Prep notes: Bolaños going back to where he played as Goddard's new football coach

Jan. 30—The Class 5A football landscape is changing in a dramatic way starting next season.

One of the division's most prominent programs has made a change, too.

Art Bolaños, the longtime defensive coordinator at rival Roswell High School, is the new head coach at Goddard, his alma mater.

Bolaños, 44, spent his last 14 years with the Coyotes.

"The job right now was perfect timing," Bolaños said. "I'm here at the very beginning of the offseason, so it's exciting."

Bolaños is a 1996 graduate of Goddard.

"I'm excited, the outreach has been tremendous," he said. "The Goddard community is really excited."

Bolaños replaces longtime coach Chris White. The Rockets were 6-5 last season, losing in the state quarterfinals to Deming and dropping their final three games.

The Roswell defense Bolaños orchestrated last season was superb, as the Coyotes fielded one of the top defensive units in New Mexico, in any class. The season ended with a 35-21 loss in the state final to Artesia.

"I'm so grateful to Jeff (Lynn)," Bolaños said, referring to Roswell's head coach.

Among the urgent priorities for Bolaños, he said, is to scour the hallways at Goddard and try to recruit new players, or even try to lure back former players. He also is still in the process of assembling his coaching staff.

Among Goddard's three nondistrict games next season will be a road game in Albuquerque, at Valley. Vikings coach Billy Cobos also is a Goddard alum (1997); Valley will face Goddard in Roswell's Wool Bowl in the 2025 season.

Bolaños previously interviewed at Los Lunas before the 2021 season. He played at Goddard for Sam Jernigan, and coached for several years with the Rockets earlier in his career.

"I felt like I could be a head coach," Bolaños said, "but I was never in a hurry."

Capital also has a new head coach, and he also is someone who played for the school. John Michael Salazar was named the new Jaguars coach earlier this month. Capital is dropping from Class 6A to Class 5A for at least the next two seasons.

WRESTLING: La Cueva's boys and Atrisco Heritage's girls last weekend won the APS Invitational at Albuquerque High School.

The Bears scored 197 points, ahead of Volcano Vista (131) and third-place Atrisco Heritage (129.5).

La Cueva had champions with Mason Posa at 215, Jack Byers at 152, Joel Gurule at 189 and heavyweight Mark Handy. Cibola and Atrisco Heritage each had multiple champions.

For the Cougars, it was Diego Torrez at 121 and Luke Norris at 145. For the Jaguars, it was Diego Garcia at 114, Anastacio Martinez at 127 and Adrian Martinez at 139 pounds.

Other winners were Zay Flores of Eldorado (107), Adrian Gurule of Rio Grande (133), Brennan Grant of Volcano Vista (160) and Amiri Mumba of Highland (172).

On the girls side, the Jaguars scored 175 points for the team victory, followed by West Mesa (121) and Volcano Vista (117).

Atrisco Heritage's first-place finishers were Estefanie Nayarez at 100 pounds, plus Sophia Rimbert at 114 and Ayleen Carrillo at 138.

West Mesa's champions were Aliyah Shipley at 120 pounds and Kayla Jose at 126. Sandia also had two bracket winners in undefeated Jaden Meadows at 152 and Neviah Varela-Marquez at 145.

The other tournament champions were Emma Gutierrez of Manzano (107), Claudia Aragon of St. Pius (132), Faith Bryant of Highland (165), Chelsea Rivera of Volcano Vista (185) and Alexis Chavez of Del Norte (235).

FOOTBALL COMMITS: Football players from around the state continue to make their verbal commitments for college ahead of the upcoming signing day.

Two of the most prominent to commits from the metro area in recent days were La Cueva tight end Cruz Markham and Albuquerque Academy linebacker Brody Whitaker, who are both headed to Eastern New Mexico. Centennial quarterback Daniel Hernandez is also headed to Portales, as is Volcano Vista linebacker Kian Vander Wilt.

Roswell High running back Bryce Sanchez, coming off a spectacular 2023 season with the Coyotes, won't be going far as he committed to New Mexico Military Institute.

GATORADE: The latest New Mexico Gatorade Athlete of the Year recipient is Charlie Vause of Rio Rancho, in boys cross country.

Vause, a transfer from Ohio, had a dominant junior season for the Rams, culminating in a victory at the Class 5A state meet in November where he set a course record. The next week, he was 14th at the Nike Cross Southwest Regionals in suburban Phoenix..

Vause had nine victories in 10 events during the 2023 season for Rio Rancho.