Girls’ Soccer: ‘Persevered’ Despite Challenges

by Ismael Angulo & Ivan Rosas

Pueblo Girls Soccer 2019-2020

Pueblo High School’s girls’ soccer team kicked off their season last semester, on Nov. 25, at a tournament at Amphi High School in which the team advanced to finals; unfortunately, they lost. However, our fearless lady Warriors did not let that stop them.

Despite hard work, the team had a disappointing record of 5-7.

Senior Liliana Orduña said, “Our season went well, but we still could have improved a lot throughout the season.”

Throughout this challenging season, the girls’ soccer team worked continuously on becoming more competitive and communicative; they also improved upon their chemistry as a team.

Another player, senior Jasmine Marin, said, “A lot of people doubted us, but we persevered,” said Marin.

Coach CelisaRamirez has been coaching this team for two years, and she hopes that the girls learned from their mistakes and also from their many strengths.

She said, “Missing practices really affected us, although the girls who did show up for practice showed the most strength on the team.”

“I hope I can continue to create fun memories for the girls next year,” said Coach Ramirez. “I don’t want any of them to believe in giving up.”

She said, “Next year, I would like to see a small squad and more dedicated players.”

Welcome To Pueblo, Football Coach Allen!

by Xylenn Nevarez & Mariel Ponce

Pueblo High School welcomes the new football coach, Mr. Jacob Allen, to our community. Allen was born and raised in Tucson, and he expressed that he always wanted to become the head coach of a team that represents Tucson on the State level.

“Pueblo has an incredible community and rich history which made the job impossible to pass up,” Allen said.

He added that he has big plans for Pueblo’s varsity football program.

“I want to build a program that competes with the very best in our State at the 4A level year in and year out,” Allen said. “Our goal every year is to qualify for the State playoffs and compete with the best in the state once we get there.”

He already has next year’s football program practicing for about an hour every day after school, Monday through Friday.

Truly, Allen said that he is “incredibly excited” to have this position as a new coach and hopes to inspire his players. 

“I want to let my actions speak louder than my words,” Coach Allen said. “I am here every day, working with our athletes to get them better and prepared for the fall. I expect a lot out of our players, and I try to hold myself to the same standards when it comes to enthusiasm and effort.”

Boys Soccer: United To The End

by Palmira Henriquez & Daeyalina Moreno

The Pueblo’s boys soccer season is over, and all of those long hours of practicing are over. The boys practiced everyday from 3:30-5:30 p.m., and with a new coach, Mr. Dillon Cox said, the team felt like they were going to go in a new direction this year.

Coach Cox said, “We had a lot of fun together, and despite the losses this year, I’m looking forward to the team’s future.”

However, despite all of the practice, the Pueblo boys’ soccer team end up with a season record of 1-10-1. ­­­­­­­

Senior Everto Morales, Jr. said, “The team’s weakness is that when we lost, we put our heads down and started wanting to quit the team. We needed to be stronger.”

However, despite weaknesses, the team showed many admirable strengths.

Senior Ramon Estrella, #14, part of the team’s defense, said, “One of the team’s biggest strengths was our chemistry.”

Adding to that, senior Sergio Olivas, a forward, said, “The team carried a good attitude! The guys were always ready to play, and they all had a strong mentality.” He added, “The boys felt that they touched the ball more this year, and they enjoyed the new coach’s fresh attitude about keeping us positive as well as his new vision of our team.”

Although the season is over, Olivas said, “From the beginning, it was obvious that we had a very slim to no chance of entering the playoffs, but there’s always next year for the underclassmen.” 

On Feb. 6, the Warriors played their last game against Palo Verde. Although Pueblo lost (the score was 0-4) on Senior Night. Olivas said, “Even with a losing season, we were like a family—from beginning to end.”

Girls Basketball: Learning From Their Mistakes

by Darian Aldaco & Getsemani Cazares

Girls basketball is now halfway through their season, and with a record of 7-14 (as of Jan. 28), their conference games are now coming to an end. 

Clearly, the girls’ basketball season is not going as expected, however, they continue to push forward and make the best out of the remaining season.

Coach Ismael Galindo said, “The goal is always the same, State championship; unfortunately, with a recent loss, we are out of the state tournament for the first time in five years.”

Galindo has a few words to say about his young varsity team.

He said, “I’m always excited about freshmen because it gives me time to teach them, although I feel that I can teach anyone who wants to learn.”

Freshman point guard Victoria Cazares is making huge strides as the leading scorer and starter for the varsity team.

