Notes from the North

It’s no secret there’s a shortage of officials and referees. Here’s the latest (of many) chances to get out there and help.

The Northeast Region Basketball Officiating Camp will take place June 3-4 at Santa Fe High and Capital. The cost is $25 for two days of training. The deadline to register is Friday through the New Mexico Activities Association and New Mexico Officials Association websites.

It’s one of several camps coming up next month. There’s a similar camp June 10-12 at Sandia Prep in Albuquerque, as well as others for football and basketball dotted around the state between June and August.

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New Mexico State’s sports boss is putting himself into the driver’s seat for the Aggies’ entrant in The Basketball Tournament. NMSU athletic director Mario Moccia announced on Twitter last week he will serve as coach of the Panamaniacs, a team of Aggies alums in the annual winner-take-all tournament.

He said he agreed to do it because it’s fun, he knows all the players … and it’ll give him a chance to do a little research.

“I’ll have to read up on a lot of basketball books or put together a heck of an assistant coaching staff,” he said in a video posted wednesday to Twitter by Las Cruces Sun-News sports reporter Jason Groves.

The 64-team tournament will have eight regions around the country. The winner takes home the $1 million award for first place.

The Panamaniacs (so named, for the uninitiated, for NMSU’s home arena, the Pan American Center) will be in The Pit Regional along with, among others, the University of New Mexico’s alumni team, the Enchantment.

Each team faces a $20,000 buy-in, which more than covers the cost of the grand prize. Tickets are on sale for The Pit Regional, which runs July 18-21. Seats are going for as little as $45 and as high as $150.

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Logan Gillaspie is the latest Pecos League alum to reach the major leagues. The right-handed reliever made his big league debut with the Baltimore Orioles last week, coming out of the bullpen to work two scoreless innings against the New York Yankees on Tuesday.

Gillaspie pitched briefly with the Monterey Amberjacks in 2017, going 1-2 in 10 appearances. He pitched 23 innings with a 2.35 ERA, striking out 30 and allowing 21 hits. And, no, he did not face the Santa Fe Fuego at any point.

He is the fifth Pecos League alum to make it to the majors.

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The Taos High School football team is taking on a new helmet design this fall. Think of it as the reverse image of the Cincinnati Bengals. Literally.

The team will wear black matte lids with polished orange tiger stripes in the same design as the Bengals, just in reverse. It deviates from familiar orange paw print Taos has had on its matte black helmet the past few years. The Tigers wore that logo during their 2018 state championship run.

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The New Mexico Mustangs Girls Hockey Association will be hosting a summer camp from June 10-12 at the Outpost Ice Arena in Albuquerque. Girls born between the years of 2002 and 2013 are eligible to register.

The cost of the camp is $250 for players 15 and older and free for younger kids.

Featured guest coaches include 2014 Olympic veteran Lyndsey Fry and former Boston College team captain Makenna Newkirk. Fry is a Harvard grad and currently serves as a broadcaster with the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, while Newkirk is an assistant coach at Brown University.

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This weekend’s Santa Fe SkateFest brought some of the top skaters in the U.S. to the state capital for three days of competition at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center.

Perhaps one day soon some of those skaters will have their photos behind a glass frame that hangs on the wall leading to the entrance to the rink. Right now there are nine former SkateFest entrants who have gone on to international or Olympic success. That includes Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, both of whom appeared in the Santa Fe Skate Club Show. Frazier did so in 2010; Knierim three times between 2013-16.

Check back in four years when the 2026 Olympics in Italy rolls around.

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