Portales has made a habit this decade of winning volleyball state championships every other year. Texico and Fort Sumner, meanwhile, are striving for five this weekend.
Those three schools have piled up a collective 13 state crowns since 2000 and are among the favorites when the season-ending volleyball tournaments take place in Rio Rancho.
Pool play begins in all classes Thursday as teams will sort out, on the court, who gets the better matchup when bracket play starts. In the larger classifications, Clovis in 5A and Portales 3A for instance, a huge incentive exists for actually winning a respective pool.
The goal is to win a bye into play on Friday and Portales, the second seed in Class 3A, is favored to do that as the Rams will be in a pool with Bloomfield and Santa Fe Indian. For the 3A, 4A and 5A classifications, the victors of the three-team pools do not have to play on Thursday night in the 12-team tournaments.
Portales (14-7) will be making its bus trip to the Santa Ana Center, for pool play beginning at 2 p.m. Thursday, and wants to avoid playing at 9 p.m. Thursday. The Rams, led this year by the likes of hitters Jenna Wagner, Macy Mitchell and Gabby Garcia, have won titles this decade in 2000, ‘01, ‘03, ‘05, and ‘07.
“Yeah, we want to win that pool so we’re not there at nine o’clock, considering that we will have woken up around five a.m.,” Portales coach Ruth Chavez said. “It’s not so bad if you’re already there, but if you’ve been traveling, that can be pretty serious.”
Clovis, a ninth seed, is in a three-team Class 5A pool with top-seeded Rio Rancho and eighth-seeded Sandia.
In Class 1A and 2A, the participants are guaranteed of having to spend at least one night in the Albuquerque area as pool play Thursday determines the quarterfinal matchups on Friday. Pool play for 1A begins at 4 p.m. at Cleveland High while 2A pools engage at the same time at Rio Rancho High.
Fort Sumner is the defending champ in Class 1A and brings a 19-3 record into the state tourney. The school has won four volleyball titles this decade: In 2000, ‘04, ‘06 and ‘08.
The Vixens will be joined by the likes of Floyd (13-3), who Fort Sumner beat in the District 3-1A tournament title match, and Grady (16-5) — which won its last 12 matches leading into state, including a thrilling five-game victory over Roy in the regional round last week.
For Class 2A, Texico is the odds-on team to beat as the Wolverines seek a fourth straight championship. Rolling to a sparkling 21-1 regular season record, Texico is led by seniors Katlin Luscombe, Victoria Richards and Shay Anderson.
“I hate to focus on that (the three straight championships). It’s a different group and a different team. It’s okay to put pressure on them, but they’re just different,” Texico coach Kristen Scanlan said. “They’re very reflective right now. I think they’re excited about the tournament, but I think they’re just wanting to go and get things done.”