantez said.
"She isn't as strong in her legs as when basketball season
ended, and I think running some is going to help her out."

Pecos' other medal Saturday came from Parent, who was third
in the 800 meters with a 2:45.48 time. Pecos did get a
fourth in the 800 meter relay, with Annette Marquez, Erica
Orona, Linsey Hathorn and Crystal Garcia, while Maricela
Arenivas and Hathorn were fifth and sixth in the long jump.

Early errors doom Pecos in 19-9 loss

PECOS, Mar. 23 -- The Pecos Eagles' softball team was
looking for another run to stay alive Friday, didn't get it,
and are still looking for their first-ever District 4-4A
softball victory, after dropping a 19-9 decision to the
Sweetwater Mustangs.

Playing their 4-4A home opener, the Eagles fell behind by a
big margin early, then cut the Mustangs' lead to 10 in the
fifth, but couldn't get the last run they needed to avoid
having the game end under the 10-run rule.

Eagles' coach Tammy Walls said freshman Nicole Payne struck
out in the fifth, but the ball got past the catcher. "She
didn't run to first base, and the game was over. If we had
scored that other run and stayed alive, I really think we
could have come back."

"We had some critical errors in center field and at second
base that hurt us, but we came back," Walls said. "We lost
the ball in the sun a couple of times, but that's just
experience. When we have a little bit more, we'll know how
to play the fly balls better.

"Valerie Gonzales hit the ball well, and Tammy Perkins came
in at second base, and she did a good job," Walls added.

Annette Marquez started on the mound for the Eagles, before
being replaced by her sister, Alexa, in the third inning.
"Alexa did a good job throwing strikes this time out," Walls

The loss dropped Pecos to 0-2 in district and 1-8 on the
season, while Sweetwater improved to 1-1 and 5-6 overall.
The Eagles' next game is on Tuesday at 0-2 San Angelo Lake

Final Four has two new teams, new coaches

AP Basketball Writer
The experience at this year's Final Four will be limited to
the players.

While both North Carolina and Kentucky make return trips to
the national semifinals this weekend, all four coaches will
be first-timers.

Bill Guthridge of North Carolina, Rick Majerus of Utah, Mike
Montgomery of Stanford and Tubby Smith of Kentucky will be
making their first Final Four appearances as head coaches.

And each of the schools will also be arriving in San Antonio
to cap a season in which they had to fill big voids: Utah
and Stanford having to replace star players Keith Van Horn
and Brevin Knight, while North Carolina and Kentucky will be
going the season after saying goodbye to coaches Dean Smith
and Rick Pitino.

Saturday's matchups have Stanford against Kentucky and Utah
meeting North Carolina. The winners meet next Monday night
for the national championship.

Kentucky is in the Final Four for the third straight year,
the first time a school has managed to do that since Duke,
the team the Wildcats beat Sunday in the South Regional
final, went for five straight years, 1988-92.

North Carolina, which beat Connecticut on Saturday to win
the East Regional and the only top seed still alive, is in
for the fifth time in the '90s and the 14th time overall,
tied for the most with UCLA and one more than Kentucky.

Having two teams from the West is a rarity as this is just
the fourth time it has happened, and the first since UCLA
and New Mexico State were in the 1970 Final Four.

Utah will be making its fourth trip to the national
semifinals, but its first since 1966, and Stanford has been
there just once before, when it won it all in 1942.

The last time there were four first-time coaches in the
Final Four was 1959 when Fred Schaus of West Virginia, Peck
Hickman of Louisville, George Smith of Cincinnati and Pete
Newell of California all made their debuts.

Guthridge is the seventh first-year coach to lead a team to
the Final Four, and he is also one of six Final Four coaches
who also participated in it as a player, just like his
former boss. Guthridge played for Kansas State in 1958 and
Dean Smith for Kansas in 1952 and 1953.

Guthridge has been there plenty of times - he was next to
Smith as an assistant for 30 years before Smith retired in
October, and that included all but one of his 11 Final Four

``He's done a great job,'' Tar Heels sophomore point guard
Ed Cota said of the 60-year-old Guthridge. ``He's had some
big shoes to fill. I'm happy for him. We all want to win it
all for him.''

The Tar Heels (34-3) were beaten in last year's semifinals
by eventual champion Arizona, and that rematch was squelched
when Utah (29-3) beat the Wildcats in the West Regional
final on Saturday.

Majerus, an assistant on Al McGuire's staff at Marquette
that won the national title in 1977, was upset that he
wasn't able to get Utah to the Final Four while Van Horn, a
three-time Western Athletic Conference player of the year
and All-America last season as a senior, was still in

``It's a real tribute to our kids' work ethic,'' Majerus
said. ``They knew it would be a difficult deal with Keith
gone and they worked hard.''

Smith replaced his former boss at Kentucky and reached the
Final Four with a lot less talent than Pitino, now the coach
of the Boston Celtics, had the last two seasons.

The Wildcats (33-4) advanced by wiping out a 17-point
deficit over the final 10 minutes to beat Duke.

``We're going to treasure this moment for a long time,''
Smith said. ``To win against a program like Duke and a great
coach like Mike Krzyzewski means even more. They've been the
bench mark for college basketball for a while now, so it is
quite an honor to win.''

Stanford (30-4) ended Rhode Island's surprising run in
Sunday's Midwest Regional final, literally stealing the win
by overcoming a six-point deficit in the final minute. That
wouldn't have seemed very outrageous last season when Knight
was in the backcourt as a senior, but the hero Sunday was
his replacement, Arthur Lee.

``I felt no pressure whatsoever because I knew I just had to
be Arthur Lee,'' Lee said of the comparisons to Knight. ``I
love Brevin. He was a great player who helped me a lot. But
I've been doing a lot of things pretty good.''

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