A look at future foes of county high school teams

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Now that we’ve looked back at 2013, it’s time to look forward to 2014. Specifically, let’s look at the three high schools that will be district opponents for the Belen Eagles, Los Lunas Tigers and Valencia Jaguars in the new Class 5A next fall season — the Santa Teresa Desert Warriors, Chaparral Lobos and Las Cruces Centennial Hawks.

Interestingly, all three southern New Mexico schools opened within the last 10 years — Centennial starting in the 2012-13 season followed by Chaparral in the 2006-07 season and Santa Teresa starting varsity play in the 2005-06 season.

The STHS owns one Class 4A state title in boys basketball; Chaparral won the 4A state title in boys soccer last season. Centennial made the football playoffs in both of its first two years of existence.

In soccer, Chaparral’s boys have very good while the Lady Lobos have been very bad in their three years of varsity play.

Centennial boys soccer has been somewhat competitive while the girls team is building.

Soccer and baseball are the strong points for Santa Teresa, which area teams can already attest to. The Desert Warriors eliminated both Valencia and Los Lunas in last year’s state baseball tournament and have been a consistently tough opponent for all three teams in the area.

The Lady Warriors eliminated Belen in girls soccer this past season, while Belen did the same last year. The Santa Teresa boys are also tough in soccer.

Basketball is a mixed bag. Chaparral’s boys and girls teams are still developing. Centennial’s boys are currently ranked No. 2 and have been the surprise of the season. The girls are mediocre so far this season. Santa Teresa’s girls are also still developing.

So in hoops, District 3-5A will be a bit of a step down — losing a traditional girl’s power such as Gallup (and their strong traveling contingent of fans) will hurt.

Baseball, however, will be the strongest sport district-wide.

Volleyball will not be.

Centennial has won two years running, going undefeated both years. The Hawks were a final-four team in 2013. So they’ll be a good add to the schedules of county teams. Santa Teresa and Chaparral are both lower-level teams.

All three Doña Ana County schools sent full squads to state in cross county in the girls division, with Santa Teresa finishing eighth behind Valencia. In the boys division, Santa Teresa both finished in the bottom half at the state meet. In cross country, the three Valencia County schools will likely be the class of the league.

In track and field, Chaparral, Santa Teresa and Centennial all finished as three of the bottom four teams in 4A, while Santa Teresa’s girls took ninth, just behind Los Lunas in eighth place. Chaparral finished 12th overall. Things may be a little more competitive on the girls’ side, but in the boy’s events, all three teams from the north should be the bullies on the block.

In wrestling, all three schools fell far below district bully boys, Deming. The sport is nearly a religion here in the county, so don’t expect ay southern schools to compete more than they already are.

Football is a very similar situation to wrestling. Centennial will contend, but may find the going harder as they now will have three teams to contend with rather than one team — Santa Teresa and Chaparral are not known for their football prowess yet.

Overall, things look good in terms of district championships for the teams of all three Valencia County schools. Whether that translates to state championships, we’ll have to see.

Tough districts, not weak ones, typically produce state champs.

Stay tuned.