PORTALES — Two members of the Eastern New Mexico University rodeo team, senior Rowdy Sanders and sophomore Raelyn Gardner, will represent the school in the College National Finals Rodeo beginning on Sunday in Casper, Wyo.
Gardner, from Lovington, was first in the Southwest Region this season in breakaway roping, while Sanders placed second in bull riding. Qualifiers for the CNFR finished in the top three in an event within their region during the regular season.
Gardner scored 400 points this season to finish 30 points ahead of runnerup Jamie Ann Mader of Tarleton State. Sanders finished with 565 points in bull riding to trail region champion Justin McDaniel of Vernon College by 15 points.
ENMU’s women were third in the Southwest Region this year, finishing with 1,433.33 points while the men placed seventh with 2,019.99 points.
Gardner competes in the first go between 1 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, while the second go starts at 7 a.m. Tuesday. The third go is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday.
In bull riding, the first go is scheduled from 1-3 p.m. and from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday. Tuesday’s second go starts at 7 a.m., and Thursday’s third go begins at 7 p.m.
Track athletes honored — Sophomore Kennedy Baiywo for the men and seniors Nicole Valdez and DeAnn Luce for the women have been named to the Lone Star Conference all-academic teams for that sport, while sophomore Brittany Bauer qualified for the LSC commissioner’s honor role.
Baiywo, from Eldoret, Kenya, has a 3.59 GPA majoring in electronics engineering technology. His best performance this spring came in the LSC championships, where he was clocked in 4:22.98 in the 1,500.
Valdez, from Amarillo, is a biology major with a pre-physical therapy concentration, and has a 3.5 GPA. Recently, she was chosen as an ESPN The Magazine academic all-district selection.
Luce, from Fort Sumner, has a 3.5 GPA in history. Her best performance of the spring was a sixth-place showing in the Texas Tech Invitational.
Bauer, from San Antonio, is a biology major with a 3.29 GPA. Her best performance for the spring came in the Tarleton Relays with a time of 2:41.15 in the 800.
Zias add runner — Marla Hiebert of Carlsbad has signed a national letter of intent to run cross country next year at ENMU.
Hiebert, who will be a junior for the Zias next year, competed in cross country for five years and track for four at Carlsbad High School. She ran cross country for two years at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, qualifying for the NJCAA national meet as a freshman.
“We are excited about having Marla join us next fall,” ENMU cross country coach Joel McMullen said. “She will bring priceless experience, and will add good depth to our squad.”