Rattler teams gear up for February

William Thompson

The Tucumcari High School varsity boys and girls basketball teams, and the school’s wresting team are all heading into a serious month with district tournaments looming on the horizon.

The Tucumcari Boys Basketball Team, with an 11-4 record, still controls its own destiny. Coach John Span said although in the tournament every team has a chance, Tucumcari can help themselves immensely by winning the next several games.

“The remaining regular season games are important in terms of seeding,” said Span. “The teams with the higher seeds are going to have an easier time of it.”
Span said there’s no team on the upcoming schedule worrying him, except possibly, Clayton.

“Clayton is one team that we maybe don’t match up with really well,” he said, “but we are not afraid of any team.”
Span said the Rattlers’ Chris McCasland is nursing a sprained ankle, but should be ready to play soon. Otherwise, the coach said his team is healthy and in good condition.

“I may even let up a little on their conditioning as we head into tournament play,” Span said, “but if the players start slacking up in games, I’ll go back to the normal conditioning we do before every practice.”

The girls’ varsity basketball team, despite their 1-17 record, are still motivated , according to Coach Alicia Trujillo.

“Our girls knew coming in that this year was going to be a rebuilding year,” said Trujillo. “They’ve had to get used to a new program, and a new coach.”

Trujillo pointed to the Lady Rattlers’ two games against Clayton this year, as a mark of the team’s improvement.

“The first time we played Clayton, they beat us by 40 points,” she said. The second time we played them we were down by only four points at the end of the first half.”

Trujillo said her team might surprise some other teams in the upcoming tournament.

“I can see us getting an upset over somebody,” she said.

Tucumcari Head Wrestling Coach Eddie Encinias said the high school wrestling team expects to place well in the state tournament which begins Feb. 19 in Las Vegas.

“Justin Garcia, our Heavyweight, and Michael Baca, our 171 pounder, have been there before, and I think they are going to place at or near the top,” said Encinias.

Encinias also likes the chances of other team hopefuls, Jacob Otero, Fernando Ureste and John Sewell.

“John Sewell has shown particular progress,” said Encinias. “Each one of these guys could be top in the state.”
Encinias said the upcoming month is crucial to his team.
“It’s all about February,” said Encinias. “February is crunch time.”