With an 84-77 win over Western State on Saturday night, the NMHU men's basketball team clinched the RMAC West regular-season title, a first-round home playoff game (Tuesday vs. Colorado Christian), and a piece of history as the all-time turnaround story.
At 20-7 the Cowboys' record is a 19-game improvement from last season, eclipsing the previous 18-win jump shared by two teams, including NMHU. The record includes all levels of NCAA men's basketball.
In CCU, Highlands faces an RMAC East foe over which it had a narrow victory in overtime back on Jan. 10, the teams' only meeting this season. First-round winners go on to play the rest of the RMAC Shootout March 5-6 in Pueblo, Colo.
Mora's girls beat Pecos, Pecos' boys beat Mora, and the West Las Vegas Lady Dons came up just shy in their fourth attempt this season to spoil No. 1 Pojoaque's perfect season. Those were the local highlights of the end of the district basketball tournaments this past weekend.
Those five teams and the WLV Dons and RHS Lady Cardinals all were selected to play in the upcoming state tournaments, which begin this weekend at campus sites. Left out of the mix were the Robertson Cardinals, a young group that returns most of its players for next season.
Angella Graham won an RMAC title in the pentathlon, a first for Highlands since introducing track and field a couple years back. Four NMHU wrestlers placed in the top four in their weight classes, earning tickets to nationals. And Cowboy baseball got offensive in most of its victorious RMAC-opening homestand against Colorado Christian...
For more on these stories, please see the print version of the Optic, out Monday.