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The reason I like high school athletes

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It sometimes amazes me how often we can get so wrapped up in our lives and so easily forget others in the community who stand out, even if they will be moving on in the next six months.

Two of these people, attached to this story, was entirely my fault in forgetting. Well, one at least!

I’ve known Natalie DePauli since her two older sisters created havoc on opponents on the soccer pitch. Nat was just a little girl then, but has since grown up to be the Homecoming Queen at Miyamura High and a very good soccer player herself. Good enough to receive a scholarship offer from Garden City College in Kansas. I always suspected that Nat would be the one daughter of her parents to expand her horizons athletically. And she did.

On the other hand I’ve only watched Ni’asia McIntosh play basketball a few times, though I read the hundreds of words printed about her on the sports pages. I saw her a couple of times as a freshman when she was gawky and unsure of herself, but more recently I watched her as a senior at Gallup High, leading her Bengal bunch to a perfect regular season and doing everything she could in the State Championship game to bring her team to victory.

Recording a season of double digit points and rebounds brought her a lot of attention state-wide and the NM Junior College in Hobbs was the winner in the scholarship sweepstakes for the next two years.

And then there is the young man that I have covered, A.J. Starkovich, who deserves his own stand-alone picture and caption.

Then there’s Miyamura High softball team that shutout West Mesa 10-0 on April 12. Impressive game.

Kids like these are the reason why I like to attend high school games. Maybe you should too … I’ll see you in the bleachers.

Story and photos by Tom Hartsock

Sun Correspondent