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Francesca Cicconetti poses on the UNM campus on Wednesday, May 1.

Francesca Cicconetti knows ball

Francesca Cicconetti’s life has been dominated by sports. From an early age, she watched games with her family, which led to a high school career in volleyball. At the University of New Mexico, she covered sports for the Daily Lobo and started a temporary job with the New Mexico Ice Wolves.

Cicconetti graduates from UNM this spring with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication.

Her family moved to Albuquerque when she was young; later, she attended Volcano Vista High School. Cicconetti graduated in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and originally wanted to go out of state for college, but stayed close to home and doesn’t regret a thing.

“I grew up in UNM and (with) UNM stuff, so it felt right eventually … I got to stay around friends and family. I love the programs here and a lot of family work for UNM, so it felt very full circle in the end,” Cicconetti said.

When she began college, she initially did not know what she wanted to do, but said she should pursue the thing she loves.

“For about a year, I thought I was going to be a public affairs officer in the Army and that did not happen, but then I was already (working for the Lobo) and I was like, ‘I really like doing this, it’s something I care about,’” Cicconetti said.

Cicconetti will cover any sport. At the Lobo, she wrote about everything from cross country to rodeo. Her favorites to watch are football and hockey, but her favorite to write about is volleyball. Her previous experience — playing opposite hitter in high school — allowed her to go in depth with her writing and create something she was proud of.

“Since I played, writing about it (gets me) a lot more invested because I can share the ins and outs of certain plays, certain hits, positioning and where they were really strong or not. So I get really happy to write about that,” Cicconetti said.

Elizabeth Secor, a fellow Lobo reporter, and Cicconetti recently teamed up to cover the Savannah Bananas. Cicconetti’s joy and professionalism added to the experience, Secor said.

“We were there for eight hours interviewing players, getting photographs and actual game coverage. It was a long day but made even more fun by who I was working with,” Secor said.

Cicconetti stood on the dugout to interview a player on stilts, Secor said.

“As someone who had never covered sports before, (Cicconetti’s) expertise was very helpful and together we wrote a 1000-plus-word story of the game,” Secor said. “And it is one of my favorites I’ve ever written.”

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Outside of features and game coverage, Cicconetti wrote opinion pieces. This year she predicted the UNM men’s basketball team would finish 24-7. The team went 22-9 in the regular season.

If Cicconetti could have given herself advice going into her freshman year, she would have said to be less hard on herself regarding her grades, she said.

“Don’t take it so seriously … You don’t need to fully stress yourself out, it’s going to get done, you're never not going to give a good effort at what you do. You can take a minute and you can breathe. I definitely did not give myself that grace until this last year,” Cicconetti said.

Thomas Bulger is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at or on Twitter @thomasbulger10

Thomas Bulger

 Thomas Bulger is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at or on Twitter @thomasbulger10 

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