Valencia volleyball will be under new leadership this season.
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With the fall prep sports season just around the corner, all three Valencia County high schools have released their schedules for volleyball and cross country, and Belen has released a fall golf schedule.

Traditional fall sports football and soccer have been moved to the spring due to their high contact nature in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.

As a result, volleyball and cross country are the only two sports that will compete for championships this fall, with the golf championships taking place in the spring as they traditionally have.

The fall sports season officially begins on Monday, Oct. 5, with games and meets allowed to begin on Saturday, Oct. 10.

All three county cross country teams will begin their seasons on the 10th at the Los Lunas Invite, which will begin at 9 a.m.

Valencia and Belen will also kick off their volleyball seasons the very same day, both playing home games. Belen will host Los Alamos, with the varsity game scheduled to begin at noon, while Valencia will host Gallup in the first game in charge for new head coach Melissa Marberry-Profitt, with the varsity match scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

Los Lunas will wait a few days to kick off their year, with their first game scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 13, at Gadsden at 7 p.m. The Tigers will open the home slate on Saturday, Oct. 17, hosting Alamogordo at 2 p.m.

With the Tigers playing in Class 5A this year, the twice a year meetings with BHS and VHS are no more. Instead, the Tigers will see each county foe once, beginning with Valencia on Halloween, a match scheduled for noon and will be played at Valencia.

Belen and Los Lunas will face off on Saturday Nov. 7, at 1 p.m. The Tigers first district game will be on Oct. 22, with a home meeting with the Manzano Monarchs scheduled for 6 p.m.

Los Lunas will play Capital, Santa Fe, Rio Grande and Albuquerque in addition to Manzano in district play, seeing these teams twice.

Valencia and Belen remain district foes and will still face each other twice this season. The first of those meetings will be on Tuesday, Nov. 3, at Valencia at 6 p.m., the first district match of the season for each of the teams. The return match at Belen will take place on Saturday, Nov. 14, at 1 p.m.

Valencia and Belen will both play Grants, St. Pius X and Highland twice in district play.

The state championship will take on a different format this year, with the tournament being split across two weeks. The quarterfinals will be held on Dec. 4 and 5, with the semi-finals and finals spread out across the next week, running Dec. 7 through 12.

As for cross country, a plan has been worked out between Belen, Los Lunas and Valencia as well as other schools in the Albuquerque metro area to keep things local. All three schools will host at least one meet. In addition to the aforementioned Los Lunas Invite, Belen will host a quad meet between the three Valencia County Schools, as well as Grants, on Oct. 17 at 9 a.m. and the annual Adron Gardner Invite on Nov. 14 at 9 a.m.

Valencia will host its invitational on Halloween at 9 a.m, and a tri with the three county teams on Nov. 21, the final weekend before district meets.

Cross country meets will look different this year, with smaller team sizes and fewer teams.
News-Bulletin file photo

While Valencia will be the host school for those events, they will take place at Los Lunas High.

For Belen and Valencia, the district meet will take place at St. Pius X, while Los Lunas will travel to Santa Fe High for their district meet.

As always, the state meet will be held at Rio Rancho High School, but this year it will be spread across two days, beginning Friday, Dec. 4, and ending on Saturday, Dec. 5, in an effort to limit the number of athletes who come in contact with one another.

Belen also released its schedule for fall golf, which Los Lunas and Valencia have not finalized as of Monday, Sept. 21.

The Eagles will host a tournament at Tierra Del Sol in Rio Communities on Thursday, Oct. 15, and will also play in tournaments at Los Altos Golf Course, Albuquerque Country Club, Socorro and Pendaries.

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Cameron Goeldner grew up in Boulder, Colo., and attended the University of New Mexico. He covers everything sports for all Valencia County schools.