Two Los Lunas High School athletic and academic standouts were recognized by the Richard Peña Foundation for their high school achievements. Carrie Jones and Orlando Sanchez each received a $500 scholarship. The award is given to the top male and female senior student-athletes from Belen and Los Lunas.
Katherine Archuleta and Jace Rivera from Belen High School also received scholarships from the Peña Foundation.
Jones lettered in soccer and basketball. She lettered four years in soccer and received first-team All-District 3-5A honors in 2001 and was a second-team all-district selection in 2000 and 1999.
Jones also received the Most Improved Player award in 1999 and Most Valuable Player award in 2001 in soccer. She was the Lady Tigers’ team captain in 2001.
Jones lettered two years in basketball. She received the Varsity Spirit award in 2002, earned All-District academic honors last year and was selected to the State Farm All-Metro Academic Team.
“I was really surprised and honored by this award,” Jones said of the Peña award. “This scholarship will really help a lot.”
On top of her athletic achievement, Jones was also the co-valedictorian for LLHS.
“Valedictorian wasn’t something I was shooting for,” Jones said. “I just always knew that I had to get good grades, and it just happened because I worked hard.”
Jones’ hard work extended out of the classroom and onto the field. Her soccer coach, Pat Powers, praised her work ethic and attitude on and off the field.
Jones attributed her success to the will to win. “I really wanted it bad,” she said, “and I always try my best in everything I do. Also, my parents really support me a lot in everything I do, and that really helps a lot.”
Jones will be taking her soccer game to the next level as a member of Adams State College women’s soccer team this fall. She is planning on studying biology, sports medicine, or veterinary medicine in college.
Sanchez also received multiple letters in high school athletics. He ran cross-country and distance events in track and field. Like Jones, Sanchez was a letter-winner in soccer his junior year. He did not participate in soccer his senior year, preferring to focus on running.
Sanchez was the captain of the cross-country team last year. He was the District 3-5A champion in 2001 and placed 10th at the state high school cross-country meet, earning All-State honors. In track, he qualified for the state meet three times.
Sanchez also excelled in the classroom, carrying a 3.0 GPA while working 20 hours per week and participating in sports.
Sanchez is proud of his achievements and honored to be selected by the Peña Foundation as the top male athlete at LLHS.
“I’m glad I got this award,” Sanchez said. “I feel like the class of runners I ran with throughout high school kind of made a name for Los Lunas. Track doesn’t get a lot of recognition, and I think I did pretty well, considering the circumstances.”
According to his cross-country coach, Larry Padilla, Sanchez was a hard worker and had a great attitude. However, Sanchez gives the credit to those around him.
“I attribute my success to my father,” he said. “He was always at all of my meets, and he really supported me.
“Also, coach Padilla helped a lot. He has been my coach since the eighth-grade, and he really gets involved in the team. With a team as small as our cross-country team, he can give us a lot of personal attention.”
Sanchez has not decided on how he will use his scholarship. He said he is either going to stay close to home and try out for one of the running teams at the University of New Mexico or attend Balcome College. He said he has been offered a scholarship to Balcome, a small college in Oklahoma. Sanchez is planning on majoring in either business accounting or international business.