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Peerman's Power Rankings: 10 best things in New Mexico sports this week (May 13)

May 13—Welcome to Peerman's Power Rankings (PPR), the 10 athletes, teams and story lines that have Journal sports editor Lucas Peerman's attention.

Have a suggestion, complaint or compliment? Email lpeerman@abqjournal.com or contact me on X @LucasPeerman.

10. Mari Narvaiz

No second baseman in the Northeastern Conference was better on defense than Narvaiz, a sophomore for Long Island University. The 2022 Manzano Athlete of the Year was awarded the NEC's Gold Glove award after recording 82 putouts, 74 infield assists and helped turn seven double plays.

9. Emma Bunch

Bunch, a sophomore, became the first Aggie to be named a finalist for the ANNIKA Award, given annually to the top female Division 1 collegiate golfer. She's the only one of the 10 finalists from a school in a non-power conference. How ascendant was Bunch this year? She was champion (or co-champion) of five events, including winning the Conference USA tournament.

8. Malie Satete

This West Las Vegas slugger was on PPR last week after tying the state softball record for most home runs in a season (20). On Tuesday, the eighth-grader broke the record and by the end of the weekend had belted 23 homers on the year — which, according to MaxPreps, is tied for second nationally. The Lady Dons, who won their district, still have state tournament games to play. Yes, she's an eighth-grader.

7. Corley sisters

Journal prep sports editor James Yodice captured the drama in his reporting of the 5A girls individual championship tennis match Thursday: "Vivica Corley was down 1-4 in the third set to Cameron King of La Cueva, but the Eldorado junior rallied and, after a compelling 3 hours and 25 minutes against an ailing but valiant King at the Jerry Cline Courts, Corley pulled out an epic 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (5) victory." What makes this even more special is that Vivica became the fourth Corley sister to win a singles tennis title, following Ivana, Carmen and twin sister Vianca, who won the singles title last year and the doubles title this year.

6. Albuquerque Academy boys tennis

There may not be a more dominant school in any high school sport in New Mexico than the Chargers boys tennis team. Academy won its 21st straight title (and 27th overall) over the weekend, this time playing in the 1A-4A class. The last time Academy didn't win a state title was in 2002. That year, "Spider-Man," the first Tobey Maguire one, was the No. 1 movie at the box office, Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" topped the airwaves and the Nokia 6100 was the most popular mobile phone (apropros since the Chargers are equally unbreakable).

5. Kate Henderson

Sandia Prep's magnificent junior distance runner crushed it at this weekend's small school track and field championships, winning two golds and setting the new standard for 3A girls 1,600 meters. In that race, she broke a 16-year-old mark, besting the state record by nearly 5 seconds. Henderson also won the 800 meters this weekend, crossing the finish line just two-tenths of second from the record time. Henderson ran the 3,200 faster than anyone in her class before her, except for one girl — Chloe Grieco from St. Michael's, who won the race. Both Grieco and Henderson finished in state-record time.

4. Runs in the family

At least three sets of siblings each won gold medals at this past weekend's small school track and field championships — many breaking state records in the process. Haden Judd of Logan — Saturday's star at the University of New Mexico Complex — had victories in the Class 1A boys 100, 200, the 300-meter intermediate hurdles and the pole vault. Makinlee Judd won the 1A girls 100-meter hurdles. Between them, the Judds set four state records (in all the hurdle events). Dulce's Jaren Johnson won the 2A boys 100-meter high hurdles and James Johnson the 2A boys javelin, smashing the state record by nearly 24 feet in the process. Oak Grove Classical Academy's Olivia and Joshua Marquez each set state records in the 1A 3,200 meters — Olivia for the girls, Joshua for the boys.

3. Habtom Samuel

No runner has ever beaten this UNM freshman in a Mountain West Conference race. Ever. Granted, Samuel's still a freshman, so there's time for this to happen. But, it didn't happen this year as he completed a perfect MW season by winning both races he entered — the 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter — at this weekend's Mountain West Outdoor Championships. Samuel was one of only two Lobos to win gold (Maja Gebauer won the women's pole vault title) as the UNM men finished fifth and the women finished sixth at the event.

2. UNM baseball

The Mountain West Conference baseball tournament takes the top four teams, and with one weekend to go in the regular season, there are five squads with a legitimate chance at the postseason. Fresno State and UNM are tied at the top with 16-11 records. Air Force is one game back and Nevada and San Jose State are two games back. This weekend, the Lobos travel to San Jose, the Bulldogs are at USAF Academy and the Wolf Pack is host to last-place San Diego State. Here are two notable stats as UNM took two of three from Nevada in its home series finale this past weekend: Reed Spenrath hit two grand slams in Friday's 16-0 victory, the first time a Lobo's hit multiple grand salamis in the same game in 32 years; and Lobo pitchers posted a 2.33 ERA, their lowest in any three-game span this season. Spenrath and Lobo pitcher Dayne Pengelly were named Mountain West player and pitcher of the week, respectively.

1. New Mexico United

The side is sizzling. New Mexico United won three matches in eight days with Saturday victories at Las Vegas and over Oakland at home to boost their USLC record to 6-1-2, good enough for second in the Western Conference. Sandwiched between was a 4-2 win Wednesday over Real Salt Lake in a U.S. Open Cup match at Isotopes Park. RSL became the first MLS team to ever play in Albuquerque. With its win, United advanced to the round of 16 to play at NYCFC II on May 21. Coach Eric Quill has this season's new additions meshing well with the squad's established veterans, and the promising start is bringing fans out to the stadium. An announced crowd of more than 11,000 showed up on a rainy day Saturday to cheer on the Yellow and Black.

Honorable mention

Desirae Spearman: This freshman sensation for the New Mexico State softball team was named Conference USA Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and was named to the all-CUSA first team as both a pitcher and an outfielder.

NMSU women's track and field: The Aggies finished third in the Conference USA outdoor track and field meet over the weekend. Two athletes took gold. Rebecca Green won the shot put and Terice Steen won the 400-meter hurdles.

Andrew Rodriguez: A 6-foot-4, right-handed pitcher from El Paso, he led New Mexico Highlands in strikeouts this season (43 in 12 appearances) and this past week was named Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Freshman Pitcher of the Year.

End of the bench

In two games at the G League Elite Camp, Jaelen House averaged 14.5 points, 3.5 assists and had a steal and a block. That didn't earn the former Lobo an invite to the NBA Draft Combine (the ultimate prize for the top performers at the G League Elite Camp), but House did enough to warrant a phone call or two when NBA teams are filling out their summer league squads. House's play also warranted some kudos from the commentators calling the Elite Camp action, which was broadcast on YouTube. Among the comments: "The New Mexico Lobos this past season were one of the Cinderella teams in the NCAA Tournament. Remember, they made it to the Sweet 16 and Eddie (House) and Jaelen were all over television ... telling the father-son story, and then they had a tough night in the regional semifinals." Sweet 16? Regional semifinals? Will Perdue and Mark Schanowski, take a seat on the bench and study up on recent NCAA Tournament history lest you deliver any more misinformation. The Houses did make for compelling television at the 2024 Mountain West Tournament, one Lobo fans won't soon forget.