Former Cats featured on FLC cards

In the sports memorabilia world, it often takes a long time for a trading card to earn its value.

But in the end, any player’s “rookie card” – preferably from as early in his or her career as possible – usually ends up the most desired. Especially in the area in which he or she enjoyed greatest success.

And though only the future knows where basketball may take former Ignacio Bobcats Michelle Simmons, Ryan Brooks and Alex Herrera, their first cards are set to be released in Durango beginning next Friday, Jan. 17, when Fort Lewis College hosts Regis University for a men’s/women’s doubleheader.

As part of a venture between FLC Athletics and FASTFORWARD Media LLC, cards of Brooks and guard Cade Kloster, along with women’s forwards Clare Nicolas and Kaile Magazzeni, will be handed out at Whalen Gymnasium that night to the first 100 kids 13 or younger.

Four player cards will be handed out at each home game for the remainder of the Skyhawks’ regular-season schedule, and the teams will host autograph sessions following the March 1 games against Colorado Mesa University.

Herrera’s card, along with that of guard D.J. Blackmon and women’s guard Erin Curry and guard/forward Kelsey Wainright, is slated to be offered Feb. 7 when Fort Lewis welcomes Western New Mexico. Simmons and forward Christie Groh will be featured the following night, along with men’s guard Mike Matthews and center Oscar Garcia, when New Mexico Highlands visits.

The cardboard campaign kicked off Jan. 3 and 4 against Chadron State College and Black Hills State University, featuring men’s players Jacob Gondrezick, JoeBell Austin, Kevin Flohr and Will Morse, and women’s players Mary Brinton, Michelle Turner, Meagan Prins and Skylyn Webb.

Other remaining dates for young collectors to target will be Jan. 18 vs. Metro State University of Denver, Feb. 1 vs. Adams State University, Feb. 28 vs. Western State Colorado University, and the aforementioned March 1 clashes with the Grand Junction-based Mavericks.

All women’s home games begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men’s games at 7:30 p.m. The only exception will be the twinbill against ASU, which will begin at 1 and 3 p.m., respectively.

On Monday, Jan. 6, the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference saluted Herrera with a third RMAC Defensive Player-of-the-Week nod.

The award came on the heels of the junior center’s 19-point, nine-block, eight-rebound work against CSC, and his 22-3-9 line against BHSU – helping the Hawks to wins over both.

Herrera leads the loop in blocked shots per game (4.4), rebounds per (9.2) and field goal accuracy (61.5 percent), and also ranks third in scoring (19.5 ppg) heading into this weekend’s road trips down to NMHU and WNMU.

Working his way into Bob Hofman’s plans, Brooks has seen court time in five of FLC’s outings this season, recording his first collegiate scores against Portland (Ore.) Bible College and Pacifica (Anaheim, Calif.) College back on Nov. 8 and 9.

All told, in just 20 minutes of action – entering this weekend – Brooks has totaled five points, 10 rebounds and three swats.

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