She said, “Being a freshman on the varsity team takes hard work and dedication. A spot on the varsity team isn’t given, it’s earned.”

Myla Truitt, another Class of ’23 freshman, is a shooting guard and a starter on varsity. 

She said, “Playing on varsity is fun, it’s more competitive and faster pace. Our season has been good, but it could be better.”

Coach Galindo said the season is not over until it’s over; however, he does admit that the team will have to make some adjustments.

He said, “I’m not giving up on this season, but we can take what we’ve learned this season and use it for motivation to work harder and get better for next season.” “The differences year to year doesn’t really matter. Players have to play, and coaches have to coach,” he said.

Class Of 2020 Senior Completes Half-Marathon

By Jacquelyn Gutierrez

He may have been sore the next day, but Class of 2020 senior Joel Bustamante finished the TMC/A-Mountain Half-Marathon race on Sunday, Oct. 28, in just one hour, 36 minutes, which is excellent time considering that the first place time was one hour, 06 minutes.

Bustamante said that Hiking Club sponsor Mr. Ernesto Somoza motivated him to participate in this event by giving him a coupon to participate in this event.

“I’ve always wanted to run a complete marathon,” Bustamante said, “but maybe I should stick to half-marathons until I have completed enough conditioning.”

To run 13 miles (a half-marathon) is a challenge for anybody, but Bustamante said that the beginning of a lengthy race is the most challenging.

“Your legs feel great pain until they become numb,” he said. “After about seven miles, I couldn’t feel my legs, and I felt that ‘runner’s high’ which is actually an endorphin high.”

Bustamante said that he is fervid member of the Hiking Club and was an avid member of the Cross Country team last year, which gave him more confidence with running.

“I always encourage my friends to exercise, in general,” he added. “Exercising is healthy for everybody, and I guess I just want all of my friends to stay or to get healthier.”

He paused and added, “This half-marathon is just the beginning for me. Some day I want to participate in the Boston Marathon.”

Four Warriors To Travel To Denver, Witness Retired Lever Jersey

By Iram Arce

From Left to Right: Efrain Estrella, Marissa Orr, Laura Conde & Andrew T. Romero

On December 1, 2017, four Warrior students will travel to Denver to witness former Pueblo student Lafayette “Fat” Lever’s “Retiring of a Jersey” (No. 12) ceremony, accompanied by exceptional education teacher and yearbook advisor Ms. Marie Little and Assistant Principal Frank Rosthenhausler.

Fat Lever

Students may know that Pueblo has a “Lever” Gym, but sadly, many of our current Warriors do not even know Lever about his legendary status—how remarkable this Warrior was back in his high school days and how nationally acclaimed he would become well into the 1990s.

Lever began playing for the Denver Nuggets from 1984-1990, and during those seven seasons, he averaged 17 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists. A two-time “All Star”, Lever ranks first all-time in franchise history in steals (1,167), second in assists (3,566), seventh in points (8,081) and eighth in rebounds (3,621).

And to think that this former all-star basketball player got his first taste of fame here at Pueblo during two very definitive basketball seasons: 1976-77 and 1977-78; Pueblo’s varsity basketball teams were State Champions for two consecutive years. Today, Lever Gym boasts these victorious seasons with banners that will definitely stand the test of time.

Math teacher Ms. Martha Avila-Miranda was a senior when our varsity Warrior basketball team won their first State championship.

“I have proud and fond memories of my high school years at Pueblo,” Avila-Miranda said, “and it was an exciting time to be a Warrior—especially as a member of the pom/cheer team traveling to all the basketball games. School and community spirit was sky high during the mid and late 1970s.  I definitely remember the basketball team under the direction of coach [Roland] Lavetter and the leadership of Fat Lever, who was very disciplined—and that model of working and playing hard transferred to all who knew them.”

Fat Lever pictured to the right of Coach Lavetter.

She added, “After all of these years, I am so touched to know that our former leaders and heroes have not forgotten their roots and are giving back to our Warrior community. I see many of the team members at different events here at PHS. I just want to say congratulations to Fat and all of his accomplishments. He is another reason that he has made us all proud to be Warriors.”

Lever, a 6’3” point guard, did not begin his NBA career with the Denver Nuggets, however. Two years earlier, Lever was the 11th overall pick in the 1981 draft—selected by the Portland Trailblazers after a successful run playing for the Arizona State University basketball team. (Lever would eventually return to ASU and complete his degree in education in 1996.)

