WEEKLY INTERVIEW WITH NMAA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SALLY MARQUEZ JUNE 14, 2021
New Mexico Activities Association Executive Director Sally Marquez answers questions about the return to athletics and activities for the 2020-2021 school year. Here is this week’s interview.
The singles and doubles State tennis championships took place last week. How did it go?
It went really well. Even though it was hot in the mid-afternoon, the kids were smiling and competing and we were able to pull off this event. The individual tennis championships was one event we didn’t know if we were going to be able to have it. Usually in tennis, we do the individuals and the team in one week and we start on a Wednesday and finish on a Saturday. With the no overnight travel in the governor’s safe COVID practices guidelines, we were not able to do both at the same time. We worked with the athletic directors and the coaches and we split those up. Last week we did the individual championships and this coming week is the team championships. What’s difference with the team championships is we are usually at tone site for the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. This week, the quarterfinals will be at home sites, and those could be played from today through Thursday or Friday, and we will come to a centralized location on Saturday for the semifinals and finals. Either way, whether it’s in one week or two weeks, we were able to have a great event and those tennis players that did not get a state championship last year were able to compete in both individual and now the team.
Last week there were changes to the start times at state golf. Why move up the start times?
We were trying to get away from the heat in all the events. There is a rule about no overnight travel in the governor’s COVID safe practices, but last week it was changed. We were able to have overnight travel, but there are some limitations with that overnight travel so it was best to keep all the other sports the same but in golf we had worked with the courses to start at 8am to get out of the heat of the day. We are working with the schools to make sure that an 8am start time is ok for those kids and teams that are traveling long distances. We are starting at 8am, instead of 11am, because there is a little bit of change in the overnight travel.
What is different about state track in this COVID year?
It’s a lot different, but kids are able to compete and that’s what we need to focus in on. When we made the schedule and the calendar, there was no overnight travel. We could not have a meet in multiple days. So, what we have done is every class will have a one-day meet. The top 16 will compete in their events. For this week, we will have Class A on Thursday, Class AA on Friday, and Class 3A on Saturday. Next week, we will have Class 4A on Friday and Class 5A on Saturday. We will have finals only. The top 16, as long as they meet a provisional time, will come and compete. We will have two heats in most events and then we will go by time and distance to see who is first through 8th place.
Lastly, the biggest question all athletes want to know is about masks. Are they still required by the governor’s orders to compete?
As of this taping, they are still required. It’s going to be 102 degrees today in Albuquerque, I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like in Carlsbad, Hobbs and Las Cruces. We are watching the heat index in every single event, whether it’s at a home site or a state championship. But we are still mask wearing. The CDC, that is what the governor’s office is following, has not changed the mask wearing for schools. Since we are education based athletics, we fall under the category of schools. As of this taping, we are still mask wearing, we will do the best we can to follow the governor’s orders, but we are playing. We have less than two weeks left and we can do it. The kids are smiling, they are competing, we are handing out medals and trophies and that is so exciting. Let’s hang in there, because we are going to get to the finish line.