ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In this edition of the Sports Desk we start with news from collegiate athletics in New Mexico. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham sent out a letter to the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University urging the universities to postpone fall contact sports.
UNM Athletic Director, Eddie Nunez held a press conference with the media on Wednesday and gave his response to the letter and what the department and university hope to do moving forward. “It is something that we will continue to consider as we get further along with the NCAA and the Mountain West and when a decision is rendered, kind of where football or fall sports are going, that we have an opportunity to sit down again with her office and be able to have those conversations and see at that point where we go from there,” said Nunez.
The health and the safety of students and student-athletes are at the forefront of all of UNM’s decisions moving forward but Nunez did say that his department is working with other universities and conferences to come up with a plan in football were to come back at some point.
“If the opportunity presents itself to have football again when the time comes. If it’s in the fall, if it’s late fall, if it’s spring, we do have various plans that would allow us not just to execute the game without fans, but possibly with fans as well, and our hope is we can hopefully put them in place at some point,” said Nunez.
Nunez also released a statement on Wednesday regarding UNM Athletics COVID-19 testing:
The University of New Mexico Athletics Department had 106 COVID-19 tests the week July 5 through July 19. There were 86 student-athletes tested and 21 coaches and staff. Of the 106 tests, 102 came back negative with four positive tests. Of the positive tests, three were student-athletes and one was a coach/staff member that hadn’t had contact with any of the student-athletes.
So overall, UNM has now had 225 tests conducted with six positive results, four student-athletes and two coaches or staff members.
Moving on to soccer, New Mexico United will be in action on Friday in El Paso. New Mexico United played El Paso last week and that match ended in 2-2 draw. NM United is now 1-1-1 on the season. They got off to a great start in their game on Wednesday with El Paso, as they took an early lead with a goal from Chris Wehan. The Locomotive would bounce back though, and lead 2-1 at the half.
“You know its really important in my opinion that if we get the lead to close it out each half. That’s for me number 1,” said New Mexico United forward Devon Sandoval.
New Mexico United will be back in action on Friday in El Paso, at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN+.
Holly Holm heard some bad news on Wednesday, as the Albuquerque native and former UFC Bantamweight Champion was told that her fight on August 1 is now postponed. Multiple reports are saying that Holm’s opponent, Irene Aldana, tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to bow out for the August 1 date. Holly’s longtime promoter, Lenny Fresquez could not confirm if Aldana tested positive for COVID-19, but he did say that this fight is postponed and that Holm is very disappointed.
We will keep you updated on Holm as she currently holds a 13-5 professional record. Holm’s teammate at Jackson & Wink Academy, Arron Pico will be in action of Friday night though, as he is set to take on Chris Hatley apart of the Bellator 242 Fight Card.
Pico currently holds a 5-3 professional record and is coming off of a victory in January. This Friday night fight will mark the third fight that he has been training with Jackson and Wink Academy and he is feeling more confident in his game.
“I have come a long way since being in Albuquerque. I really really spent time with the coaches and I have really learned how to fight. I feel very confident with the team I have and the work that we put in, so honestly, I am very excited to go out there,” said Aaron Pico.
Pico will fight on Friday night in Connecticut and that fight card will be shown live on the Paramount Network starting at 8 p.m.
Now let’s finish with Wednesday’s edition of The Lost Season, as we highlight St. Pius X High School student-athlete Amber Baker.
“Hi, my name is Amber Baker. I am a member of the graduating class from 2020 from St. Pius X High School. I will be attending Grand Canyon University in the fall. In high school, I played soccer and ran track and field. In 2019 I was the district runner up and state qualifier for the 100-meter hurdles, while the season lasted I was the 2020 team captain for the St. Pius Track and Field Team. I was very devastated and emotional when I heard that the 2020 season was being canceled because I had essentially given up my senior soccer season to be able to train for my senior track season. On the other hand, the coronavirus has given me this new love and appreciation for the sport of track and field that I would have never had if it weren’t for COVID, and I am beyond thankful that I have had at least three years with the most amazing teammates and amazing coaches by my side, giving me these memories that I will never forget,” Baker said.