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A big bowl of Stu

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By Dave Kavanaugh

The 57th annual Stu Clark Tournament begins its three-day run Tuesday in Las Vegas.

First session of the tourney (1 p.m.) pits St. Pius X against West Mesa. The second game  matches Atrisco Heritage, against Bernalillo.

In the evening session (6 p.m.), the Meadow City’s boys take center stage. Robertson and Portales play in a matchup of two top 10 Class 3A teams. And in the nightcap, West Las Vegas faces Silver.

Tickets for the tourney ($12 tourney pass; $5 each session; $3 students) will be available at the door of the Wilson Complex, the familiar host site.

Video streaming for the tourney will be provided this year via the Web site, proviewnetworks.com.

It’s not uncommon for the Stu to have a congenial, homecoming type of feel to it. Part of that is because teams tend to return to the event for several years in a row. Aside from local mainstays Robertson and West Las Vegas, for example, Bernalillo coach Terry Darnell and Portales’ Mark Gallegos have been bringing their clubs to town for years. Another aspect that gives the Stu such a  hometown feel is the Las Vegas-area connections that some coaches and alumni retain to the Meadow City. West Mesa’s head coach Shonn Shroer and Atrisco Heritage head man Adrian Ortega have ties not only to alma mater Robertson High but to the Stu itself.

West Mesa is the biggest school in the field, a representative of Class 5A, in which the Mustangs were ranked sixth in a Dec. 15 New Mexico High School Coaches Association poll.

St. Pius X, which has won the Stu and contended for the tourney title since joining the field several years back, is ranked 10th in Class 4A.

The other 4A teams in this year’s bracket are Bernalillo, a longtime Stu veteran, and Stu newcomer Atrisco Heritage Academy out of Albuquerque.

Portales was ranked fifth in the Dec. 15 Class 3A poll, and Robertson was seventh.

Other Class 3A schools in the fray are West Las Vegas and Stu newcomer Silver.