La Cueva High School junior Austin Denton on Monday was chosen as the 2018 Section 6 recipient of the National High School Spirit of Sport Award by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
“It definitely means a lot to me,” Denton, 16, told the Journal. “I was very honored to receive this award from the NFHS and I can’t thank the (New Mexico Activities Association) enough for nominating me for this award.”
Denton is the first New Mexican to receive this award.
“Just being able to represent my state and being able to get recognized for the work I put into high school sports is a true honor,” he said.
Originally diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cord cancer at age two, Denton has had to spend most of his life confined to a wheelchair. He is a patient at the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., where he has received both radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Today, Denton is a cancer survivor who has been in remission for 10 years.
Denton handles La Cueva’s social media for the football team, and he is the public address announcer at Bears basketball and baseball games. He also covers La Cueva sports for the school’s newspaper, The Edition.
He also hosts prep football halftimes and does postgame interviews for KQTM, 101.7 FM. Earlier this season, Denton was pressed into service by 101.7 to do play-by-play for the two Albuquerque metro basketball finals. He also does some play-by-play for ProView Networks.
Denton also has made two national TV appearances.
He served as a guest reporter for the NFL Network and CBS at Super Bowl 50, where he was given an opportunity to do a one-on-one interview with Peyton Manning. And during the 2016 NFL season, CBS brought him to New York to appear on the network’s pregame show and broadcast an interview he did with then-Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak. Denton is a huge Broncos fan.
“It’s crazy the amount of things I’ve been able to do in 2½ years (in high school),” Denton said.