The New Mexico High School Coaches Association hosted several post season All-Star games during the first few weeks of the summer.
Two Magdalena Steers seniors Hannah Castanon and Kourtney Lewis, were selected to the 12 player roster to represent the Southwest Small Schools region during the two day friendly. The event took place at Valley High School in Albuquerque on June 7-8.
Seven coaches from seven different schools voted on eligible players for the tournament. Head Coach Debbie Taylor from Mesilla Valley and Assistant Coach Angela Sullivan lead the lady hitters to a three sets to one victory over the Northwest all-stars, coached by Monika Sanchez of Laguna Acoma, during main competition on Friday evening. Lewis was named player of the game by the Coaches Association. Southwest was defeated the following day by the Southeast lead by Estancia Head Coach Glenda Noblitt in a much more friendly affair.
“It’s a process of evaluating players you see throughout the season,” Steers coach Bryan Baca said. “All of us are looking at the girls that stand out on all of the teams and their abilities. Our two Steers are out here today because they deserve it. Just watch the game. Defensively Hannah is one of the best back court players and offensively Kourtney has been one of the best hitters all season.”
While having to fill a need with two of its top players graduating, the Magdalena Steers will be on the trail for a new head coach as Bryan Baca has resigned from the position after seven years.
“I want to thank the fans in Magdalena and the opportunity to coach these teams,” he said. “But now it’s time for me to focus on my own kids. I spent many years putting other people’s kids in front of my own and now it’s time to sit back and focus on my family. My son is going into high school football and I want to root for him because I missed a lot of his playing in junior high because of volleyball. It felt like the appropriate moment to pass the torch.”
Baca posted an impressive 119-37 record as head coach and never lost double digit games during a season.
Socorro County had one other athlete at the all-star event. Alamo Navajo Lady Cougar senior Alayah Chavez was also part of the team of girls whom have come to know each other throughout the years of competition against one another. Chavez was a standout on the way to a disappointing 9-13 record in 2018 for the Cougars, its first losing season since 2015.
Southwest All-Star lineup:
• Samantha Bryant - Quemado
• Hannah Castanon - Magdalena
• Alayah Chavez - Alamo Navajo
• Annika Conn - Mesilla Valley
• Jaiden Coyle - Mesilla Valley
• Amaya Jacquez - Cobre
• Angela Lackey - Quemado
• Kourtney Lewis - Magdalena
• Brianna Martinez - Cobre
• Allysa Montoya - Tularosa
• Kara Vallence - Capitan
• Make Velarde - Mesilla Valley