As the fall sports season comes to an end, all of the of Eastern New Mexico University sports teams can look back and be proud of their accomplishments and the hard work they put in over the semester, according to their coaches.
Throughout the fall, the Greyhounds traveled across the country competing in their respective sports. Notable performances of the semester were the ENMU football team winning the wagon wheel for the third year in a row and beating out Western New Mexico University in another rival game to win the Chile Bowl trophy. The women’s soccer team played in a conference championship game, and the women’s cross country team had standout performances, placing third in conference with champion Mercy Rotich qualifying for nationals.
Next year, 10 schools will be added to the Lone Star Conference from the Heartland Conference to make it the most competitive conference and region in the NCAA Division 2. This will make it a very difficult region for all teams but also an extremely exciting one with a lot of games to look forward to, according to coaches.
Sia Poyer, head coach of the ENMU volleyball team, said he is excited about this and believes it will bring a lot more attention to the Lone Star Conference.
The ENMU Greyhound volleyball team had a difficult year dealing with serious injuries that hampered them on their way to peak performance.
“It was very difficult losing some of our more experienced players to serious injuries; we had to change our strategy,” Poyer said. “I’m proud of what the girls accomplished this season; they really came together in those tough match ups. We had countless games that lasted five sets, and we fought hard to the very end.”
A standout player this year was Jasmine Gannon, who stepped as the team’s top outside hitter and received an all-tournament outside hitter reward, as well as academic conference honors. Another athlete who also gained all academic recognition was Jennifer Martinez.
“I attended ENMU and worked as a G.A. (graduate assistant) for the volleyball team,” said Poyer. “I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to come back to Eastern as the head coach. We have a great community in Portales, and they’re always so supportive of us.”
ENMU head football coach Kelley Lee is also a coach passionate about his craft.
“I grew up loving the game; I was obsessed. I went on to play for Western New Mexico University in college, and I knew I wanted to still be involved after that,” he said.
Players such as Tyler Vargas, Wyatt Strand and Paul Terry are just a few names that Lee praised while reviewing the season.
“He’s a really smart coach and knows how to get the best out of his players. I feel very lucky to have had his guidance,” said linebacker Josh Miller.