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My Top 10 favorite shots of 2008

I thought I’d post my favorite sports shots of 2008. Not all them necessarily include action, but from my perspective there’s usually a memorable moment behind each.

Number 10

Defensive coordinator

Denzel Pleasant

Clovis vs Las Cruces (controlled scrimmage) – August 20, 2008

After an athletic interception and enthusiastic celebration, Clovis strong safety Denzel Pleasant is brought down to earth by his coach, explaining that he was playing the wrong side of the field, leaving his man wide open, and the interception should never have happened if he was playing his position correctly.

Number 9

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Lordsburg guard, Julia Talavera, drives to the basket.

Julia Talavera – Lordsburg vs Rehoboth – March 12, 2008

I’ve cut my teeth shooting mostly at the 2A level, so there’s a natural familiarity when I shoot these athletes. Lordsburg and Tularosa, both from 5-2A made it to the state tournament, and I went up early to catch them play. Lordsburg fell to Rehoboth in the first round, but they played a great game. They’re back with many of the same players this season, so I expect to see them make another appearance in ’09.

Number 8

Zach Adams

Zach Adams moves the ball up the court.

Zack Adams – MVCS vs Texico, March 15, 2008

Mesilla Valley had just won a triple-overtime game against Santa Rosa the previous day, and had to take on Texico in the 2A State Championship game. They lost the game, I think in part from the emotionally and physically exhausting Santa Rosa game. Look for them to be a contender for the Blue Trophy again this year.

Number 7

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Las Cruces High libero, Cori Perrault, making diving saves.

Cori Perrault, libero, Las Cruces High

To a certain extent, there is some predictability in volleyball as to where the ball will be placed by the attacker. It’s the libero’s responsibility to skillfully defend against the attack from the back row by digging the ball, controlling the attack, and setting up her team’s attack.

I was lucky enough to get a good look at quite a few talented players in this position (Lynn Coppedge of MVCS and Breanna Diaz of Mayfield) over the season. I always was able to catch some exciting and fearless play from Cori.

Number 6

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Whitney Glenn, 14, celebrates a kill with teammates.

Mesilla Valley vs Estancia – September 20, 2008

I think Whitney’s expression says it all. The Lady SonBlazers were playing at an extremely high level that day. They were able to beat an incredibly talented Estancia team, and went on to win the Mountain Top title over their fierce rivals, the Texico Lady Wolverines.

Number 5

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NMSU fullback Brandon Perez shakes off a San Jose State tackler.

Brandon Perez, NMSU vs SJSU, October 18, 2008

Speaking of fearless, this was the second time during this game that Brandon had his helmet torn off his head, and he continued playing both times. The Aggies were in the red zone for this play, and Brandon was determined to get into the end zone. Unfortunately for the Aggies, the San Jose State defenders were a little more determined.

Number 4

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Jamar Cotton, left, celebrates a touchdown with his team during the NFL-JPD camp.

NFL-JPD Camp, July 2008

New Mexico State University hosted what I hope will be the first of many NFL Junior Player Development camp in conjunction with the Arizona Cardinals over the summer. The purpose of the camp is for coaches and players from the high school and college level teach younger players lessons about football, sportsmanship and life.

After going through drills to help players improve technique, teams are formed and “mini” scrimmages are played at the end of the day.

Jamar Cotton, a linebacker with NMSU, volunteered 2-3 hours a day for 2 weeks to make the program a success. Other volunteers included coordinator Billy Avalos, Ray Cadena, Dale Lindley and players from  NMSU, Las Cruces and Mayfield, to name just a few.

Number 3

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Portales libero LeAnne Blaeser sits in disbelief after having lost their semifinal match to eventual 3A state champions, Ruidoso.

Portales vs Ruidoso – November 14, 2008

Portales fought tooth and nail to proceed to the next round, but a defiant and strong Ruidoso squad dashed their hopes rather easily in their semifinal match. The further progress made in the tournament, the tougher it is to take a loss.  LeAnne seemed to express her disappointment with a little more body language than her teammates.

Number 2

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NMSU's Lindsey Yon jousts with Texas' Ashley Engle.

NMSU vs Texas, September 6, 2008

The University of Texas, ranked #4 in the nation at the time, made it to this year’s NMSU Tournament in early September, and wowed the crowd with some incredible volleyball action. Although the Longhorns swept NMSU, the Aggies got to face some top ten competition. I think this experience helped them defeat  Hawai’i in Hawai’i (ranked #6) on October 12, 2008, and progress to the second round of the NCAA tournament on December 6, 2008.

Number 1

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Mayfield celebrates after winning 5A State Championship

Mayfield vs Rio Rancho, November 15, 2008

Jessica Groen, 12, celebrates with her team after having scored the final kill in Mayfield’s upset of defending 5A champions, Rio Rancho. The team turned around faced my side of the court, as Jessica ran straight towards me to celebrate. The Mayfield parents/fans were in the bleachers to my right, so I think many of the players were looking for familiar faces.

By blind luck I think I was able to capture the whole range of emotion in one shot; the team in the foreground and crowd in the upper bleachers celebrating; Rio Rancho players on the court and bench and the Rio Rancho pep squad in shock.

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