Dec. 17, 1998
Eagles plan for `unofficial' state meet
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Dec. 17 -- Pecos Eagles swimming coach Terri Morse is hoping to take most of her boys team and over half of her girls team to Temple the weekend after school resumes in January, for a preview meet of the Class 4A state championships, which will be held for the first time in February, 2000.
But with school set to let out for the Christmas/New Year's holiday break, Morse wants to make sure her swimmers stay in shape for the early-January meet.
"I've got to send my entries in by the 30th, but if people lay off for two weeks during Christmas I don't see how they'll be in shape for that meet," the Eagles' coach said. "We're going to have workouts, and the people who are going to be out of town have made arraignments to work out while they're not here."
Pecos and its District 4 rivals will compete against Class 5A teams at regionals for the final time this February. Starting next year Class 4A and below schools will have their own regional and state meets, and the Temple meet is an attempt to bring together the top schools outside of Class 5A for the first time.
Finals week has kept Morse from getting together all the information for the entries, but she said as of today, "I have about eight kids who haven't qualified, five girls and three boys. I'm going to allow them to do some time trials tomorrow to see if they can make it. Victoria (Gomez) is real close. she's just off a little in a few things."
Pecos rarely gets to face any Class 4A swim teams outside of West Texas, so the Temple meet will be their first time facing schools from the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Austin-San Antonio areas.
"I know Grapevins is a 4A school (having won the Big 4A state football title this past weekend), and they contended for the championship at last year's state meet for the boys," Morse said. "The Dallas, Houston and Austin areas, especially the Houston area, is where the kids are close enough to the USS (United States Swimming Association) teams so they can work out all year round.
"More than likely they're getting in two workouts a day six days a week. Because their USS team is separate from their high school team they can get around the (UIL) eight hour rule," Morse said.
The Temple trip will take the place of two January meets for Pecos -- a Jan. 9 trip to Fort Stockton, and one the following weekend to Lubbock. "The meet is probably going to be a little tougher than Lubbock," she said, while adding the Eagles wouldn't prepare just for that meet, with their District 4 finals scheduled for three weeks later in Pecos.
"I want to see how close to the top five teams we are. I hope the boys can at least be one of the top five, because they're going go give out banners to the top five finishers," Morse said. "If we can accomplish what we need to over the holidays, I don't see why we can't compete for the top five."
Voters snub Thomas for Pro Bowl squad
By DAVE GOLDBERG
AP Football Writer
NEW YORK, Dec. 17 -- Zach Thomas, Miami's middle linebacker, appeared to establish himself in 14 games as not only a Pro Bowl candidate, but a possibility for defensive player of the year.
Not to Pro Bowl voters.
When the results were announced Wednesday, the inside linebackers on the AFC team were Junior Seau of San Diego and Ray Lewis of Baltimore, not Thomas, the Texas Tech grad who has overcome a lack of height to become the leader of a defense that has allowed 40 fewer points than any team in the NFL.
``You don't rate your success on making the Pro Bowl,'' a disappointed Thomas said. ``I know I had a great year and I'm still playing well. I look at the guys who made it, and they're not playing any better than I am.''
As usual, the Pro Bowl voting was often a case of rounding up the usual suspects.
Reggie White was selected for a record 13th time; Jerry Rice, back from a year off with knee injuries, made it for the 12th; and Bruce Smith and Bruce Matthews for the 11th.
Randy Moss earned what is likely to be the first of many selections, and Doug Flutie, back from Canada, proved that age (36) and height (5-9) aren't impediments to stardom.
As usual, good teams were rewarded. The Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings, both 13-1, each led their conference with nine players each.
And the only four teams without representatives were clear losers --Indianapolis (3-11), Chicago (3-11), Philadelphia (3-11) and St. Louis (4-10).
But the Dolphins (9-5) came close, placing only defensive tackle Tim Bowens on the AFC squad that will face the AFC Feb. 7 in Honolulu. That's compared with five from Baltimore (5-9)
``As good as the defense has been playing, I felt we'd get some recognition,'' coach Jimmy Johnson said. ``It always make you scratch your head.''
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