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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Friday, February 06, 2004

Juarez sets new regional mark

Staff Writer

Pecos Eagles senior Michael Juarez lost his District 4-4A diving title to Andrews' Matt Culbertson two weeks ago at the district meet in Fort Stockton. But on Thursday afternoon in Lubbock Juarez made sure he would retain his Region I-4A title from a year ago by setting a new school and meet record on the opening day of regionals at the Pete Ragus Aquatic Center in Lubbock.

The swimming preliminaries began at 9:30 a.m. today for Class 4A and below swim teams, and finals will start at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Ragus Center, with the Eagles favored to win both the boys and girls titles for the fourth year in a row.

Unlike the swim finals, where only the winners of each event earn an automatic trip to state, the top two finishers in diving are assured spots in the state meet at Austin on Feb. 20-21. But Juarez made sure he wouldn't need the runner-up spot to advance to state by taking an early lead on the Andrews freshman in the opening round of dives.

"He was ahead by 10 points halfway through, then they pulled even, but we had put the toughest dives at the end, so I knew he was going to do well," said diving coach Joan Capshaw. "He ended up making 7s and 71/2s there."

"He ended up making All-American with his score," said head coach Terri Morse. "He ended up with a 396.75 score, and he needed a 380.00 to make All-American."

Juarez's score was 61 points above his winning total from a year ago, while Culbertson placed second with a 369.70 score. Two weeks ago in Fort Stockton, Culbertson had beaten Juarez by a 367.50 to 365.60 margin for the district title.

"I was very proud of him. He's been working on it a lot the last two weeks and he hit all his dives today," said Capshaw, while Morse said Juarez did make some minor changes between district and regionals.

"I think there was only one dive he did differently from district. It was just one he wasn't hitting before, and he started hitting it, so we put it in, and he pulled away from Culbertson at the end," she said.

Pecos' other diver, Guthrie Long, who placed third at district, did so again on Thursday, earning a state alternate berth with a 245.75 point score.

"Guthrie also brought his point total up a lot," Morse said. He had scored 220.90 points in winning third at Fort Stockton.

Morse said Juarez was one of the Eagles who was slightly under the weather going into regionals. But she added, "He's feeling better and he plans to swim the 500," in today's freestyle preliminaries. "Max Key is also feeling good, and he'd been a little sick."

Key said the only district record at Fort Stockton in winning the 100 yard breaststroke. He's favored to win that race and the 50 free, as Pecos' boys go in seeded first in nine of their 11 races, while the girls go in seeded first in seven of their events, after winning all 11 finals at district two weeks ago.

Golfers open season with tourney in Angelo

The Pecos Eagle girls golf team won't get to see their main regional and state rival from a year ago this weekend, at the season-opening San Angelo Invitational. But Eagles' coach Tina Doan said they would get a look at their main district foe today and Saturday in the 36-hole tournament.

The Eagles, who won the Region I-3A title last year over Snyder, but were beaten out by the Tigers at the Class 3A state finals, will have three new golfers on their 'A' team for the 2004 season, coach Tina Doan said.

"I'm taking Sarah McKinney, Shelly Martinez, Bianca Mendoza, Jennie Canon and Eleanor Mason," Doan said. "All of them but Jennie played in the fall."

Martinez place second and McKinney third this past fall during tournament play at Abilene, while Mendoza and Canon were members of the Eagles' 'B' golf team last season and Mason is a freshman.

"They're really excited and are ready to compete," Doan said. "They're ready to see what they look like in competition."

Pecos will play at the San Angelo Country Club today and at Riverside Golf Course on Saturday as part of the Blue Division, one of two divisions in the tournament.

"Snyder is not in our division," Doan said, while adding, "Monahans will be there. They'll be our toughest competition in district this year."

The Eagles won their fifth straight district title last season, beating out Monahans by 75 strokes in the 54-hole district competition. They placed second to Andrews in the Blue Division at San Angelo a year ago.

Pecos' boys golf team won't open their 2004 season until next Friday, when they play at the Big Spring Invitational. But the junior varsity Eagle boys are scheduled to compete in their first tournament of the season today, at the Ward County Golf Course in Monahans.

Girls to debut field with scrimmage Monday

Staff Writer

The Pecos Eagles will have a new field and a number of returning players for the 2004 softball season, though coach Tammy Walls said she wasn't sure who would be playing where until at least after the Eagles' opening scrimmage on Monday.

Pecos will face Kermit, Sweetwater and Denver City in what will also be the opening of the new Pecos High School girls softball field. The field, built on the northwest side of the PHS football practice field, will be the third home for the girls in the seven years since Pecos started playing varsity softball, with the others, at Maxey Park and Martinez Field, located on the far south side of town.

"We're extremely proud of it," said head coach Tammy Walls, who along with assistant Becky Wein, have been the Eagles' coaches for each of their first six seasons. "The kids feel like they're important, and you can see a difference in their attitude. They feel like they have a place of their own now."