By the time Lever arrived in Denver in 1984, the Nuggets were in desperate need of a miracle. That came in the 1985 season—when Lever helped the team advance to the Western Conference finals. Although the team would lose to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games, this season would prove to be the Nuggets’ most successful.

Although Lever played for the Dallas Mavericks from 1990-1994, Lever affirmed in several interviews that his heart was always with the Denver Nuggets. Due to several knee injuries and other circumstances, Lever retired from the NBA in 1994.

Lever later become a broadcaster for the Sacramento [California] Kings from 2007-2014, and eventually he returned to Arizona—Chandler, specifically—where he is currently a consultant in sports and international business. He also works with the Junior NBA program.

Our four Pueblo students—one from each of the media programs (radio, television, journalism and yearbook)—will have the privilege of witness Lever’s jersey being officially “retired” during a halftime Nuggets game on Saturday, Dec. 2.

After two weeks of raising enough money for airfare through many generous donors—and through a lot of tenacity and perseverance!—our Warriors depart from Tucson International Airport at 6 a.m. and will return to Tucson Sunday morning.

Yearbook student Andrew T. Romero, a junior, is the representative from his class and was very instrumental in initiating this trip. Back in October, Romero’s yearbook teacher, Ms. Marie Little, announced to her class that Lafayette (“Fat”) Lever’s jersey was going to be retired at a Denver Nuggets on Dec. 2 and that it would be a great opportunity for several of our Pueblo media students to travel to Denver and interview Lever and be a part of this historical sports moment.

From there, Romero had a conversation with former assistant principal Eduardo Nuñez (who was also a 1960 Pueblo High School graduate), who contacted Lever regarding Lever’s retirement celebration and getting Pueblo students there for this event. From there, Lever contacted Little—and Lever was able to get six media passes to the Dec. 2 Nuggets game. Lever is also taking care of our Warriors’ hotel costs for two nights.

Romero said, “I knew early on that this trip was going to be a possibility, and although I didn’t think I would be selected to participate. However, the universe likes me—I happen to be at the right place at the right time. My grades were low, but I was able to bring them up to passing, and therefore I now became eligible to represent yearbook.”

Romero approached Pueblo Principal Dr. Augustine Romero about this proposition and got his “thumbs up”.

“This trip [to Denver] is a great opportunity for our students!” Principal Romero said. “Lafayette [Lever] was, indeed, very generous!”

Junior Laura Conde, advanced journalism student, learned that she was going after editor-in-chief Iram Arce turned down the opportunity because he had “absolutely no interest in basketball.” Therefore, journalism teacher Mr. Rana Medhi selected Laura because of her excellent journalism skills.

“I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high,” Conde said, “because the whole thing seemed kind of far-fetched. But, now that we have our Southwest Airlines tickets, it’s definitely real. I’m looking forward to the interviewing process—obviously the most important story I’ll be writing.”

Radio student Marissa Orr, a senior, “When Ms. Wilson told me to go outside with Ms. Little, I thought I was framed or something. But, then I found out that I was selected to be the representative of radio to travel to Denver. This is an awesome opportunity for me—and I feel honored and privileged to have been selected by Ms. Wilson to represent radio.

Television student Efrain Estrella, another senior, said, “I feel very blessed and very lucky to be selected to go on this trip because it is a really big opportunity to not only for myself but my peers who will be coming along with me. This trip means a great deal to Pueblo High School as a whole, too.”

Ms. Marie Little, who will be co-escorting the students to Denver, said, “After the initial phone call, Lever was making contacts to ensure that all costs could be covered. Unfortunately, he was unable to secure airfare costs, so we had eight days to raise money to fly us six to Denver.”

Little said that in just eight days, she and the four students were able to raise $2,385—much of which came from current and former Pueblo faculty and staff members.

“We are beyond overwhelmed by the generosity of the Pueblo community,” Little said.

Mr. Frank Rosthenhausler, the other co-escort, said, “The entire Pueblo community is very excited about this trip. It’s awesome that our students are learning part of Pueblo’s history and also participating in the Denver Nuggets’ history. Very few students will ever get this kind of opportunity.”

Rosthenhausler added that he was a bit skeptical at first regarding the prospect of Ms. Little and students raising money for the air fare.

“The airline tickets were a hefty price, but they pulled it off,” he said. “I love how they were able to achieve this goal in such a short time.”

The entire Pueblo community anxiously awaits the students’ return to Pueblo to hear the highlights of this historical moment in sports history. The fact that Lever began his rise to athletic stardom and legendary sports acclaim right here at Pueblo makes this story even that much more powerful.