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Thumbs: Our high country lowdown on the news - March 17, 2017

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By Optic Editorial Board

THUMBS UP! THEY’RE SCHOLARS TOO
Ted Maestas, a young basketball coach for the Pecos Panthers, led his team to three straight Stu Clark Tournaments in 1959, 1960 and 1961. In 1966, under a different coach, Pecos took state in its conference. That feat was accomplished again, after a 51-year drought, when the boys from Pecos ran up a 29-game win streak to capture state only a few days ago. We realize it’s great to win, but scholarship matters too. And that’s why fans are proud of the fact that the team as a whole boasts a cumulative 3-point-plus grade point average.

THUMBS UP! NCAA-BOUND
Robertson High School product Rico Montoya is wrestling in St. Louis by virtue of placing fourth in the Big 12 wrestling finals. Montoya weighs 133 pounds and wrestles for Northern Colorado. And during the recent Big 12 Tournament, Rico beat Earl Hall, a two-time All-American from Iowa State.

THUMBS UP! STUDENT PLAYWRIGHT
Brandi Aragon, a music performance senior at Highlands University, is the playwright for an original two-part play performed at Sala de Madrid. Says the 22-year-old playwright, “My two-part play lis about teenagers who are in a mental hospital with a focus on ones who are there for self-harming behavior like suicide attempts. The most important aspect of the play is for people to recognize that teenagers, and even younger children, can have mental illnesses like depression that affect their daily life.” We hope Aragon’s creation encourages other students to try their hand in writing dramas.

THUMBS UP! FINAL SEASON FOR ‘LONGMIRE’
Local interest in the Netflix series, “Longmire,” was evident by the number of local residents who gathered at Travellers’ Cafe to sign up as extras for the popular series. This marks the sixth and final series for the neo-Western crime series authored by Craig Johnson. Much of the series is shot in Las Vegas, Santa Fe and Pecos. Series stars are Robert Taylor, Cassidy Freeman, Lou Diamond Phillips, Katee Sackhoff and Adam Bartley.

AND WE QUOTE
“The only answer (to a struggling local economy) is diversification. . . . They bring jobs, mostly extras, some crew members. And a lot of money is spent in gas stations and restaurants.”
­— Ignacio Lucero, local resident, addressing the San Miguel County Commission on supporting further film production in this area.