Los Alamos teen to represent U.S. in Italy race

Los Alamos High School’s Rafael Sanchez will represent the United States in the upcoming World Mountain Running Association International U18 Youth Cup on Aug. 24 in Italy. He was part of the Hilltoppers’ cross-country state championship team last fall. Courtesy photo

Italy, here he comes.

Los Alamos High School student Rafael Sanchez will represent the U.S. in the upcoming World Mountain Running Association International U18 Youth Cup on Aug. 24 in Susa in the Piedmont region of Italy. The 5-kilometer course starts and finishes within the village, crossing terrain covered by cobblestone, pavement and shoulder-wide paths that follow steep inclines and descents.

The coed team will have three girls and three boys. All must be 16 or 17 at the time of the race. All three girls are from Colorado, as are two of the boys.

Sanchez, 16, ran on the Hilltoppers’ state championship cross country team last fall and has finished in the top 10 in 24 of the 26 varsity races he’s started since the eighth grade. He has broken the 16-minute barrier three times with a personal best of 15:43 in the 5K.

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For all you joggers, a typical run might be a lap or two around the neighborhood or maybe down the street and through the park and back home.

Allison Burke took that tens of thousands of steps further. Literally.

The 1994 St. Michael’s graduate and current professor at Southern Oregon University recently competed in the Western States Endurance Run in California. It was a grueling 100-mile run (100.2 to be exact) June 29-30 that started in Squaw Valley and meandered past the site of the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, finally ending in Auburn, Calif.

Runners climbed a combined 18,000 feet and descended roughly 23,000 feet, dealing with several hours of running in complete darkness and temperature extremes ranging from the 20s to over 100.

Burke, 43, completed it in 26 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds to earn a coveted bronze belt buckle for those finishing it in less than 30 hours. She was 175th overall and 32nd among all women. She was ninth for women aged 40 and up. She crossed the finish line at 7:52 a.m., more than a full day after she started.

The entire race drew a field of 369 starters, 86 percent of which managed to finish. The winner clocked in at just over 14 hours.

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New Mexico State President John Floros has been elected to the Western Athletic Conference’s executive committee.

The three-member panel also includes Seattle President Stephen Sundborg as the chairman and Grand Canyon president Brian Mueller. Floros will be vice-chair.

Once of their first courses of action was extending the contract of WAC Commissioner Jeff Hurd through the 2020-21 season and approving the conference’s budget for the next fiscal year.

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The New Mexico United may be in a bit of a slump against its United Soccer League Championship competition — Saturday’s 1-0 loss in Salt Lake City to Real Monarchs SLC extends the winless streak to five straight matches — but at least there’s some Santa Fe flavor on tap for an upcoming home game.

The team announced this week it will have a Meow Wolf Night at Isotopes Park on Aug. 3 for its game against Austin Bold FC. The United’s black home kits already sport the Meow Wolf logo across the front, but this particular game will include a combination of art and soccer that the team claims “has never been done before.”

Fans are encouraged to attend the game in full costume. Anyone who does will receive a commemorative souvenir flag depicting the partnership between the United and Meow Wolf, its chief title sponsor from Santa Fe. Before the game, fans will be entertained with Meow Wolf artists inside the stadium and out, and Meow Wolf-crafted art panels will be on display throughout the facility during the game.

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As for the United’s slump, the team hasn’t won in the Championship since May 25. Of course, that excludes the team’s current run through the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. New Mexico has won four straight games in the massive in-season tournament that pits the country’s top-tier professional teams against one another.

They’re down to the quarterfinals and six of the eight teams remaining are from Major League Soccer. The other two are from the USL; New Mexico and Saint Louis. The next round resumes Wednesday when the United (6-4-8) goes on the road to face Minnesota United FC, the fourth-place team in the MLS Western Conference.

The winner moves into the semifinals where the toughest test of all awaits; a likely date with the best team in the MLS, Los Angeles FC.

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Baseball is a game of numbers and the only one that matters right now for the Santa Fe Fuego is the one that counts down their elimination from the Mountain Division title in the Pecos League.

Entering Sunday’s play, Santa Fe trailed Alpine by 11 games with less than a month remaining in the regular season. At that point the Cowboys’ magic number for eliminating the Fuego from the title chase was 17, meaning any combination of Alpine wins and Santa Fe losses equaling that figure means the end of the line for the Fuego.

Some other numbers? The boys will have to pick up the pace just a little if they want to surpass last year’s record-setting home run total of 142. The Fuego averaged 2.29 long balls a game last year; this summer it’s 2.14. They launched 75 dingers in their first 35 games.

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Despite the recent issues getting the grass watered at the Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe, it’s still a (tentative) go for the City Golf Championship. The two-day, 36-hole tournament is set for July 20-21 at Marty.

The tournament’s organizing committee will meet as early as this week to see if the course conditions will be good enough to allow the event to take place. As of now, the plan is to move forward as though there will be no issues.

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The New Mexico Activities Association’s Dana Pappas was recently honored by the National Federation of State High School Associations for her contributions to officiating. A deputy director with the NMAA, she serves as the state’s commissioner of officials.

“For me it’s really a representation of the officials in the state of New Mexico,” Pappas said in an NMAA press release. “I’m deeply humbled and honored.”

This will be her 23rd year working with the NMAA. She also runs the annual choir and concert band state championships, and oversees the NMAA Activities Council.

“At the end of the day, what I do is really driven by the love I have for the officials in our state,” Pappas said. “The officials are very special to me and they fuel my passion to work hard every day and I hope I am serving them well.”