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Cordova, 19, killed in car accident

New Mexico Highlands freshman softball player Danielle Cordova was killed in a one-car accident on Wednesday on I-25, according to school officials.

A memorial for Cordova, a standout student-athlete at Bernalillo High School who graduated in 2016 as a member of the National Honor Society, will be held sometime this weekend or early next week in Las Vegas.

As of late Friday afternoon, NMHU athletic director Bill Clifford said details of the memorial were still being finalized. He said the team will play scheduled doubleheaders against Fort Lewis today and Sunday. The team will honor Cordova in this weekend’s games.

“Her mom’s going to be here and the kids want to play,” Clifford said.

The games begin today at noon and Sunday at 11 a.m.

On Thursday, the Highlands students were emailed the following combined statement from president Sam Minner and dean of students Kimberly Blea:

“We are saddened to learn of the loss of a member of our Highlands family, Danielle Cordova, a freshman majoring in social work. Our thoughts are with her family, friends, professors, teammates and coaches.

“Danielle was on our softball team, and her coach described her as a player with the biggest heart and one of the hardest working players: the first to arrive and the last to leave. Her quest for excellence is how she shined. Her coach and teammates are planning a campus memorial, and we will notify the campus community when one is scheduled.”

A New Mexico State Police report said officers responded to the crash around 8:50 p.m. at mile marker 314. It said Cordova’s vehicle “was traveling north on I-25 when the vehicle entered the median and over turned several times. Ms. Cordova sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

“No additional information is available at this time. This vehicle crash is still under investigation.”

Cordova, 19, was a star high school catcher at Bernalillo, where she led the Spartans to four district titles in her five years on varsity.

Her biography page on the NMHU website lists her as having graduated at the top of her class at Bernalillo High, as well as being on the honor roll and the in the Spanish Honor Society.

School officials reported that the crash happened just south of Las Vegas as Cordova was returning to Highlands from Bernalillo.

NMHU softball coach Karin Gadberry said the Cowgirls will honor Cordova this weekend by wearing armbands and holding a candlelight vigil Sunday at 8 p.m. on the field.

“She was just a great kid; a fantastic person,” Gadberry said. “Her quest for excellence always shined. She won’t only be missed here at Highlands, but also in the softball world.”

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