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Prep Notes: Burrell headlines 1st Rio Grande HS HOF class

Rio Grande grad Shelia Burrell, here encouraging her San Diego State runners during a meet at the Albuquerque Convention Center, competed in two Olympic Games as a heptathlete. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

Rio Grande High School has its first official inductees for its athletic Hall of Fame.

And no one will need to be overly familiar with the Ravens’ history to know whose name is the most prominent of the inaugural bunch.

Shelia Burrell

Olympian Shelia Burrell, the greatest female athlete Rio Grande has ever produced, headlines this first group. Burrell, who graduated in 1990, is currently a track coach at San Diego State.

She competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, and the 2004 Games in Athens.

One of the elite female athletes that followed Burrell in the South Valley, Natalie Martinez (1996), a stellar basketball and softball player, is also going to be recognized.

Two important coaches in the school’s history — Prentis Jones (cross country, track) and Ron Contreras (wrestling) — are to be honored as well. Contreras helped to build the Ravens’ consistently excellent wrestling program. Both Jones and Contreras are deceased.

Others to be inducted include Michael Walker, a three-sport athlete who played in the mid-1960s, and coach Art De La Cruz, who had two stints as a coach at Rio Grande and he was part of the drive to get a swimming pool on campus.

As part of the school’s initiative to induct important contributors to Rio Grande athletics, the Gallegos family — Pete and wife Mary Ellen, plus their children Tricia, Andy, Tony and Paul Adam — is being inducted.

As is the 1984 Rio Grande wrestling team, the school’s first team state champion.

Rio Grande will induct them all on May 24 at Rio Grande, and Burrell is expected to attend, said activities director Leslie Jackson.

LOS LUNAS FOOTBALL: Los Lunas High hopes to have its new head football coach by Friday.

On Monday, the school conducted interviews with its five finalists from a field of 14 applicants:

  •  Former Belen head coach and current Eldorado offensive coordinator Greg Henington;
  •  Roswell High defensive coordinator Arturo Bolaños, who has served in that job since 2013;
  •  Cleveland High assistant coach Robert Garza;
  •  Valencia High defensive coordinator LeDarrius Cage;
  •  Norbert Gabaldon, the offensive coordinator at Socorro (Texas) High, near El Paso.

MCINTOSH: La Cueva’s fearsome outside hitter, Sidney McIntosh, has been named the state’s Gatorade volleyball Player of the Year for the spring 2021 season.

The 5-foot-9 outside hitter, who signed to play collegiately at New Mexico State, had 114 kills last season for the Bears, posted a strong kill percentage of .467 and finished her outstanding career with over 1,000 kills.

ROMERO RETIRES: Dominick Romero has been a head basketball coach at five schools in New Mexico.

Manzano is going to be his last stop.

The 51-year-old told the Journal earlier this month that he is retiring.

He took over the Monarchs’ boys program in 2017 and also coached Cobre, Hot Springs, Socorro and Valencia.

“Timing seems right,” he said. He also plans to retire from teaching.

THIS AND THAT: Rio Grande’s Angelina Sanchez is signing to play softball with the University of the Southwest in Hobbs. … La Cueva quarterback Ryan Cook has signed to play football at South Dakota School of Mines in Rapid City. … Volcano Vista quarterback Johnny Herrera last week on Twitter said he had committed to play for Arizona Christian University in Phoenix. … Atrisco Heritage football player Chris Rios has signed to play for the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Nassau County, New York. … Shiprock’s Evette Lansing has signed to play women’s basketball for Trinidad (Colorado) State. … Capital’s Rebecca Sorensen has committed to play basketball for Northern New Mexico College in Española. … Luis Oaxaca of Sandia High is headed to play soccer for Keystone College in La Plume, Pennsylvania. … Andrew Pineda of Eldorado recently aced the fifth hole at Ladera Golf Course (7-iron from 175 yards) during an Albuquerque Public Schools tournament.

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