A look back at 2013-14

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By most standards 2014 was a banner year for high school sports.

Five prep teams from Valencia County made the Final Four of their respective state playoffs — the Belen and Los Lunas football teams, the Los Lunas and Valencia girls basketball teams and the Los Lunas boys basketball team.

News-Bulletin file photo: LOS LUNAS SENIORS Jacob Holland (4), Chad Murphy (12) and Chris Sanchez (32) helped lead the Tigers to both the regular season and district tournament titles as well as a berth in the Class 4A state championship game — the first-ever title game in boys basketball for the Tigers program.

Of those five, the Tigers boys and girls hoops teams played for the state championship in New Mexico’s basketball Mecca — The Pit.

Two more teams finished in the top four of their championship meets – the Belen boys cross country team and the Belen wrestling team. The Eagle grapplers finished third in the state one week after claiming yet another district championship.

So which school earned the mythical championship for best athletic program in the county?

Based on state championship results, you’d have to go with Los Lunas by a hair over Belen.

The Tigers’ two state runners-up in basketball (and a first -ever state title game or the boys) and final four team in football area great for their resume.

And don’t forget LLHS’ seven district titles — boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, volleyball, girls track and field and boys golf.

The Eagles’ credentials are pretty solid too: third place in wrestling, final four in football, top four in boys cross country.

And you have to throw in three district championships – football, wresting and boys track for BHS. That’s a pretty good year, too.

And don’t forget Valencia claimed league titles in baseball (second in the last two years) as well as softball and girls golf (a first in both sports).

Naming the top high school athlete in the county would be a tough proposition this season.

Belen has several good candidates with the likes of Issac Valdez (football, wrestling, track and field), Arena Lewis (cross country, softball, track) and Aaron Valenzuela and Jacob Garcia (both cross country and track) and Andrew Castillo (football and baseball).

Los Lunas also has a few good candidates with Darron Gallegos (football, wrestling, baseball), Jacob Holland and Chris Sanchez (both football and basketball), Teige Zeller (basketball, track, golf) and Cera Chavez (basketball, track) near the top of the list.

And Valencia also had an embarrassment of riches with athletes like Kristina Contratto (soccer, basketball, track), Josh Baca (basketball and baseball), Joshua Burbank (football, track), Brenda Baeza (volleyball and basketball) and Carisma Lovato (cross country and track).

And that’s just the multi-sport athletes. There are a ton of single-sport athletes in the county as well.

Needless to say, there are a lot of great prep athletes in Valencia County.

And by the way, you can now read about sports from the 2013-14 season online for free at www.news-bulletin.com.