BELEN — Belen High School has hired four new coaches, adding a mix of familiarity and experience to the Eagles’ coaching roster.
Oscar Medrano brings more than 20 years of head coaching experience to the Belen softball program.
Medrano is a longtime Albuquerque Public Schools coach, with stints at Cibola High School and 17 years at Valley High School.
“My goal is to teach, direct and build the program to bring it to a competitive level,” Medrano said. “I’m a firm believer in tough love. I love coaching. It is my passion.”
Medrano is a cold case homicide investigator, who has been with the Albuquerque Police Department for 43 years. He plans to retire at the end of December.
Medrano said after doing research into the BHS softball, “It seemed like a very promising program, an opportunity. So, I thought I would take a leap at it.”
The position opened after the resignation of Joe Duran in May.
Chrissy Cordova returns to the Eagles tennis program. She spent three years as head coach before resigning after the 2022 season to better follow her daughter Riley’s college tennis career.
Cordova was encouraged by friends and Steven Contreras, BHS athletic director, to apply for the job left open when Nick Rodriguez resigned.
“I’m happy to be back,” Cordova said. “I’m ready to take on the position, not just as a coach but as a role model. I like my kids to go out there and have fun.”
Cordova led the Eagles’ girls to a runner-up finish at state in 2022. During open court this summer, Cordova has seen reason for optimism.
“They’re young but they look like they are ready. Ready to play.”
With powerlifting set to become a sanctioned New Mexico Activities Association sport in 2023-24, Joey Fresquez couldn’t be more excited to take over the BHS program.
“I thought it was a great opportunity to step in and start building something,” Fresquez explains. “I think we can have state champions. We’ve got some strong kids.”
Fresquez should know. He is a former BHS science teacher and remains an assistant coach with football and track.
“It’s a great off-season sport for all athletes. That strength and explosion can translate into another sport.”
“I’ve always had an interest in powerlifting, and I’m glad that it’s finally become a main-stream sport here,” said Fresquez, who takes over for Ryan Tafoya.
First-time head coach Liz Jones is excited to dive into the deep end of the pool for the BHS swimming and diving team after assisting Lin Onsae last season.
“He (Onsae) let me lead a lot of things,” Jones said, adding “He actually left me pretty confident in this role.”
Jones may be in her first year as head coach, but she’s been part of the swimming community for years.
Her son, Joshua, competes at Adams State, and son, Dylan, will be a senior on the Eagles’ swim team.
“We’ve been committed to swimming for a long time,” she said. “It’s really left me comfortable with everything.”
Her priorities focus on building camaraderie and the size of the roster.
“I just want the kids to enjoy swimming and have fun,” she said. “That’s my goal for this year.”
Mike Powers spent more than 40 years as a television news and sports anchor, mostly in the Albuquerque market. He has won numerous awards including New Mexico Sportscaster of the Year. He covers a wide range of sports, including the Valencia County prep scene.