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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, February 23, 2004

Eagles down Crane, Del Valle after Friday tournament losses

Day 2 of the Andrews Invitational Softball Tournament went a lot better for the Pecos Eagles than Day 1 did.

The Eagles, who opened with a 6-5 pool round loss to Greenwood, started off bracket play against the El Paso Burges Mustangs and were beaten by a 15-1 score, then dropped a 3-0 rematch to the Rangerettes on Friday afternoon. Then on Saturday, Pecos turned things around with a 7-2 win over the Crane Golden Cranes and finished off with a consolation finals victory over the El Paso Del Valle Conquistadors, winning by a 13-2 margin.

"I didn't feel like we played too terribly bad on Friday, we just didn't have any hitting," said Eagles' coach Tammy Walls. "We also had to make adjustments being down three starters, so we moved people around."

Senior pitcher Stephanie Herrera, junior catcher Katie Lee and sophomore third baseman Jessica Florez missed the weekend's games, which forced several lineup shifts. Sophomore Hillary Hinojos pitched most of the weekend's games, though freshman Amalie Herrera pitched the loss against Burges.

"I had Amalie at shortstop, Jennie Palomino in left field and Cassandra (Terrazas) in right field and they really came through for us," Walls said of her freshman starters. She also said Danielle Garcia did well playing at third base and Bianca Baeza at first base, in their first starts in those positions. Walls said Greenwood had a pair of home runs to beat Pecos in the opening game, while on Saturday Brittany Lobstein just missed a grand slam home run. "She hit the fence about two feet below the top with the bases loaded," the Eagles' coach said.

She added that Garcia and Hinojos, along with the freshmen starters, also hit well against Crane, who had beaten Hinojos and the Eagles last Tuesday in Pecos in a 55-minute game by a 3-2 score.

The 2-3 weekend for Pecos leaves them with a 3-4 record going into Tuesday's doubleheader against the Snyder Tigers. Walls said the Eagles were originally scheduled to play a single game in Snyder, but due to TAKS testing this Wednesday, moved the match-up to Midland's MUGS Softball Complex and will play games at 5 and 7 p.m.

Balmorhea girls' season ends with area loss to Water Valley

The Balmorhea Bears' playoff run ended in the second round on Friday night in Odessa, as they were beaten by the Water Valley Wildcats by a 76-44 final score in a Class A-Division II area round playoff game.

The Bears, who finished second in District 9-A and then edged Grandfalls last Tuesday in the bi-district round of the playoffs, had problems both with Water Valley's size and their press, falling behind by 22 points at halftime.

Trina Jurado, who led the Bears with 16 points, hit a couple of three-point shots at the outset of the third period to cut the gap back to 16, but the Wildcats were able to pull away after that, widening their margin to over 30 points by the end of the third quarter.

Savannah Matta also was in double figures for Balmorhea, but the Bears' posts' Amber Briceno and Larissa Rodriguez were held in check by Water Valley. Culley Dawson led the Wildcats with 23 points and Alix Flores had 22 for Water Valley, which is 28-2 on the season.

Balmorhea finished their season with 16-9 season record.

Pecos golfers finish eighth in Stockton tourney

All of the scores were up on Saturday at the Fort Stockton Invitational Golf Tournament, though the Pecos Eagles' scores were up a little more than most teams, and that cost the Eagles two spots in the final standings.

Pecos dropped from sixth to eighth after the final round of the 36-hole tournament, shooting a 351 after an opening round of 324 to finish with a 675 total. More importantly for the Eagles' current string of five straight trips to regional competition, they finished behind two of the District 4-3A rivals - Monahans, which finished second to Midland Lee's junior varsity with a 652 score, and the host Panthers, who shot a 341 on their home course on Saturday to finish 11 shots ahead of the Eagles, with a 664 total.

"They players already guaranteed me they'd play better at Midland," coach Kim Anderson said of the Eagles' next tournament.

"It was windy and cold Saturday and they didn't shoot good. The first three holes all of them started with triple bogey, double bogey," Anderson said.

Junior Michael Nichols and freshmen Joseph Tarin both broke 80 on Friday,. Shooting 77 and 78, while on Saturday Nichols shot an 85 and Tarin ended up with a 93 score. "It wasn't good the second day, but Tarin shooting a 78 the first day was real encouraging, because the others will come around and Mikey's always solid," Anderson said.

Nichols ended up at 162 overall, while Tarin's 171 tied him with senior golfers San Nichols and Pete Vasquez. Sal Nichols shot an 88 on Saturday after opening with an 83, while Vasquez was the only golfer to cut his score on Saturday, dropping from an 86 to an 85. The Eagles' other golfer, Alex Morales, shot a 100 on Friday and a 102 on Saturday for a 202 total.

Iraan, at 660, Midland Trinity at 665, Big Spring at 666, and Midland Christian, at 674, were the other teams to finish ahead of Pecos in the tournament. "Fort Stockton is a good course, and it gave me a chance to evaluate them for the first time," Anderson said. "We'll go to Midland and play the Country Club, then we'll get to look at the regional site at Nuevo Vista this weekend."

Pecos' varsity girls were off this past weekend, but will go to Fort Stockton this Friday and Saturday to play the Pecos County Golf Course, which will also be the site of the final round of this year's District 4-3A girls' tournament.

Swimmers finish 4th in 4A finals

Staff Writer

As far as the team score went, it was the best finish ever for the Pecos Eagle boys swimming team, at the Class 4A State Swimming and Diving Championships in Austin.

But as far as expectations went, Eagles' coach Terri Morse was hoping her team would do better both individually and in the final team, standings, so Saturday's fourth place finish came off as both a success and a disappointment at the same time.

