Navajo Prep earns No. 2 seed in Class 3A pool
Shiprock and Kirtland Central grouped with No. 1 Sandia Prep, PV seeded sixth in 5A
FARMINGTON — Four San Juan County area volleyball teams will head to Rio Rancho this week to compete for a state title, including Navajo Prep, which earned the No. 2 seed in its pool.
Piedra Vista and Shiprock clinched spots in this year’s state tournament by winning their respective district titles on Saturday. Kirtland Central is the only local team to make the state tourney without winning its district.
In pool B of Class 3A, No. 2 Navajo Prep will duke it out with No. 7 Tularosa (13-6) and No. 11 Estancia (11-12) at 8 a.m. on Thursday at Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho.
Prep went 15-2 and 7-1 in District 1-3A under coach Rainy Crisp and has been clicking as of late, having only lost one single set since Oct. 13.
On Oct. 3, the Lady Eagles made quick work of Estancia, winning 3-0 at home. And although they did not play Tularosa this season, the teams were in the same pool last year as well, and Prep swept them 3-0 when they met.
Piedra Vista will be the No. 6 seed in Class 5A’s pool C along with No. 3 Centennial (20-3) and No. 10 Artesia (13-8). Those games kick off at 8 a.m. on Thursday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.
The Lady Panthers stormed through their district with an 8-0 record this year, going 17-8 overall. PV has been on fire with 10 wins in a row.
The three teams in pool C haven’t played one another this year, but PV does have two common opponents with Artesia: Rio Rancho and Goddard. The Lady Panthers lost to both teams once apiece while Artesia went 2-2 against them with both losses coming to Goddard.
Centennial eliminated PV on the second day of the state tournament last year.
Kirtland Central (13-7, 8-2 District 1-4A) and Shiprock (16-6, 7-3) will not only have their hands full dealing with each other for the fourth time this year, but the 1-4A rivals have to play No. 1 Sandia Prep (21-1) in pool A of Class 4A.
Shiprock will be the No. 12 seed despite winning an extremely tough District 1-4A. The Lady Chieftains went 2-1 against No. 8 Kirtland Central this year, including a 3-1 win over the Lady Broncos last Thursday in the district tournament.
Neither Shiprock nor KC escaped day one of last year’s state tourney.
Sandia Prep was undefeated this season until Saturday night, when they were upset in the district championship game by Hope Christian.
The Class 4A matches start at 1 p.m. on Thursday at the Santa Ana Star Center.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.