Marysa Ocampo, former star athlete for the Socorro Warriors, reflects on playing volleyball for New Mexico Military Institute.
Greg Byrd | El Defensor Chieftain


Marysa Ocampo is a former star athlete for the Socorro Warriors. She has taken her talents to the next level.

Where are you currently playing?

I am currently at the New Mexico Military Institute. I am a Bronco for the volleyball team.

What brings you back to Socorro?

I’m on Christmas break. We’re doing offseason workouts so I’m trying to hit it hard going into next season. We’re focused on the 2022 season that is going to last until May.

Now that you are at the collegiate level, are you still participating in multiple sports?

Not anymore. Just volleyball. Not to say that the girls here didn’t work hard, but down there in Roswell it is far more intense. The coaches are basically, you are 100 percent in or 100 percent out. There is a lot more talent, which is what surprised me from day one.

One year into NMMI, how is it as opposed to being at SHS?

The curriculum and the sport are number one. You are always concentrated on class and playing every day. It is no doubt harder on a day to day level. Playing places like Iowa or Utah makes it tough when you also must go to class for finals.

What has been the best part about going to the collegiate level?

I feel like I have become more well-rounded. I have become much more proactive and better at time management. Being a leader, teammate and working hard is now part of my skill set, playing in Roswell.

What makes you a great leader?

Both on and off the volleyball court, focusing on working hard and just being a good teammate. Our squad just lost in the championships against Iowa Western. It was a five-set battle. But the big reason we were able to get there is everybody knew their role. You can be a big hitter, distracting the defense or on the bench keeping your teammates head in the game.

Who has been your biggest mentor on the team?

I looked up to all of them whether they were incoming freshman or sophomores. The one that really stood out was Darcy Dodd, who is graduating. She was an all-around leader and one of the first to reach out to me when I first got there. She made me better, as well as all of the freshman at home when they arrive. It is not just through her words but also through her actions.

What was the worst part having your dad being a former SHS star?

It was a blessing in disguise. My freshman or sophomore year he was always riding me to work harder. That wasn’t fun. It wasn’t in a bad way, but he was pushing me to do better as a person. He wanted me to get to the college level. I wanted to be better, but I did not realize how tough the next level would be. My dad pushed me to that. I remember one night when my friends were going to Albuquerque and my dad wouldn’t let me go because I had practice the next day. That is what got me to the success I’m grateful to have today.

How was your initial reaction visiting NMMI?

One of the best interactions is my roommate Allyah Tokelau. She is from Utah, and we went on our visit together. We grew up in similar situations and there is not tension. Allyah had the same thing I did with a father that never stops pushing you, but in a positive way. She is one of my best friends.

What is your favorite song?

I like 2000’s R&B such as Beyonce or Alicia Keys. But right now, if I’m on a desert island I’m going “Intentions” by Justin Beiber. I think I could listen to that for the rest of my life.

If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you do?

I would go to Nigeria. I would want to build a house there and donate the rest to kids. I enjoy helping people, especially those that are less fortunate than I am.

If there was one thing you could change about Socorro County, what would it be?

In one of my classes I did a project on teen drug use in this town. I would definitely change the access to drugs. I don’t know how to do it, but just eliminate drugs in schools.

Greg Byrd | El Defensor Chieftain