"We were a little off. Why I have no idea," Morse said following the conclusion of Saturday's finals at the Jamail Aquatic Center at the University of Texas in Austin. "We just didn't swim as fast as I expected this weekend."

Pecos got enough swimmers into enough races to finish with 131 points, by far the top score among Class 3A schools competing in the Class 4A and below state finals. Pecos' girls, meanwhile, finished 21st overall with 30 points, down from 16th at the state finals a year ago.

The boys placed fifth last year at state, which tied for their best-ever finish, and were hoping to move up at least into the Top 3 this time around. But the Eagles weren't able to place anyone higher than fourth in Friday's preliminaries, and their best finishes on Saturday was a fifth place effort by the 200 medley relay team and a pair of sixth place finishes from senior Max Key, in the 50 yard freestyle and the 100 yard breaststroke.

"This kind of meet is 99 percent mental. We just haven't figured out the mental aspect we need to compete against those bigger schools," Morse said. "I think one thing that hurts us all year is we compete against people from our area and don't see the swimmers from the other regions until we get to state, and I think that overwhelmed us.

"I know we can compete. It just hurts us not to be able to face them once or twice a year," she said.

The relays that made it into the championship did cut their times slightly from the prelims to the finals, but not enough to gain and positions in the standings. Key, Will Oglesby, Matt Elliott and K.W. Winkles swam a 1:42.23 on Saturday in 200 medley relay finals and placed fifth after a 1:42.28 on Friday that seeded them fourth, while the 200 freestyle relay team of Key, Elliott, Kyle Winkles and Daniel Quintana swam a 1:33.03 after a 1:33.31 on Friday, finishing eighth both days.

The 400 freestyle relay of Oglesby, Quintana and both Winkles, swam a 3:25.63 on Friday and a 3:26.18 on Saturday, and finished 10th both days. The Top 8 finishers in each event advanced to Saturday's finals.

Key ended up sixth in the 50 free with a 22.47 effort, and sixth in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:01.91 time. Both were slightly behind his prelim times from Friday. The Eagles' other championship finals qualifier was Oglesby in the 100-yard backstroke. He placed seventh both days, with his 56.82 finals time also coming in slightly behind his Friday effort. Earlier, Oglesby finished 13th in the 500 yard freestyle with a 5:01.37 time, after going 4:56.41 on Friday and finishing 11th.

The other boys to end up in the consolation finals on Saturday were K.W. Winkles in the 200 individual medley and 100 yard breststroke, Kyle Winkles in the 100 freestyle and Elliott in the 100 yard butterfly.

K.W. Winkles swam almost the exact same time both days in the 200 medley and finished in 11th place both days, going 2:05.26 in the finals. He did the same in the 100 yard breaststroke and placed 12th in both races, finishing on Saturday with a 1:03.39 time.

Elliott also swam almost the exact same times both days in the 100 fly, but dropped one spot, from 12th to 13th, with his 55.99 effort. Kyle Winkles, who was the only freshman in the 100 yard freestyle finals, swam a 52.57 on Saturday while placing 16th, about .1 second slower than on Friday.

In the 1-meter diving contest for the Pecos, Michael Juarez finished in ninth place overall with 293.35 points. All 16 divers competed together both days.

The girls failed to qualify anyone for the championship finals, with their best finish a 12th both on Friday and Saturday in the 200 medley relay. Teddie Salcido, Lindsey Shaw, Catherine Minjarez and Susan Moore had a 2:01.42 in the finals, after a 2:00.86 on Friday.

"The girls placed about where I thought they would. I was hoping they'd move up some, but I knew it would be tough," Morse said.

The 200 freestyle relay was the only Eagle team to move up from Friday to Saturday. Moore, Minjarez, Ashely Horsburgh and Amie Reynolds placed 14th in the preliminaries with a 1:48.49 time and moved up to 13th with a 1:47.78 on Saturday. In the 400 freestyle relay, the Eagles cut their time by over two seconds on Saturday, but finished 15th both days. Horsburgh, Moore, Jessica Minjarez and Betsy Lujan finished with a 4:02.29 time in the finals Individually for Pecos, Catherine Minjarez was 14th in the finals of the 100 yard butterfly on Saturday with a 1:04.57 after finishing 12th on Friday, and placed 16th in the finals of the 200 medley with a 2:27.17 after finishing 15th on Friday. Susan Moore placed 15th both days in the finals of the 100 free, going a 58.79 in the finals, while Salcido was 16th in the 500 freestyle with a 5:49.71 after finishing 15th in the prelims, and she placed 16th both days in 200 freestyle, swimming a 2:12.67 on Saturday.

Two Region I-4A qualifiers did come away with medals from the state meet. Freshman Matt Culbertson, who beat Juarez at district then lost to him at regionals in the 1-meter competition, placed third in the state finals, while El Paso Chapin's Lara Jackson won the Class 4A state finals in the 50 yard freestyle with a 23.53 time, and later placed second in the finals of the 100-yard breaststroke.

In the final team standings, Richardson Pierce won first place in the boys' division with 292 points, to 232 for Texarkana. Frisco had 191 points to take third, while Conroe Oak Ridge finished fifth with 113 points. Andrews was 13th in the boys' division with 48 points.

Dallas Highland Park easily won the girls' division with 342 points to 201 for Conroe Oak Ridge. Frisco was also third on the girls' side with 176 points, while Chapin was first among Region I-4A teams, placing 16th with 37 points.

"They did well, they just didn't do well enough to do some of the things I hoped they would do," said Morse, who loses five seniors on the boys' side and two on the girls side for next year. "We'll just have to start over and try again another year, but they still did a good job, and I'm proud of them. We just have to work harder on the mental aspect of it."

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