NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New Mexico youth sports has a target date for a return. The New Mexico Public Education Department informed the New Mexico Activities Association Tuesday that all of its athletics and activities can return on Feb. 22. The start date is contingent on the expansion of in-person learning which will be monitored for two weeks by both the NMPED and Department of Health beginning Feb. 8, when in-person learning at schools in New Mexico is set to start.
If it is determined that the expansion is not leading to significant increases in the spread of COVID-19, the NMAA may begin sports and activities on Feb. 22. “You know it’s a beginning,” said NMAA Executive Director Sally Marquez. “We will meet with our board of directors tomorrow morning and then the athletic directors and coaches this week.”
A revised sports calendar will be one of the things considered by the board of directors Wednesday morning. “I think we have to talk about the calendar, game limitations, just different, scholastic eligibility,” said Marquez. “There’s a lot of questions still to answer. I know there’s a lot of questions that parents have that kids have, coaches, media. We will get all of that information out, but right now today is a great day and we are going to play sports again in New Mexico.”
Meanwhile, the Lobo men’s basketball team got to do something this week that it hasn’t done all season, have a full practice at home. The Lobos have spent the season on the road because of state health orders for COVID-19. When those orders were eased, the Lobos were allowed to practice in New Mexico. “Guys got into the locker room yesterday for the first time,” said Head Coach Paul Weir. “They were like kids in a candy store, haven’t been able to be in our locker room since last March. So, to be able to move your things into a place for the first time, I thought was exciting.”
The Lobos start a two-game Mountain West Conference series at Fresno State Thursday.
Lastly, three-time defending WAC champion New Mexico State will start the defense of their title Friday. The Aggies are at Grand Canyon. “They’re really, really good,” said Aggies Head Coach Chris Jans. “I don’t see many weaknesses in them. Coach Drew and his staff have walked in and done an excellent job of making that program theirs and putting their stamp on it right away. We’ll have more than our hands full to figure out a way to try and play against those guys.”