WEEKLY INTERVIEW WITH NMAA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SALLY MARQUEZ JUNE 7, 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.
Let’s start this week with some positive news. There are some changes when it comes to travel and concessions. What has been decided?
We’ve heard from the governor’s office that overnight travel can take place. That not only affects spring sports, it also affects those that are doing summer camps and activities. Overnight travel within whatever the school districts allow, remember summer is local autonomy. As far as spring sports, we will talk to the athletic directors to see if we need to make any adjustments when it comes to the time schedule for spring sports. We will not change any of the formats because of this new change to overnight travel.
The State Bowling Championships took place on Friday. How rewarding was it to see another activity be able to participate and compete?
I went to bowling and there were smiles everywhere. Whether there were six teams, or seven teams, or whoever could compete, it was nice to know that bowling was able to have a culminating event. The bowling alleys did not open up until May and Don Thompson, who is head of our bowling, he did a fantastic job and we had a lot of volunteers that pulled this together for kids. It was an example of doing everything we can so that the kids could do the activities that they love and this was a prime example and it was a great event.
Individual state tennis championships get underway this week. What is different that fans should expect in this COVID year?
The main difference is we are not going to have a first round. We are shrinking the field and we will have quarterfinals, semifinals and finals in both the individual and team championships. A big difference is they are going to be on two separate weekends. The individuals will be this week. Right now, it’s scheduled for the quarters and semis on Thursday and the finals on Saturday. As far as the team championships, they will be the following weekend. It’s not going to be on the same week. In previous years, we would go Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. We have separated the two and we will do the team championships the following week.
With other state championships coming up this month, student athletes are still required by the governor to wear masks while competing. What about the fans?
At this point we are still under mask wearing orders. Our events are categorized under ‘schools’. The CDC guidelines still say that schools are mask wearing. We will continue to communicate with the governor’s office and the public education department as far as mask wearing. We are hoping there might be some incentive in order to be able to remove the mask. Until then, we are mask wearing in all of our events.
Lastly, in regards to masks with student-athletes, has there been any changes to the governor’s orders and what is the possibility of any changes before the season is over?
I’ve been in communication with the governor’s office. They have been talking about fully vaccinated versus not vaccinated. They’ve also talked about incentives for kids to get vaccinated. But until we hear the final word from the governor’s office, we are mask wearing in our events. Like I said before, the CDC guidelines is under ‘schools’ and schools must mask wear. That’s where we fall in. We have to do the best job we can with mask wearing. We have two and three weeks left in the season. We’re almost to the finish line. So, let’s follow the governor’s orders and do everything we can to make these great events for the spring sports athletes. We are playing and we will get to the finish line.