Notes from the North

Saturday was supposed to be the coronation of two landmark moments for the vastly underrated Santa Fe High girls soccer team.

A win would have made the Demons 14-0 with just half-a-dozen regular-season matches remaining, establishing a school record for wins in a single season. Scoring eight times against the Jaguars would have given the Demons 100 goals, also a school record.

Too bad none of it ever happened. Originally scheduled for a noon start, the match was moved up to 11 a.m. The Demons began filing into Capital’s facility around 10, crowding the south sideline with gear while meandering onto the field to warm up.



On the north sideline … nothing.

Capital had just four players and two coaches show up. As 11 a.m. came and went, the referees said they could play with as few as nine players, but the Capital coaches said even that wasn’t possible because of grades and a miscommunication about the time.

As of Monday, no determination had been made about forfeiting the game or simply rescheduling it. The regular season ends Oct. 20. The Demons play at home Wednesday evening against Rio Grande, giving them the opportunity to establish both school records on their own turf.

Perhaps soon thereafter, the Demons will start getting some of the respect they feel they deserve. Entering this week, they were just one of two undefeated girls teams left in the state, yet were still No. 5 in the latest MaxPreps power rankings for Class 5A behind Cibola, La Cueva, Carlsbad and Rio Rancho.

• • •

Santa Fe’s Estevan Sandoval continues to climb the college basketball coaching ladder.

The St. Michael’s graduate whose father, Greg, is an assistant coach for the Santa Fe High boys basketball team was recently hired as the University of North Dakota’s director of basketball operations. Sandoval joins his fourth coaching staff since starting out as a graduate assistant at New Mexico.

He got his undergraduate degree from UNM in 2017, serving as a team manager for the Lobos for four years. He parlayed that into a graduate degree in 2019 while working on Paul Weir’s staff, earning his keep as a jack-of-all-trades who literally did a little bit of everything.

He spent the last two years in the junior-college ranks. He was with Gillette (Wyo.) College for one year, then at Western Texas for a season. North Dakota is a NCAA Division I program out of the Summit League. The Fighting Hawks open their season Nov. 9 against Milwaukee.

• • •

Another athlete with St. Michael’s connections made news last week as Horsemen senior Ethan Manske officially committed to swim for Kenyon (Ohio) College.

Kenyon is a small liberal arts school of roughly 1,700 students in Gambier, Ohio. The Lords (the women’s teams are called the Ladies) compete in NCAA Division III and are members of the North Coast Athletic Conference.

Manske finished second in two individual events at the state meet five months ago. He was less than a second out of first in the 100-yard backstroke and was a solid No. 2 in the 500-yard freestyle finals.

• • •

It all comes down to this.

Santa Fe High's football team may well be playing for its postseason life Friday night when the Demons host Clovis at Ivan Head Stadium. At 5-2 overall, the Demons are 1-2 in District 2/5-6A following last weekend's 27-point loss to a one-win Sandia club in Albuquerque.

Santa Fe High likely needs to win at least two of its final three games to have a realistic shot of an at-large bid to the Class 6A playoffs. With a road trip to Albuquerque to face powerhouse La Cueva next week, it puts a heavy emphasis on getting a win against Clovis.

Check back Friday.

• • •

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a new uniform?

For the sports-kit nerds out there, websites like uni-watch.com, sportslogos.net and gridiron-uniforms.com are a great way to get lost for a little while.

Add UNM hoops to that list. The Lobos are close to unveiling three new uniforms this season: a red road uniform, a white kit for home and an alternate turquoise uniform that, presumably, could be worn just about anywhere. Lobos point guard Saquan Singleton modeled all three sets in an Instagram video released over the weekend.

Head coach Richard Pitino teased the changes at Friday’s practice, saying he’s heard the demands from fans and added the players’ last names to the back of the jerseys.

The white uniforms have "Lobos" in the familiar all-caps font while the cherry-red road uniforms have "New Mexico" scrawled across the chest. Arguably the best look is the alternate turquoise uniform, which has "Lobos" in white cursive script above white numbers outlined in red. The shorts and jerseys have old-school red-white-red piping with the school’s cartoonish Lobo mascot on the right leg of the shorts.

• • •

Royalty has its perks as a New Mexico Queen is going from Las Cruces to the glitz and glamour of Showtime.

Former New Mexico State men’s basketball star Trevelin Queen has secured a preseason roster spot for the Los Angeles Lakers. A standout during the recent NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Nev., Queen will wear No. 20 if he makes the final cut and joins LeBron, Russ, ‘Melo, AD and Rondo for the regular-season opener.

A 6-foot-6 shooting guard from Baltimore, Queen played two seasons with NMSU. He averaged 13.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in his final season, 2019-20. He started 25 of 26 games that year, shooting 81 percent from the free-throw line and 39 percent from 3-point range.

• • •

Former New Mexico State football coach Jim Hess died over the weekend. He was 84 years old.

Hess led the Aggies to a winning record in 1992, his third season with NMSU. He was named the Big West Conference coach of the year after that 6-5 season.

He was 22-55 in seven years with the Aggies, bookending his tenure with 1-10 seasons in 1990 and 1996.

Earlier in his career, he won an NAIA national championship while coaching at Angelo State. He led the Rams to a 14-0 record in 1978, then took them to the NAIA semifinals and quarterfinals the next two seasons.

• • •

Baseball season is nearing the finish line, but for one former New Mexico State player, the accolades are starting to pile up. Nick Gonzales, a farmhand in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, was named last week to the MLB Pipeline Prospect Team.

A first-round pick in 2020, he batted .302 with 18 home runs in 80 games for Greensboro in the High-A East. He had an on-base percentage of .385, driving in 54 runs while playing in the middle infield.

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