Small MVCS athletics department fights to compete
Las Cruces Bulletin
Changes loom for the Mesilla Valley Christian Schools athletics program.
Next season — the 2016-17 campaign — the Son Blazers will drop down to a smaller division, from 3A to compete in 2A.
In football, the product will even look different as MVCS will field an 8-man squad and play against other 8-man programs.
Some MVCS Son Blazers’ athletics programs such as the boys’ basketball team, which took home the state championship last year, as well as the school’s tennis team, a runner-up for state title last year, are set to exceed all expectations within the lower divisional placement. But the school’s struggling football and girls’ basketball teams are looking forward to the prospect of being much more competitive against equivalent-level competition.
“It’s incredible how well some of our teams do with how small our school is,” Superintendent John Foreman said.
‘Size can be a problem’
MVCS has about 90 students total in the high school.
“But for some of our teams, size can be a problem, especially for our football team which struggles with fatigue during the second half because of a lack of fresh bodies on the field,” Foreman said.
The issue is similar for the girls’ basketball team.
“There would be times where the girls’ coach would call timeouts to simply give the girls some rest,” Foreman said. “It can be incredibly hard for these girls; there is no possibility for subs so they are left playing the whole game.”
His daughter, a junior at the high school, plays on the basketball team. He said she would come home completely exhausted after the games.
The girls’ basketball team was unable to pull out a win last season with just six players on the roster. So far this season, with 11 players, the team has recorded three victories, something Foreman sees as a direct improvement and a great sign going into smaller divisional play next year.
The volleyball team is also expected to see an upward turn when the divisional change sets in. The team has already exhibited great ability with MVCS volleyball players winning the award for best 3A district player two years in a row: Maddie Andersson in 2014 and Hannah Nunley in 2015.
Foreman also sees a great future for the school’s baseball team that he helped build more than 10 years ago.
“For both the baseball and softball teams we have, we are seeing great things for them in the future,” Foreman said. “Our junior class this year is extremely athletic, and it will be great to see what they can do in their senior year.”
With the division change in sight, there are high hopes for state championships, but the boys’ basketball team still has their sights set on another state championship this year, despite a slower-than-expected start.
The defending champs have posted a 5-6 record through their first 10 games this season. The Son Blazers beat Chaparral 59-58 at home Tuesday, Jan. 12.
“We’ve started off slower than we would have liked,” Jeremy Roman, the team’s head coach, said. “But we have also had a really tough schedule having to play both 4A and 5A teams, but through these tough losses we have learned a lot about ourselves.”
Roman attributes the losses not only to the tough level of play but also to bad shot selection on his team’s behalf. The team has great shooters with a lot of confidence, which is a great characteristic, but there is still room to learn when and where to shoot, he said.
“The goal is for us to be the best team that we can possibly be, and not compare ourselves to anyone else,” Roman said. “I always tell these guys, if we are the best we can be then we will win state.”
By the time district play rolls around, the team will be ready, Roman said.
According to Foreman, at MVCS, extracurricular activity “is a huge aspect of the school.
“Schools our size generally don’t have as many athletic programs as we do,” he said.
With 90 students enrolled at MVCS and eight active sports teams playing throughout the school year, it could be said that the school has a sports culture. But winning does not seem to be the first goal in mind for Foreman or the MVCS staff; character- building is the foremost goal.
“It’s not just about winning games,” Foreman said, “It’s about personal development and personal growth.”
Despite a lack of funding and space for Son Blazer sports programs, there is much more to making a winning team and it all begins with character.
“Simply having an expensive stadium or field does not produce a morally strong player or team,” he said.
Foreman also made it clear that players do not get cut in any of the sports programs at MVCS. There is the possibility of being placed on a junior varsity squad instead of varsity, but if a student wants to play a sport, he or she will get that opportunity.
“As long as our kids keep their grades up and accomplish what they are expected to accomplish inside and outside of the classroom, they will get to play,” he said.