After winning four straight District 2-4A titles, the Eagles moved into the far tougher District 4-3A last season and fell two runs short of a playoff berth, losing out to both Greenwood and Fort Stockton in their final regular season games by 3-2 scores. Most of Pecos' starters from that squad are back, and they'll be trying to improve on their 5-5 district record and 11-12 overall mark.

"I've got about 17 out right now," Walls said. "They're looking pretty promising. We've got some speed, and we've also got some freshmen girls who have got some really good skills."

Pecos graduated two starters from a year ago, and currently are missing a couple of players from last year, in Danielle Garcia and Jessica Minjarez, who are still involved with basketball and swimming. But Walls said, "As far as I'm concerned we have nine open positions, and everybody has an opportunity to play any position."

Pecos does figure to have Stephanie Herrera back on the mound for a fourth straight season, though one question will be who the Eagles' catcher will be. "Right now we're trying Katie Lee there, and we'll see how she does," Walls said. Last year's catcher, senior Brittany Lobstein, is back at shortstop for now, where she played her sophomore year.

Walls said the Eagles would play 55-minute scrimmages on Monday, starting at 4 p.m., Pecos will rotate with the two Mustang teams and the Yellowjackets, and that she would wait at least until then before deciding on where her players would end up this season.

"I won't know until after I see them in the scrimmage on Monday," Walls said. "Everybody's pretty much even right now, so we'll see how we do in a scrimmage situation."

Pecos will go to Denver City for another scrimmage a week from today, and open their season on Feb. 17 against Alpine..

Netters in Andrews Saturday

The Pecos Eagles tennis team will be facing only one opponent on Saturday, not two as originally planned, when they play their first road matches of the spring tennis season.

The Eagles will travel to Andrews to face their former district rivals, beginning at 9 a.m. Pecos was supposed to have faced Andrews in the morning and a second team that afternoon on the Mustangs' courts, but coach Mike Ortiz said, "It's just Andrews. They couldn't find another team."

The Eagles have played twice so far at home in the spring season, narrowly beating Greenwood while narrowly losing to Monahans in their last match, on Jan. 29. "I expect a good tough match from them," Ortiz said of the Mustangs, who the Eagles have rarely faced since moving out of the same district in 1998.

He said for Saturday's boys matches, "we'll have everybody there. The girls still have a couple ineligible, but we'll be all right. I still have my Top 3 girls there."

Following their matches with the Mustangs, the Eagles will play their final home matches of the spring season, when they host their own tournament next weekend. Ortiz said a total of six teams would be participating in the two day tournament at the Pecos High School tennis courts.

Odessa Softball Association sets tournament

The Odessa Softball Association will be holding a Men's March Madness Tournament on March 6-7 at the University of Texas-Permian Basin Softball Complex at Loop 338 and East 42nd Street.

The tournament will be held under ASA Class C rules, with an entry fee of $125 per team and a 3-game format. The deadline for entering the tournament is Wednesday, March 3.

For further information on the tournament, contact Michelle at (432) 552-7426 or the Odessa Softball Association at (432) 550-7811.

Pecos boys seek win to remain in playoffs

It's a special night for both the Pecos Eagle girls and boys basketball teams, and both teams would like to also make it a successful night against the Presidio Blue Devils at the Pecos High School gym.

It's "Parents Night" for Pecos' girls, who'll be seeking their second district win of the season over the Blue Devils, starting at 6 p.m. Meanwhile, it's also "Black Out the Blue Devils" night for Pecos' girls and for the boys, who need a win to avoid seeing their playoff hopes for 2004 blacked out by Presidio. Game time for that should be about 7:30 p.m.

"We want everybody to wear black to the game," said Eagles' coach Joe Flores, whose team is only 1-5 in district play, but can still have a shot at the playoffs with wins over the Blue Devils and Monahans at home and at Fort Stockton or Kermit in their final four regular season games.

Presidio is a game up on the Eagles in the standings, and could move to within a game of third place Monahans with a win tonight. The Loboes face first place Greenwood, the No. 2-ranked team in the state, which beat Pecos on Tuesday, 85-35.

Last month in Presidio, the Eagles trailed the Blue Devils by just two points early in the third period, only to fall apart after that and lose by a 65-49 score. Presidio scored 27 points in that period, and were led by post Hector Rodriguez, who finished with 19 points.

"I really believe if we can beat their press, we're going to have a good chance at beating Presidio," Flores said.

Pecos' girls are just 1-7 in district and 4-18 overall, but two of those wins have come at Presidio, including a 55-33 victory last month. But the Eagles may have played their best game in district this past Tuesday, when they led third place Greenwood until the fourth quarter, when baskets off turnovers allowed the Rangerettes to rally for a 45-38 victory.

"We executed well on offense in the first half, but then we just stopped running our plays," said Eagles' coach Veronica Valenzuela. Leslie Rodriguez had 16 points to lead Pecos and had 18 in last month's win at Presidio, while Arceli Levario led all scorers that night with 19 points.

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