The Daily Lobo photographers have been hard at work all year taking great photos to bring high quality sports coverage to our readers. Here are two photographers’ favorite sports photos from this year. Mackenzie’s picks Photo 1 This was one of the best sports photos that I captured during a football game this year. I was able to get the perfect photo of Bobby Cole and Jace Taylor celebrating Cole’s touchdown against University of Nevada, Las Vegas in November 2021. I captured the moment where they both were jumping in the air celebrating in a clear, perfect picture. In the photo, you can see how happy everyone in the frame is, from the players jumping and celebrating to the fans in the back cheering them on.
The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team played the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Runnin’ Rebels at The Pit Saturday, March 5. The Lobos won 76-67 behind a team-high 27 points from Jaelen House. The last time these two teams played was Jan. 11 in Las Vegas where the Lobos lost 85-56. UNLV is led by Bryce Hamilton, who leads the Mountain West Conference in scoring with an average of 21.8 points per game. Hamilton also averages 4.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team secured a hard-fought victory against the Air Force Falcons on Saturday, Feb. 26 at The Pit. The 69-65 final score was much closer than the Lobos’ 91-77 win at Air Force earlier in February. Both teams struggled with fouls; UNM earned 20 fouls and Air Force got 21 by the time the final buzzer sounded. The entire first half was neck and neck between the two teams with the largest lead being six points at the very end of the half when Air Force was up 30-24 against the Lobos. Jaelen House, who put up an astounding 42 points in UNM’s first outing against the Falcons, finished the first half with zero points despite having played 17 of the first half’s 20 minutes.
The University of New Mexico softball team won all the games in their home tournament, the Lobo Classic, Thursday, Feb. 24 to Sunday, Feb. 27 at the Lobo Softball Field. The Lobos beat the University of Texas at El Paso Thursday, North Dakota State University Friday, the University at Buffalo Saturday and Tarleton State University Sunday. The Lobos now have a record of 10-3 and are on a five-game winning streak. The Lobos had exceptional pitching in their games Saturday and Sunday. Both Amber Linton and Emma Guindon pitched full games and added nine and seven strikeouts to their respective records. Offensively, Andrea Howard shone in both games.
The University of New Mexico track and field teams competed in the Mountain West Indoor Track and Field Championships Feb. 24-26 at the Albuquerque Convention Center. This competition gave the Lobos the chance to show off their best and jockey for qualifying positions for the NCAA Indoor Championships. It’s no secret that the best of the Lobos’ track and field are in the women’s distance program, and they got the chance to prove it again first thing Thursday, Feb. 24 in the distance medley relay, though there was some drama on the way. On the first 1200-meter leg of the relay, the lap counter jumped erroneously from three laps to one.
Having been on the road to kick off their season, the University of New Mexico softball team stands at 7-3 after playing their first tournament at home in the Lobo Classic after the Candera Classic and the Cardinal Classic. The Lobos started the tournament with a game against the University of Texas at El Paso on Thursday, Feb. 24, which they won 5-4 after a close seventh inning. Standout players thus far include center fielder and former Olympian Andrea Howard, new pitcher Amber Linton, returning pitcher Emma Guindon and freshman infielder Emma Bramson.
Arda Azkara may be a new face around the Mountain West Conference, but the freshman tennis player from Turkey has been gunning to conquer the tennis world ever since he was a kid. Now playing for the University of New Mexico, Azkara seized the conference’s attention when he swept the Mountain West Player and Freshman of the Week honors for the week of Feb. 10-16. When asked about that week, the first thing he talked about was his team’s success. “(It was) a tough week,” Azkara said. “Two big matches against Santa Clara and GCU … We were 0-2 on the season but we had those two good wins and now (on Thursday) we’re at 2-2.”
The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team celebrated a big win against the Boise State Broncos on Saturday, Feb. 19, defeating them 89-62. The win comes after a previous win at home against Utah State on Wednesday, Feb. 16 and puts the Lobos at 13-3 on the season. The larger focus on the court, though, was on seniors LaTascya and Latora Duff and Shaiquel McGruder and “superseniors” Jaedyn De La Cerda and Antonia Anderson as the team celebrated their Senior Night. The game was De La Cerda and Anderson’s last game at The Pit. The COVID-19 pandemic created a unique situation for the Duff twins and McGruder, though, as they will be returning to play for UNM next season.
The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team lost to the Colorado State University Rams 83-68 Thursday, Feb. 17 at The Pit. The Rams came to Albuquerque at No. 3 in the Mountain West conference and on a four-game win streak. The Lobos were hoping to get another upset after defeating the University of Wyoming on Tuesday, Feb. 15 but failed. Colorado State features star forward David Roddy, who had averaged 19.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game this season. The Lobos lost their first matchup to the Rams, 80-74, back in January.
The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team resoundingly defeated Utah State University 93-73 Wednesday, Feb. 16 at The Pit. The win makes the Lobos 12-3 in conference play, still trailing the No. 1 University of Nevada, Las Vegas but far ahead of the 9-4 University of Nevada, Reno. Utah State has struggled this season and was only 3-11 going into Wednesday’s game. UNM beat the Aggies 98-83 in Utah in January, and the Lobos scored more than 90 points the previous two times they played Utah State before this season. Both teams got off to a fast start offensively. The Aggies looked to post up against UNM’s Shaiquel McGruder and got a good mix of driving layups, outside jumpers and post scoring.
