As unlikely as the high school sports season seemed just a few months ago, the finish line to a season unlike any other is now less than a week away. Monday brings us the one-day, 18-hole state golf tournament in Albuquerque, followed days afterward by tournaments for baseball and softball, then the big-school meets for track and field.
By Saturday, the weirdest prep sports season we've ever dealt with will be in the books.
Kudos to the New Mexico Activities Association - AKA everyone's favorite punching bag, whether it's deserved or not - for pulling it off. Their staff worked tirelessly through the pandemic, holding things together long enough to get New Mexico kids back into competition, all the while watching other states break free from the COVID-19 restrictions to get a head start on everyone here.
Remarkable job and, yes, we can already hear the complaint department ratcheting up. No matter how well things go, someone, somewhere will always be unhappy.
It's almost the end of the road for the high school sports season. That, in itself, is a bummer on many levels, but the real loss comes in just a matter of weeks when Dana Pappas leaves the New Mexico Activities Association.
An NMAA deputy director, she's been with the state's governing body for high school athletics for 24 years. Most of that work has been devoted to her time as the commissioner of officials; if there's a zebra involved, she's behind it.
An official with the NMAA confirmed Saturday that Pappas has taken a post with the National Federation of State High School Associations, the national governing body for prep sports. She'll become the second NMAA staff member to move into a prominent role with the NFHS Network, following former NMAA assistant director Mark Koski, a Highlands High graduate who is now the chief operating officer of the NFHS Network.
Of course, Pappas did more than coordinate the state's referees and officials. She coordinated events for the NMAA's music, as well as serving with the activities council, the student leadership advisory council, the student council, scholastic publications and the English Expo.
Simply put, irreplaceable.
ESPN is seeking your input on the play of the year. The winner will be honored at the upcoming ESPY Awards. How does this pertain to you? One of the candidates is Natalia Chavez, the Volcano Vista guard who sank a half-court buzzer beater to take down Hobbs in the Class 5A championship game in May in The Pit.
History will never forget Chavez's moment, hitting a shot that was on every highlight reel in the country for a few days.
There's a lot to choose from. The ESPYs has nominated 16 plays, including a Clemson defensive back making an amazing one-handed pick and Luka Doncic's buzzer-beater against Memphis in last year's NBA playoffs.
The upcoming Tokyo Olympics may not have fans, but it will have an Aggie.
New Mexico State women's track and field volunteer assistant coach Rachel Dincoff launched a discus 60.21 meters on her fifth of six throws to jump into third place in the finals of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials on Saturday (June 19) night in Eugene, Oregon. The top three finishers clinched spots on Team USA.
Dincoff was an All-American for Auburn during her college days. She has been a volunteer assistant on NMSU's coaching staff since 2017. She has helped two Aggies move on to the NCAA West Preliminary meet the last two years.