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Wootton returns to coaching

Photo by Todd Fuqua Shelby Southard, left, is one of six seniors returning for the Capitan girls team this season.

CAPITAN – Years after he “retired” from coaching, Capitan Superintendent Sean Wootton is back on the basketball court leading athletes.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Dakota Hazen is hoping her senior season for Capitan is a successful one.

This time, he’s at the helm of the Capitan girls team, and he’s excited to see what they can accomplish.

“When I got into education 23 years ago, I did it to work for and serve the kids,” Wootton said. “As superintendent I fill one role, but I don’t get to see the children grow and learn from life, and overcome obstacles and be part of a team.”

The team Wootton takes on was 12-16 last season, but winless in a District 4-3A that includes Eunice, runner-up to Tohatchi in the 2017 Class 3A State championship.

Wootton knows it won’t be easy, but the Tigers boast a roster that has six strong seniors in Dominique Valadez, Kylie Pruett, Dakota Hazen, Shelby Southard, Adrianna Romero and Madison Tracey.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Capitan senior Dominique Valadez, left, brings the ball down the sideline in her team’s game against Lordsburg at last season’s Cloudcroft Mountaintop Tournament.

Add to that juniors Kara Vallance, Skye Wootton and Destanie Magnonie, and you can see why Wootton is ready to go.

“They’re athletic, but being athletic and being basketball-minded are two different things,” Wootton said. “We have our work cut out for us, but they are great young ladies and I know they’ll work hard.

“Whatever happens, our goal this year as a team is to never get out-worked,” he added. “If we stick to that, we’re going to have a lot of success.”

Every player Wootton is relying on was also a member of the Capitan volleyball team that made an appearance at the Class 3A State tournament under the guidance of Pam Allen.

Wootton considers Allen his mentor, and is happy his girls had that kind of head-start in the fall.

“Volleyball success goes hand in hand with basketball success,” Wootton said. “Once they get in the habit of winning and being successful, it will carry over.

“(Allen) has done a tremendous job and it’s nice to have someone that’s a disciplinarian, loves the kids, is energetic, is all about the fundamentals and teaches respect,” he added. “That’s nice that she’s exchanging the baton to me.”

After a summer that saw lots of good basketball competition, the team tips off the season Dec. 12 at Cloudcroft, all in preparation of a district season that also includes the likes of Dexter and Tularosa.

“Tularosa has a fantastic team,” Wootton said. “They have a history of being successful. If we take it game by game, we’ll be successful and we’ll be in the thick of it.”

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