NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – With her collegiate softball season in the rearview mirror, Andrea Howard is now focused on the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. The Lobos senior outfielder has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Italy and has played on the Italian national team for the last five years.
“It’s been incredible,” said Howard. “I am very thankful to be able to represent both America and Italy. It has been just a ride to play with those girls.” Howard has to make the team again to get to the games and that starts soon. “I will meet with the team on the 20th, and then from there on we have a 6 or 7-day spring training camp before the European championship,” said Howard. “After that first training camp is when they will make the first round of cuts, and then after that tournament, they will make the final cuts for Tokyo.”
In other sports news, New Mexico United returns to the pitch to host Austin Bold FC. It’s the second meeting between the clubs this season. New Mexico United defeated the Austin Bold in the first home game of their season. “A lot can change in 3 or 4 weeks and when you watch them play at Pittsburgh, which I can tell you from experience is a really difficult place to go and get three points, they did phenomenal in terms of the way they defended and they’re very dangerous on the counter,” said NM United Head Coach Troy Lesesne. “I think they certainly have a better idea of who they are as do we in week one of the season.”
Game time Saturday is at 7:30 p.m. at RGCU Field at Isotopes Park.
Meanwhile, Ryan Garcia of St. Pius is the Gatorade New Mexico High School Boys Player of the Year. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior forward scored 14 goals and passed for four assists this past season, leading the Sartans to a 3-5 record in a pandemic-shortened campaign.
World champion boxer and two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields won her MMA debut Thursday night. The Jackson and Wink-trained fighter came from behind to score a third-round TKO against Brittany Elkin.
The Duke City Gladiators will square off against the coach who led the team to a pair of CIF Championships. The Gladiators, who now play in the IFL, will face former coach Dominic Bramante and the Northern Arizona Wranglers Saturday at 7:05 p.m. A rivalry between the two clubs is already starting to brew.
Lastly, the Albuquerque Isotopes and Salt Lake City are playing the second game of their six-game series. Salt Lake won the first game 7-4 Thursday night. At 9-22, the Isotopes are in last place in the East Division of Triple-A West.