The mission for a blue trophy begins Monday for 16 Curry County and De Baca County team.
That’s the first day high school sports practices can begin in New Mexico, with local schools getting ready for campaigns in football, volleyball, soccer and cross country.
The Clovis Wildcats will take the football field 4 p.m. Monday, as there are teacher meetings throughout the day. The Class 5A semifinalists had a young backfield last year, with Jordan Hill splitting time at quarterback and the rushing load handled by now-seniors Quran Wiggins and Juan Rivas and now-junior Ray Beachum.
“We’ve got a lot of our skill people back,” Clovis assistant Darren Kelley said. “They’re going to have to step up and lead us during the season. Quran and Juan and Ray Beachum, all three of those guys carried the ball quite a bit and did a good job.”
There aren’t too many new faces, Kelley said, as there weren’t as many move-ins (military or otherwise) over the summer.
The Wildcat cross country and soccer teams will take the field as well, and former assistant coach Gabe Apodaca takes over the Wildcat volleyball program after longtime coach Darrel Ray left for an assistant position in Friona.
Two schools — Texico in volleyball and Melrose in eight-man football— are defending championship streaks. The Buffaloes have won their last 26 games and the last two football trophies, while Texico is defending a run of four straight.
“We know the pressure,” Texico coach Kristen Scanlan said. “We have four kids, probably five, that had extensive playing time coming back. We’re optimistic. We’ve played a bunch this summer. We feel good about our district “
Scanlan said the biggest challenges are Tularosa, which brings back most of the squad Texico defeated in last year’s 2A title match, and Rehoboth.
Other schools that start action Monday include Fort Sumner, with last season’s Class 1A volleyball runnerup, Clovis Christian and Grady.