The University of New Mexico softball program, helmed by coach Paula Congleton, is looking to leave last season’s record of 10-36 in the dust. With the hard work of two new coaches as well as the new and returning players, that dream can become a reality. One of the biggest challenges for the team last season was in the bullpen and having relief for pitcher Emma Guindon, who had the best earned run average on the team (5.00) and pitched 141.1 innings — more than twice the number of innings of any other pitcher on the team. Since last season, the staff has brought on volunteer assistant coach Mike Forsythe and added three new pitchers: Amber Linton, Samantha Fohrman and McKenna Kostyszyn.
The University of New Mexico Esports club hasn’t been deterred by the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. With nine gaming teams, the club continues to play and compete in collegiate-level tournaments. UNM Esports, which focuses on competitive video gaming, plays a variety of games competitively: League of Legends, Overwatch, Call of Duty: Vanguard, Magic the Gathering, Valorant, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege and Team Fortress 2. Halo Infinite is the newest game UNM Esports is partaking in with its seven-player squad decided after tryouts last month. Occasionally, the club will also play production and miscellaneous community games.
The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team were handed their first home loss of the season, 60-59, by the University of Wyoming on a last second buzzer beater at The Pit on Saturday, Feb. 5. With two losses in conference play, the Lobos dropped to second place in the Mountain West Conference standings behind the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. UNM was battered inside, particularly by 6-foot, 4-inch Allyson Fertig, who scored 19 points and grabbed 18 rebounds. As a team, Wyoming scored 40 points in the paint while UNM managed a small 22 paint-points in comparison. They also outrebounded the Lobos 43-24.
The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team beat Colorado State University 81-73 Wednesday, Feb. 2 at The Pit. UNM is still undefeated at home and currently holds the No. 1 spot in the Mountain West Conference while still in a neck-and-neck battle with UNLV to keep the top spot. The Lobos beat the Rams 85-74 in their first matchup in January after Lobo Antonia Anderson put up 30 points. Colorado State had to try to keep up with a Lobo offense that has averaged over seven points more than theirs through the season. The Pit crowd was sparse due to harsh winter weather conditions, which also delayed tipoff for 22 minutes.
The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team won their first conference play win against the San José State University Spartans 86-70 Friday, Jan. 27 at The Pit. This win broke a seven-game losing streak and brought the team to 1-7 in conference and 8-13 overall. The Spartans were also winless in conference play, and, like the Lobos, are in a rebuilding year with a new head coach and multiple new players. The Spartans offense gets 41.1% of their points from three-point makes, the 15th-highest percentage in the country, according to KenPom. UNM head coach Richard Pitino said before the game that Spartans guard Omari Moore would need to be a focus of the Lobos defense.
The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team lost what could have been a comeback in their game against California State University, Fresno (65-60) on Tuesday, Jan. 25 at The Pit. It was the Lobos first home game after a week on the road that saw them lose closely to two of the Mountain West Conference’s premier programs, Colorado State and Wyoming; while UNM was hoping to build on that momentum for their first conference win, the men did not succeed. Fresno State entered the game 13-5 and 3-2 in conference play with a team built around the dominant Orlando Robinson, who, at 7 feet tall, posed a formidable threat against the undersized and undermanned Lobos.
As members of the Lobo Spirit program work to uphold standards of both athleticism and artistry, their physical appearance must also be put up for the consumption of both judges and the general populace alike. The pressure of expectations of how they should look often negatively impact the athletes. Fifth-year cheerleader Amaia Bracamontes is one of the many that has been affected by the public’s perception of how members of the Spirit Program should look. “Obviously, the image of a cheerleader, a lot of people think, is super small and skinny and fit … and so I think that people who don’t know a lot about cheer assume that everybody has to fit that certain image,” Bracamontes said.
The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team continued their unprecedented conference win streak with a 80-74 victory over California State University, Fresno Bulldogs on Saturday at The Pit. UNM is now 7-0 in conference play, though that perfect record looked to be in jeopardy throughout the first half. Fresno State started the game a little frazzled, but once they got the ball in the 2021 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Haley Cavinder’s hands consistently, it became clear what they wanted to do. Fresno State came to The Pit with a very good plan to slow the game down and play in the halfcourt, and UNM struggled to adjust to their tempo.
The University of New Mexico spirit program traveled to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida to compete against cheer and dance teams from around the nation at the 2022 UCA & UDA College National Championship, which took place from Jan. 14-16. At nationals, all-girl cheer ranked fifth out of 10 teams with an event score of 91.4833 in the Division 1A Game Day category. They placed sixth in the finals with an overall score of 87.05. Meanwhile, co-ed cheer ranked 15th out of 17 teams under Division 1A Game Day, achieving an event score of 82.6667. In the Small Co-ed Division 1A category, co-ed cheer ranked No. 10 out of 11 with an event score of 65.55.
The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team lost to Boise State University 71-63 at The Pit on Saturday, Jan. 15. UNM remains without a conference win after four games. Head coach Richard Pitino, who was back on the sideline for the first time since contracting COVID-19, made it clear why UNM lost. “They are bigger, they are stronger (and) they are older for sure,” Pitino said. “But we have to be scrappier, dirtier and meaner, especially when you are as undermanned as we are.” Where the Lobos are undermanned is at the center position, and they more than likely will be for the remainder of their season. Since the start of the 2021-22 season, UNM has lost Valdir Manuel, Gethro Muscadin and Emmanuel Kuac, all inside presences expected to play the majority of minutes at center.