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RHS, Mora spikers eye state tourney

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By Dave Kavanaugh

For all but four area programs, the fall sports season has come to a close.

For Robertson’s football and volleyball teams, the Mora volleyball team and one New Mexico Highlands cross country runner, potential glory still awaits.

Raynee Gerhart’s Lady Cardinals and Leslie Vigil’s Rangerettes begin their state volleyball tournament quests on Thursday in Rio Rancho.

The No. 2 team in Class 3A in the last New Mexico High School Coaches Association poll, RHS (15-6) finished as district runner-up to No. 1 Pojoaque Valley and were seeded third in the state draw.

The Lady Cards open pool play at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Santa Ana Star Center, joining pool-mates Raton and Cuba, the sixth and 11th seeds, respectively. Should the two-time state runners-up place first in the pool, they would advance to Friday's quarterfinals. If they do not win the pool, they’d play at 9 Thursday night in the first round.

The Class 3A quarterfinals are 1:15 p.m. Friday; semis are 6:30 that night. The championship match is 4 p.m. Saturday. In descending order of seeding, the field includes Pojoaque, Portales, Robertson, Hatch Valley, St. Michael's, Raton, Bloomfield, Sandia Prep, Lovington, Santa Fe Indian, Cuba and Ruidoso.

A top 10 team in Class 2A through the season, Mora (17-4) also has pool play Thursday, facing Navajo Prep, Texico and Bosque School. The Rangerettes defeated Ramah over the weekend to reach the pool round, which plays out beginning at 4 p.m. at Rio Rancho High.

Performance in Class 2A pool play determines seeding in the quarterfinals, set for 11:30 a.m. Friday at the Star Center. Semifinals are 4:45 p.m. Friday, and the championship match is 10 a.m. Saturday.

The 2A field includes Mora, Navajo Prep, Texico and Bosque in one pool; Rehoboth, Peñasco, Tularosa and Jal in the other.

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On the gridiron, Robertson (7-3) is back in the state playoffs and looking to make an extended run under second-year coach Richard Martinez.

The Cardinals, District 2-3A runners-up behind Raton, earned the No. 6 seed and host No. 11 Cobre at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Cardinal Stadium.

Saturday’s winner moves on to a quarterfinal at No. 3 Socorro the following weekend.

In descending order of seed, the playoff teams are Lovington, Raton, Socorro, Bloomfield, Albuquerque Academy, Robertson, St. Michael’s, Hatch Valley, Portales, Hot Springs, Cobre and Pojoaque Valley.

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NMHU cross country standout Nicaise Kazingo, who finished seventh in this past weekend’s NCAA Division II Central Regional meet, has qualified for nationals, as reported Monday.

NMHU’s men ran 12th in the regional but Kazingo — as one of the top two runners not on a qualifying team — made the cut individually. The national meet will be held Saturday, Nov. 21, in Evansville, Ind.

Bob DeVries is Highlands’ head cross country coach.