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RHS coach credits mentors for coaching success

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In this file photo, Roswell volleyball celebrates their victory over Hobbs on Saturday. Roswell plays at the Santa Ana Star Center today at 1:15 p.m., against Las Cruces on Court 3. Attempts to interview coach Baca were unsuccessful at press time. (J.T. Keith Photo)

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Heather Baca is used to overcoming adversity. In fact, she’s like the potter with clay, she’d prefer to shape her team with practice, patience and desire. She can work with an all-everything talent and she can work with the grinders.

Kids that look like: the kid that loves to play volleyball and wants to get better every day. In the last two years, Baca had the same regular-season record and district record,14-9 and 6-2. Last year, she was voted District 5A Coach of the Year in her first season after being moved up against the tougher competition.

“Making the 5A playoffs is huge for us,” Baca said. “We’re playing teams with double the amount of students and athletes. Competing at this level is a big deal for all teams at RHS.”

This year her team had to do it the hard way and win the district tournament just to get to state today. Baca is able to make lemonade out of lemons. The former star of Roswell played and learned her volleyball under Hall of Fame coach Flo Valdez.

She not only shined in high school but was able to play four seasons at Newman University. The one thing that Baca has to be able to do is receive good mentoring and be around good coaches. One of the most successful coaches was Joe Carpenter.

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“Joe Carpenter really helped me become a better coach,” Baca said, “in my first couple of years.”

Once Baca decided to become a teacher, she wanted to be a coach and help kids.

“I love volleyball and the mentoring opportunities athletics provides,” she said.

Baca has been rewarded with the thrill of a lifetime by being able to coach her daughter, Jalen Baca, who is a senior and has been to state all four years of her career. This year has to be all the sweeter for both Bacas because of the uncertainty of getting there. It took an all-out assault on Hobbs Saturday to make the playoffs.

Roswell will try to defeat their “Goliath” — Las Cruces and the rest of 5A at state as they attempt to win another state title.

Roswell plays Las Cruces today at 1:15 p.m at Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.