The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Five Rams sign with college programs


May 23, 2018

PHS Media Arts

Jessie Campbell, Andrew Villegas, Lillie Saiz, Sarah Lovato and Alexis Garcia signed on with college programs for track, volleyball and soccer.

PORTALES — Five soon-to-be Portales graduates will resume their athletic careers at the collegiate level, after signing their national letters of intent during a ceremony at Portales High School on Monday afternoon. The group includes Andrew Villegas, Jessie Campbell, Alexis Garcia, Sarah Lovato and Lillie Saiz.

Villegas and Campbell were arguably the best track and field athletes for the Rams this past season, and both of them will have an opportunity to continue to hone those skills at a familiar place — Eastern New Mexico. The duo will compete for ENMU coach Jeff Kavalunas' team next spring.

Villegas, the anchor of the Portales relay teams, helped lead the team to District 4-4A titles in the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays at Greyhound Stadium last month. His Rams went on to place fourth (400), second (800) and fifth (1,600) overall at the 2018 NMAA Track and Field Championships in Albuquerque earlier this month.

However, Villegas was also strong as an individual, as he overcame a nagging hamstring injury to win the 400 meter dash at the district championships. He followed up that performance with a third-place finish at state, recording a 50.05-second time.

As for Campbell, she won a district title in both the high jump (5-4) and javelin (120-0), and finished second in Class 4A in both a week later at the state meet.

However, Campbell will actually pull double-duty at Eastern.

Campbell will also play volleyball in the fall, joining Sia Poyer's Greyhounds. She last played volleyball for Portales as a junior in 2016, recording 116 kills and 49 blocks in 73 sets played, on a Rams team that lost in the 4A quarterfinal round that year.

Another set of Portales athletes will also attend the same school together, as both Lovato and Saiz will play soccer for Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas this fall. The duo played on a Portales team that went 9-11 in 2017.

Lovato had a pair of goals and a pair of assists in 440 minutes over 16 games last fall. Saiz scored six goals in 19 games (645 minutes), and added seven assists, ranking her third on the team in both categories.

The duo also played basketball and softball together. As seniors, Lovato and Saiz helped lead the No. 1-ranked Rams (28-2, 7-0) to a 4A girls basketball title, while the softball team (22-11, 12-0) won a 10th-straight district title, before being eliminated in the Consolation Bracket during the 4A tournament.

Last, but not least, is Garcia. Like Saiz and Lovato, Garcia was on those basketball and softball teams, winning district titles and bringing home a state basketball crown to finish-off her high school career.

Garcia will play volleyball at Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colorado this fall. As a senior, Garcia recorded 195 digs in 86 sets played for Charity Gomez' team, as her Rams (16-6, 6-0) hosted the 4A-District 4 championship game, before falling in the 4A quarterfinal at state, last November.


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