College Corner: Rodeo, fall portion of 2011-12

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Some student-athletes from Valencia County excelled in rodeo in the fall of 2011. The spring portion of the 2011-12 season, for some teams, begins as early as the weekend of Feb. 4.

If you know any county products competing at the college level, contact the News-Bulletin by email: jbrooks@news-bulletin.com.

Mikey Ortega,

Dominic Silva,

Mesalands CC

The pair of Valencia County team ropers didn't show up high on the points list after the fall half of the 2011-12 college season.

However, Ortega did receive the honor of being named a 2011 Academic All-American recipient by the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.

This honor is bestowed to students that have a 3.5 cumulative grade point average and qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo.

Ortega and Silva competed at the 2011 CNFR last June in Casper, Wyo., as freshmen.

Silva is from Los Lunas, while Ortega, who is majoring in animal science, is from Jarales.

The pair also roped together during high school.

"We are very proud of Michael and what he has accomplished while at Mesalands," said Mesalands rodeo coach C.J. Aragon in a press release. "He has definitely taken advantage of the many opportunities Mesalands has to offer, both academically and in the rodeo arena."

The men's team for Mesalands, located in Tucumcari, is ranked second in the Grand Canyon Region in team points, behind New Mexico State, and third nationally behind Missouri Valley College and NMSU.

"Michael and Dominic are both really good competitors and students," said Aragon. "They practice every day and work hard. They represent what we expect of our rodeo students."

Aragon said Ortega was one of his neighbors in Belen before he accepted the position of rodeo coach at Mesalands.

He says Ortega and Silva have known each for a very long time, which contributes their success in team roping to their lasting friendship.

Shiann Irwin,

New Mexico State

Irwin, a Bosque Farms native, made her first trip to nationals last summer, and she's in the hunt for a second trip.

The senior had a seventh-place effort in barrel racing at an October rodeo in Tucumcari

She tied with an NMSU teammate for eighth later in the month in Las Cruces.

The two finishes helped her place 13th in the Grand Canyon's barrel racing points standings. Her team is ranked first in the Grand Canyon Region and fifth nationally.

Payton Cowdrey,

N.M. Highlands

Cowdrey, another Bosque Farms native, is 11th in breakaway roping points as a Highlands freshman.

One of her top performances was a time of 8.3 seconds in an October rodeo at Diné College in Arizona.


-- Email the author at jbrooks@news-bulletin.com.