2013 Outstanding Youth Athletes


High School cross-country runner Emerald Goranson and third grader Emma Montoya competed in the National USA Track and Field Junior Olympics cross-country championship meet in San Antonio, Texas, in December. Both runners qualified for the national meet after competing in the USATF New Mexico state championships in Albuquerque on Nov. 16, and then racing in the regional championships in El Paso on Nov. 23. The regional championships included runners from New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Texas. Runners were required to run in the top 30 individual finishers for their age group to qualify for the national championship. Goranson finished 13th in the 13-14 age group, and Montoya finished 24th in the 8 and under age group.

Susann Mikkelson/El Defensor Chieftain Reporter: Cross-country district champion Emerald Goranson checks the pressure in her ears following her finish at the New Mexico state cross-country finals meet in Rio Rancho in October.

Seniors Maria Alderete, Tamera Chavez and Ashley Pyke were selected to the 3A all-district team in December, their final honor for Lady Warriors volleyball. Pyke led the team with by far the most attacks, with twice the number of blocks of any of her teammates, and as a demonstrated leader in receiving, serving and digs, showing all-around skill both offensively and defensively. Chavez was the team’s top serve receiver and was a leader in digs. She was an overall team leader, demonstrating good communications and a positive attitude. Alderete served as the team’s captain for most matches, and was a leader in serves and in digs for the team.

Susann Mikkelson/ El Defensor Chieftain: WBRA rodeo queen Megan Sandoval poses with Socorro County Fair and Rodeo queen Teresa Lucero, right, during the 2013 Socorro County Fair and Rodeo in Socorro.

Three Magdalena Lady Steers were selected to the 1A/1B state all-star volleyball team: Danielle Gordon, Kadie Kiehne and Ashley Tafoya were selected for the 2013 state all-star team, and will play the North 1A/1B game in July 2014. The New Mexico High School Coaches Association All-Star Volleyball teams were chosen in November. In addition, Lady Steers Gordon, Keihne and Tafoya were also named to the 2013 all-district first team, along with Breann Baca and Abigail Bullock. Tristan Dunlap and Jaydin Stephens were named to the all-district second team.

Susann Mikkelson/ El Defensor Chieftain: Adam Paz takes his medal-winning jump at the New Mexico state track and field finals in Albuquerque in May.

Dezirae Armijo qualified for the USA Track and Field National track meet in Greensboro, N.C., after finishing fourth in the 100-meter dash at the USATF Region X meet, then winning the same event at the New Mexico state meet and becoming the fastest 17/18-year-old in the state. Armijo also competed in two other races and the long jump competition, after placing among the top three overall at the New Mexico state meet in those events. She has run track in Socorro athletic programs for 14 years and accumulated 18 track and field state championship medals throughout her varsity track career. In addition to track, Armijo has also shown her athleticism in soccer and basketball. Her accolades do not end with sports. She was recently awarded the SHS school board’s Excellence Award, among other awards. In January, she was invited by Sen. Howie Morales to the State Capitol and was honored and recognized by the lieutenant governor and the Senate for her achievements on and off the field. Armijo accepted a scholarship offer from Adams State University to play soccer. She is leaning toward a career in the health field as a physical therapist or a veterinarian.

Susann Mikkelson/El Defensor Chieftain Reporter: Alamo Navajo’s Dayna Guerro at the New Mexico state cross-country meet held in Rio Rancho in October.

Adam Paz brought home two silver medals and the experience of a lifetime from the Down Under Track and Field Meet in Brisbane, Australia, over the Independence Day holiday. Paz placed second out of 12 competitors in the long jump, with a 6.21-meter jump (20 feet); he also took second in the triple jump against 10 competitors from Australia, New Zealand, Africa and the United States. The Down Under Track & Field Meet is a three-day international competition with athletes from the United States, Australia and various other nations. The meet is the largest high school international meet held in Australia each year. Paz was one of only eight athletes in the state to be invited to the Marilyn Sepulveda Invitational in Albuquerque, held April 15. Paz set two goals for 2013 in January. One goal was to qualify for state on his first jump, and the other was to attend the Marilyn Sepulveda Invitational. He accomplished both of those goals. His next stop is the University of New Mexico, where he plans to attend this fall and intends to join the track team as a walk-on.

Alamo Navajo’s Dayna Guerro also went to USA Track and Field Championships held in Greensboro, N.C., last summer, after qualifying for the Region X championships in the 800-meter and 1500-meter runs, and placing eighth in the 800-meter for New Mexico. Guerro also placed third in the New Mexico high school state cross-country finals for the 1A girls race, with a time of 21:02.30. She had a district win of 18:58.00 for a 3-mile race.

Teresa Lucero was named the Socorro County Fair and Rodeo queen in September. Lucero is also active on the Socorro High School volleyball and swim teams. Megan Sandoval was named the 2013 Wild Bunch Rodeo Association rodeo queen during the second annual WBRA rodeo in Magdalena in May. This is Sandoval’s first experience as rodeo royalty.

Kelvin Chavez, an eighth grader from Magdalena Middle School, became New Mexico’s state champion bull rider in his division last summer. Chavez competed, along with his teammates from all around the state, in the ninth annual National Junior High Finals Rodeo in Gallup June 23 through 29. He ranked number one in the state for junior high bull riding. The National Junior High Finals Rodeo featured more than 1,000 contestants from 41 states, five Canadian provinces and Australia. It is the world’s largest junior high rodeo.

Sean Moore of Socorro represented the Socorro district in the Rocky Mountain Junior Golf state championship tournament, after qualifying at one over par during the New Mexico-West Texas Optimist Qualifier. Kristen Cline took second place the New Mexico-West Texas Optimist Qualifier and also went on to represent the district at the Rocky Mountain Junior Golf championship tournament. The tournament is held the end of December in Chandler, AZ.

Ignacio Chavez and Dominic Montano were named to the Under Armour National Baseball Team in April, after being nominated by their coach, Kenny Gonzales. Chavez and Montano ran the 60-yard dash in 6.92 and 7.06 seconds, and threw the ball at 76 mph and 80 mph respectively. Chavez played second base and Montano played short stop during the tournament held last June. Both performed so spectacularly in the arm strength category of the try-outs that the coaches asked them to also be relief pitchers for the team.

Lady Warriors 2012 soccer goalkeeper Tayler Hammack signed on to play at New Mexico State in February 2013. Hammack began playing soccer in second grade. She was an all-district first team member and was all-state honorable mention her freshman and sophomore years. She came to Socorro High School her junior year. She helped the Lady Warriors to two consecutive quarterfinal appearances in the state tournament and back-to-back district titles. She was named first team all-district both seasons and her senior year was named to the state honorable mention team again.