Marcus Armijo was a two-way All-State football selection.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain photos

The 2022 sports year featured several outstanding accomplishments by Socorro County athletes and teams. Here’s a look at some of the top stories that caught our readers’ attention.

Swim team breaks personal records

In February, every one of the eight team members of the Socorro swim team was able to achieve personal records or contribute to setting new records for a relay team at the district swim meet.

The 2022 swim team included Eryn Esquibel, Shay Vanlandingham, Sky Sessions, Mia Tenorio Tig Baker, Cody Johnston, Rio Sessions and Christin Armijo.

Steers repeat as champs

Magdalena’s Steers won their second straight Class 1A basketball championship and finished the year with a 31-1 record.

Senior team leader Joren Mirabal finished with 21 points and added four assists.

High-flying wing D’Shaun Vinyard delivered the bang for the Steers (31-1) with 30 points and 11 rebounds.

Jema Ganadonegro goes in for a layup against a pair of Laguna defenders.

Four All-State basketballers

The two-time defending state champions had Joren Mirabal, D’Shaun Vinyard, and Kael Stephens named to the first-team All-State Class 1A basketball team.

After leading No. 1 ranked Socorro to the Class 3A state basketball tournament, Duda Jackson was the Warriors’ lone All-State selection. Socorro went 22-6 and made it to the semifinals before falling to Saint Michael’s.

Steers win track title, too

Repeats were commonplace in Magdalena in 2022, just a couple of months after winning back-to-back state titles in basketball. The Steers also did it in track and field.

Kael Stephens had a dominating performance with wins in the triple jump and 110 hurdles and second places in the 300 and 400 hurdles and anchoring the 4×400 relay.

Joaquin Billy, who didn’t lose a shot put or discus event all season, won two state titles as Magdalena totaled 90 points for its third overall state title since 2015.

Tech rugby wins national title

The New Mexico Tech rugby program did it again, toting home another national title after rampaging through the small-school College Rugby Championships on Memorial Day weekend in New Orleans.

That perseverance helped Tech overcome Christendom College with a 26-10 win in the final game, capping a perfect 7-0 run in which the Miners outscored opponents 163-65.

Wrestler earns scholarship

After receiving an Instagram note from Waldorf University Warriors head coach Tyreece Gilder, Socorro senior multi-sports athlete Chailynn Amaro changed her mind about participating in college sports and entertained the idea of accepting a wrestling scholarship.

In accepting the offer, Amaro became Socorro’s first-ever wrestler headed to college on a free ride.

Socorro E-team 5th at state

Socorro didn’t have an “old school” entry for Madden football, but that didn’t stop the Warriors E-team from taking 5th place at state by doing well in the four other titles.

Socorro rode the backs of its senior-laden Mario Kart squad that entered the tournament as the top seed, but unexpectedly lost in the championship match to second-seeded Raton, a team the Warriors had beaten twice during the regular season.

It was the fourth season for the E-team, which has grown from eight original players to 32.

Montoya named to All-Star game.

After being nominated by Socorro coach Raymond Gonzales, district coaches voted Brandon Montoya onto the state’s baseball all-star game on June 3 and 4.

D’Shaun Vinyard dishes out a pass to a wide open Kael Stephens during the Steers’ championship win in Grants.

Cross Country team makes state meet

After nearly every runner set a personal-best record, the Lady Warriors finished second as a team at district, and Warrior runner Robinson Ford qualified for the state cross country meet.

Sky Sessions was the top Lady Warrior runner with a third place. She was joined at the state meet by Anastasia Zagrai, Jacqueline Perez, Rem Jacquez, Lyzz Moellenbrock, Addisyn Fassett, and Abagail Watkins.

Alamo Navajo reaches final four

Alamo Navajo’s season of highlights ended in the final four of the state Class A volleyball tournament, and the Lady Cougars posted an overall record of 19-7.

Reaching the final four capped a season where Alamo was undefeated in district play and ran off a 14-match winning streak.

Warriors football goes 11-1

The Socorro Warriors football team went 10-0 over the regular season and won its fifth consecutive district title in 2022.

The Warriors’ seniors finished their football careers, having never lost a district game. Ranked No. 1 heading into the playoffs, Socorro won its first game before falling to Saint Michael’s in the state semifinals.

Four Warriors picked for All-Star game

The Socorro Warriors football team had four players participating in the New Mexico High School Coaches Association All-Star at the Bulldog Bowl in Artesia.

Xamien Aguilar, Marcus Armijo, Brian Armijo and Caden Moreland were picked as all-stars, and Socorro has two alternate players in, Damian Greenwood and Warren Kurtnaker.

Socorro All-State football players 

Marcus Armijo, Caden Moreland and Brian Armijo were named two-way All-State football players and highlighted 12 total selections for Socorro.

David Gutierrez was a first-team offensive pick, while Alex Amaro was named to the second-team offense. Xamien Aguilar, Isaiah Ocampo, and Warren Chewiwi were second-team defensive selections, and Damian Greenwood was an honorable mention.

Magdalena lands four All-state picks

After helping lead their team to a 7-4 record and a berth in 8-man football playoffs, four Magdalena Steers have been named to the New Mexico High School Coaches Association All-State football teams.

Wide receiver Kael Stephens and inside linebacker Kaleb Castanon were named to the All-State second team. It’s the second big postseason honor for Castanon, who was also selected to the NMHSCA All-Star game.

The Steers also picked up two honorable mention selections, with D’Shaun Vinyard picked as wide receiver and Joseph Zamora selected as a defensive end.