Football ‘games’ coming Saturday
The second annual “Battle in Rio 7v7” will be played Saturday, July 13, at Rio Rancho Stadium.
Kicking off first (at 6:30 p.m.) will be the Rio Rancho Police Department facing Rio Rancho Fire Rescue. That contest will be followed by the inaugural Rams alumni game.
Non-perishable food items will be collected at the gate for local food banks, and animal food donations will be sent to local pet shelters.
Game tickets are $5, or $3 with a food donation.
Bravo stands his ground, says ‘no’ to Rays
Tampa Bay Rays draftee Zach Bravo, a former Rio Rancho High School right-handed pitcher, will not be signed by the Rays, according to the team’s unofficial draft tracker.
Of the Rays’ 42 June draft picks, in which Bravo was selected in the 29th round after a fine season at Butler Community College, 25 were pitchers, including 17 picked before Bravo.
All told, 16 of the pitchers drafted by the Rays have been signed. Bravo told the Observer he plans to pitch at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, next season.
Girls wrestling gets nod from NMAA
The New Mexico Activities Association board of directors on June 13 unanimously approved a proposal to sanction a girls’ wrestling division that will end with a state championship event beginning with the 2019-20 school year.
 Here are some key points regarding girls’ wrestling in New Mexico:
• The sport grew from 79 participants in 2017 to 165 in 2019.
• An exhibition event has been held each of the last two years in conjunction with the boys’ state tournament.
• The new division will see participants qualify for the state championships via one of two regional qualifying tournaments.
• Schools will be aligned regionally, keeping current district schools together wherever possible.
• Each region will qualify four participants per weight class to the state tournament.
• Qualifying participants will compete at the state tournament with medals awarded to the top three participants.
• Trophies will be awarded to the top three teams.
• Girls may compete in boys’ events during the regular season, but must compete in the girls’ division during the postseason.
Former Ram Nickal honored again
Former Rio Rancho High School wrestler Bo Nickal has been named the 2019 Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year.
Nickal, who just completed his eligibility at Penn State, was the first Penn State student to be named Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year since 2014.
The Allen, Texas, resident was the 2019 NCAA Champion at 197 pounds and honored with the 2019 Dan Hodge Trophy as the most outstanding college wrestler of the year.
Nickal was named the 2019 Co-Big Ten Wrestler of the Year, following a season in which he claimed his third Big Ten title.
Overall, he was 120-3 at Penn State with 59 pins, 12 technical falls and 23 majors; he was 19-1 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, winning three national titles, and was a perfect 30-0 in his senior season.