College Corner: Former BHS athletes Jaramillo and Reyes earn top honors

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A pair of former Belen High athletes, Taylar Jaramillo and Aleona Reyes, earned honors at their respective colleges in this past spring semester.

Golfer Taylar Jaramillo earned NCAA Division I all-conference honors for Saint Francis (Pa.) University of the Northeast Conference after finishing in 10th place at the NEC Championship at the end of April. A week later, she was named as a NEC’s second team all-conference selection.

TAYLAR JARAMILLO NEC golf All-conference

“I kind of didn’t expect that,” Jaramillo said. “My goal was to get Top 10 individually. So that felt good to accomplish that (all-conference).”

As a freshman for the Red Flash, Jaramillo posted a scoring average of 81.0 for the season and finished in the top 15 in her final three tournaments. As the team’s No. 2 player, she also played in all nine of the tournaments SFU participated in.

“I had goals set for myself going in,” Jaramillo said recently. “I wanted to travel to as many tournaments as I could. It felt really good to accomplish that and make the traveling squad right away. I pretty much held that No. 2 spot for the entire year.”

Jaramillo’s Red Flash teammate, Ann Colligan, was named to the all-conference first team as Saint Francis finished fifth in the NEC Tournament.

Jaramillo said the first season was trying, especially learning to balance school with golf as well as getting used to practicing indoors during the harsh Pennsylvania winter, and not playing outdoors all the time.

“My scores at first weren’t that great because I had to adjust to all that,” she said. “But I knew it would be OK because my goal was conference.”

Jaramillo said she looks forward to next season and is largely working on the internal aspects of her game.

“Right now I honestly think it’s just the mental part (that needs work),” she said.

Jaramillo said she will play in a few professional and amateur tournaments this summer in the area, including the Albuquerque Women’s Golf Championship at the Santa Ana Golf Club in July.

Belen’s Aleona Reyes picked up her first NAIA track and field All-American honor running for Jamestown (N.D.) College at the NAIA national meet in Marion, Ind., last month.

ALEONA REYES NAIA track All-American

Reyes, who has a pair of All-America honors in cross country, ran a career best 10:48.54 to place fifth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase — and event she had never run until this outdoor season.

“It’s obviously really exciting,” Reyes said by phone recently. “My goal was to get all-American this season. It still hasn’t hit me.”

It was a solid end to Reyes sophomore year, running for the Jimmies. That was not something that she or her coaches might have predicted after Reyes fell prey to illness and injuries in the fall season. The Belen native missed the indoor track season but was ready to run come the start of the outdoor season.

Reyes said her interest in the steeplechase, which includes hurdles and water obstacles in addition to distance running, was lit by a teammate.

“We do the same event training-wise,” she said. “I got excited that she wanted to do it too, so we both went for it.”

Reyes said she took some time at the beginning of her summer break before getting back to a training regimen to get ready for her senior season in cross country.

Reyes said she is looking forward to running steeplechase next season.

” I got more confidence in each race,” she said. “Now that I’ve gotten that (season) in, I’m excited about it.”

In cross country, Reyes has set the same lofty goals.

“I think this will be my biggest season,” she said. “I have the highest expectations for myself. I’m shooting for the Top 10. I definitely want to get another All-American honor.”