Notes from the North

Declining student enrollment has been a long-standing topic during Board of Regents meetings at the University of New Mexico. Both the main campus and satellite sites have seen declining numbers over the years, and the school has employed different techniques, from marketing to outreach, to get students back on campus.

The solution is surprisingly easy: Have the Lobos reach the Final Four.

According to research shared by Student Loan Hero, an outfit that helps students repay and manage their loan debts, schools whose men’s basketball teams reach the Final Four tend to see spikes in applications that outpace the national average.

When Butler reached the Final Four in 2010 and 2011, it saw a 40.8 percent jump in students seeking enrollment. Kentucky had a 30.7 percent increase two years later, and mid-majors like Wichita State and George Mason had at least 23 percent leaps the year after their appearances.

Problem solved, UNM. Make the Final Four, fill those empty desks.

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The field for the 2022 Stu Clark Invitational has been finalized and, for the first time since the 1980s, St. Michael’s is one of the teams in the tournament.

The Horsemen will join tournament co-hosts Robertson and West Las Vegas in the event, which is set for Dec. 27-29 at the John A. Wilson Complex at New Mexico Highlands. Other teams include Belen, Pecos, Bernalillo, Portales and Socorro.

And, no, still no word on the Horsemen coaching situation. For now, head coach David Rodriguez is still on administrative leave and assistant Gerard Garcia remains the interim coach.

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The Marilyn Sepulveda Meet of Champions track and field meet is set for Monday at Great Friends of UNM Track Complex in Albuquerque, and several northern athletes will be there to compete in the midseason all-star event.

Santa Fe will be well-represented, with Santa Fe Prep’s Finn Coles and Emery Kurth competing in the boys and girls high jump, respectively. They will be joined by Josh Abeyta in the boys 800 meters. St. Michael’s will have Raylee Hunt in the 800 and 1,600 meters, plus Jacqueline Gorman in the pole vault. Santa Fe Indian School’s Fenyx Morningdove will compete in the 400.

Los Alamos should have a whole host of competitors at the event, including sophomore Angelina Passalacqua, who is the fastest 200 runner and second-best in the long jump.

Speaking of Morningdove, he missed out on qualifying for the javelin since his season-best throw of 151 feet,

10 inches came Saturday at Capital’s Jaguar Invitational — well after invitations were sent out. Regardless, he vaulted to the top of the 3A list in the event, surpassing Albuquerque Sandia Prep’s Sudias Ball, who had the best throw at 149-5, and defending 3A champion Devin Flores of St. Michael’s, who has a 144-8 toss earlier this season.

Overall, Morningdove has the eighth-best distance in the event.

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You’ve heard of summer camps on college campuses, right? Well, New Mexico Highlands is willing to bring its camp to you — for a fee.

From May to August, Cowboys coach Michael Dominguez will take his show on the road to any high school that requests his services. The fee is $70 per player for a one-day camp, $115 for two days and $130 for three. It comes with all the usual stuff: individual skills, team drills, analysis of shooting technique and ball handling.

NMHU had 14 in-state players on its roster last season, and Dominguez, perhaps the most famous grad of Capital’s program, is selling the Cowboys with 30 3-point tries per game, run and gun that demands

40 minutes of full-court press and plenty of scoring for those who can keep up.

Anyone interested should contact Dominguez through NMHU’s athletics department.

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If you haven’t signed up the kiddos for flag football in the Northern New Mexico Children’s Sports League, best get to it, because Team USA might need a few bodies soon.

The sports business site, Front Office Sports, recently published a story saying the NFL is seeking to expand its international business to $1 billion over the next decade, and part of the plan is to get flag football as a sanctioned sport for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Contact football was introduced as a demonstration sport in the 1932 Games but hasn’t been back since.

It appears to be too late to get the International Olympic Committee to approve flag football in time for the 2024 Games in Paris, but the NFL is reportedly pushing hard for the end of the decade.

Look it up: Flag football, Santa Fe. A future Olympian could be among us.

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The New Mexico United are going to need an extended-stay package in Phoenix later this week. The club has had a long-standing match against United Soccer League rival Phoenix Rising set for Saturday, but the pair were given a second game — which isn’t part of the USL Championship’s regular-season slate — when the pairings for the ongoing Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup were announced last week.

The random draw for the four teams in the Mountain Region paired the United with Phoenix Rising in the third round of the tournament. The match is set for April 20 at Phoenix Rising Stadium in Chandler, Ariz.

United coach Zach Prince said the travel aspect won’t be a challenge because the club will already be in town.

“It becomes a bit of a chess match between the two games, which is a lot of fun for our guys,” he said. “To be able to go out and try to get three points in game one, and then in game two circumstances change because it’s a knockout competition, but you’re still going for the win. We’re excited about the challenge to play in two matches in a short period of time against the same opponent.”

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