LAHS Athletics: Spring sports given OK by NMAA to start back up

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By Mike Cote

Game on.

At an emergency meeting this morning, the New Mexico Activities Association’s board of directors voted to resume interscholastic athletic competition today. Teams can practice in preparation for the upcoming postseason, which for some sports will happen in very short order.

The NMAA, the organization which oversees most interscholastic athletic competition in the state, held its second webcast in three days this morning to announce the board of directors’ decision.

The NMAA suspended all athletic competition, including practices, in New Mexico Sunday after it was announced several public school districts in the southern part of the state were closing at least some of their schools due to concerns about the H1N1 virus, commonly referred to as swine flu.

Robert Zayas, assistant NMAA director, said that after association officials spoke with officials from the Centers for Disease Control and the Public Education Department, the proposal to lift the ban was brought to the board of directors.

“Kids can get back to practice and things are getting back to some kind of normalcy,” assistant director Mario Martinez said in the webcast.

Not a lot of time will be wasted, however.

The postseason will start for some as early as Thursday. The NMAA encouraged all golf districts to do what they could to hold a district tournament championship sometime between Thursday and Saturday evening and have results posted in time for the seeding tournament Sunday.

Los Alamos High School athletic director Vicki Nelms announced the 2AAAA tournament will be held Thursday at Taos, its originally-scheduled venue. Tee times hadn’t been determined as of press time, however.

Following the suspension, the NMAA wanted to have districts declare a golf champion based on the season’s results, something that would have been agreeable to Los Alamos’ girls golf team but probably not to the Los Alamos boys.

The state tournament seeding will be announced Sunday and the state AAAA golf tournament will be played at Socorro starting Tuesday.

Also, the NMAA determined that the baseball state playoffs, which was originally scheduled to start the first round Friday but was pushed back to Monday, will now resume for Friday. The best-2-of-3 format, likewise, will return back in tact after it was scrapped in favor of a single game if the tournament wasn’t to start until next week.

Game times for baseball, Nelms said, are 4:30 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. and, if necessary, 1 p.m. Saturday. All games will be played at Bomber Field.

Baseball manager Mike Gill said this morning it was of no concern to him whether the first round ended up being one game, two out of three, played Monday or played this weekend.

“The 2-of-3 series, I like that format because the pitching depth comes through,” he said. “But the format won’t change the way we approach the game.”  

For track and field, the NMAA strongly encouraged the district meets to go on as scheduled prior to the ban, if at all possible. If it wasn’t possible to do so for logistic reasons, district meets could be run Monday as was suggested when the ban was implemented.

Nelms said the District 2AAAA meet, which will be held at Sullivan Field, is back on schedule for Friday and Saturday. Field events will start at 3 p.m. Friday and running events will go at 4 p.m. Saturday’s start times are 10 a.m. for field events and 11 a.m. for running events.

Not everything will return as originally scheduled prior to the ban, however.

In tennis, a condensed individual and state tournament is still scheduled for next week. The individual tournament will be played in its entirety May 14 and the team tournament will be held May 15-16, both in Albuquerque.

As originally scheduled, the tennis team tournament was to take place this weekend and the individual tournament the following weekend.

Los Alamos girls tennis head coach Bruce Cottrell said the format as it now stands is just fine with him.

“Fortunately, the NMAA already wanted to go to that format,” he said. “It was going forward next year, anyway.”

Big school softball was largely unaffected by the week off, other than a few schools who will hold make-up games — Los Alamos had already concluded its season — not the least of which is a scheduled game against Farmington and Piedra Vista, a game which could well determine the shape of the top-half of the Class AAAA bracket.

Seeding for softball’s postseason will be announced sometime Sunday, the NMAA said.