Journal class

NMAA votes to add a new sport: powerlifting

For the first time in 13 years, the New Mexico Activities Association voted to add a high school sport.

With no dissent, the NMAA board of directors voted Wednesday afternoon to make powerlifting an official sport, beginning with the 2023-24 school year.

Powerlifting is a creation born out of the pandemic, and it has been an activity rather than a sport for the past two school years.

It will remain an activity in 2022-23.

This year’s state championships were held recently at Rio Rancho High. The first official season of powerlifting as a sport will run from January to April in 2024.

The last time the NMAA Board of Directors voted to approve a new sport was in December 2009, when spirit (cheerleading/dancing) was upgraded from activity status.

The first state competition in the spirit – as a sport – was held in the spring of 2011.

The state’s most recent powerlifting event saw medals awarded in 12 boys’ and 12 girls’ weight classes.

Among the boys who won first-place medals were Cleveland High running back Josh Perry and future Boise State Bronco Roger Carreon from Jal.

Rio Rancho and Cleveland went 1-2 in the boys standings. Lovington and Cleveland were the top two women’s teams. Points were distributed to teams based on individual finishes. A first place athlete earned seven points for their team, second place was worth five points, third (three), fourth (two) and fifth (one) places also earned points for the team.

Overall, there were 22 boys’ teams and 19 girls’ teams that competed in the state, according to the NMAA.

Wednesday’s board meeting was the last of the 2021-22 school year, and the board listened to a packed and diverse agenda.

Other action items (vote) discussed by the board include:

  • The number of qualifiers for 8-a-side football will increase from six to eight from next season;
  • All-Star events will continue to be played during the college year, with the exception of baseball and softball, which immediately follow the end of the year.

Buster Mabrey, executive director of the New Mexico High School Coaches Association, said athlete participation was 95% this past school year;

  • There will be a key revision to the NALAM tie breakers: the strength of the schedule will be used to break a tie when one exists AFTER all six NALAM tiebreakers have been applied.

Head-to-head remains the first tiebreaker, but if two schools don’t meet, the strength of the schedule will now be next – instead of the overall standings.

In discussion

There were several interesting points that were discussed on Wednesday that could eventually become action points.

One of those articles revolved around state football. The NMAA, executive director Sally Marquez told the board, is asking schools about how to proceed with the dates and venue for the six championship games.

The University of New Mexico complex – where title games were played in grades 5A, 4A and 1A-3A last November – will not be available the first week of November.

It’s usually championship week for high schools, but the UNM women’s are scheduled to host the Mountain West Conference tournament that week, Nov. 1-5.

The choice for NMAA member schools becomes this: contest the state finals on Nov. 4 or 5, but play them at a venue with artificial turf – Cleveland High was mentioned as a venue, and there will be a new turf in Cleveland this year – or perhaps push back the entire prep football schedule by a week, when UNM’s pristine turf pitch would be available in the second full week of November.