ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Beginning in 2022/2023, eighth-graders will be able to compete in high school sports. The student athletes deciding to make the early leap must compete for the school in their housing district and comply with NMAA eligibility.

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“Incoming freshmen to the program right now get a free slate academically, meaning even if they weren’t eligible at the middle school level they were still able to participate,” said APS athletic director Adrian Ortega. “This way, when they come in from 8th grade, they have to be eligible. So, I feel like that’s another carrot for the middle school student to get good grades.”

There are also other changes coming to APS athletics in the future. Schools are now allowed to schedule out-of-state games if they wish to do so beginning in the spring.

Another change is in the metro basketball tournament. Hobbs, Santa Fe, and Gallup boys teams will all be a part of the next tournament, and APS schools that wish to opt-out can choose to do so.

“My vision is to make that metro tournament a pre-state tournament basically,” Ortega said. “That one and 16 matchup might go oh….so make that thing possibly and upset.”

In other news, former Albuquerque Academy standout James Borrego has been fired as head coach of the Charlotte Hornets. Borrego spent four seasons leading the Hornets and finished with a 138-163 win/loss record.

Also, Katherine Lindenmuth will be making her professional boxing debut on Friday night at the Battle at 5 Points card. When her husband, long-time ring announcer James Lindenmuth, suddenly passed away in 2019, she found an outlet in boxing.

“Going into boxing gave me a really good focus. I have been in the gym since I was 14, and I just came back really strong. I know it was something he was really passionate for, and I took a lot from being in the stands for those fights, and I am just trying to bring it into what I am doing now.”