AlamogordoTownNews.com: 100 Years AGO, in Alamogordo Sports History – Coach L R “Peanuts” Robins picks principle and ethics over a State Title.

The Founding of the New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA)

In 1921 The New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) was formed as a nonprofit organization that regulates interscholastic programs for junior and senior high schools in New Mexico. It became the official host and record keeper for the statewide sports championship games each year thereafter and collaborated with the University of New Mexico to continue to host events. keeping and leading interscholastic events within New Mexico today.

NMAA was organized in 1921 by John Milne, James Bickley, F. H. Lynn, and J.D. Shinkle as the New Mexico High School Athletic Association.

Alamogordo High School joined the association in 1921 and proceeded to send athletes to its events.

The 1920’s has been called the Golden Age of American Sports. It also has been called the Age of the Spectator.

The United States had a strong economy for most of that decade with extensive growth on the west coast with the formation of New Mexico and new cities and school systems. Organized sports were at a pinnacle many workers had more leisure time. New and bigger stadiums and gymnasiums were built, interest and pride in local High School and College Teams became America’s pastime.

The introduction of radio made it easier for fans to keep up with their favorite teams. Radio and local newspapers increased their coverage of sports building local community support of their hometown teams. High School interscholastic sports gained significant traction and community pride via local media.

Alamogordo High School had a very limited sports program in 1922 but the Boys Basketball team was a bright spot for the citizens of Alamogordo that provided much community pride.

The citizens of Alamogordo had significant pride in their Boys Basketball Team that season of 1922 under Coach & Professor L. R. “Peanuts” Robins. Coach Robin’s was a disciplined athlete that took education seriously. The coach expected his boys to perform well academically and athletically. Citizenship and good stewardship of their reputation and that of the Alamogordo High School was a paramount lesson he intended to instill upon his student athletes.

The 1922/23 season was a strong one for the the Alamogordo Tiger Boys which were picked to win the district tournament and carry that victory forward to the state championships hosted by the NMAA in Albuquerque.

According to the Alamogordo News at the time, “Close performance of the teams that were to participate in the high school tournament for the basketball teams of the southern district of New Mexico, agreed that Alamogordo would give a good account of its team at the tournament. And winning the tournament it was conceded that the Alamogordo high schools’ boys would mix it up pretty strong at the state contest in Albuquerque. The Alamogordo boys had already won from the Albuquerque team, winner of the central tournament. But Alamogordo did not win the Las Cruces district tournament.”

Alamogordo did not win the Las Cruces district tournament.

The why of the matter was very nicely told in the El Paso Times by Gene Fromme.

“Why Alamogordo Withdrew…

Alamogordo High School’s failure to enter the district basketball tournament for the state title for the 1922/23 school year had everyone wondering.

Every fan in the southwest knew Alamogordo High packed probably the classiest crew of cage performers in the entire state. Their slashing victory over the strong Albuquerque High School boosted them to a lofty standing and a championship for the team seemed almost assured.

Coach “Peanuts” Robins had molded a masterful quintet from the rawest kind of material. All of his backers had expressed their willingness to bet their boots Alamogordo would march off with the state title.

Then came the time for them to show their basket of wares and they failed to make an appearance.

Here is the mystery unreeled by one the shrewdest and fairest athletic followers, who is more than merely interested in the welfare of the Alamogordo High school basketball team:

It takes downright courage for a successful young athletic coach who has toiled night and day with his team to refuse to enter a tournament he would most probably have won, for sheer sake of principle. And that is exactly what Coach “Peanuts” Robbins of Alamogordo High did. This is the kind of coaching that places athletics on a plane worthwhile.

Without entering into a full discussion of the cause of the young coach’s commendable action, suffice it to say a small number only of the boys on the team who, after riding over the rough bumps of the Alamo trails, took of the cars and said they wished to take a ride around town. They feel victims to the smooth El Paso-Las Cruces Road, and before they knew it they were doing things not consistent with the best athletic conditions. 

While this kind of a lark is not a legal crime, it showed poor judgement on the part of the boys, and certainly could not be tolerated by the coach. 

Upon the boys’ return from their adventure the Alamogordo, Coach Robins promptly removed them from the team.

This naturally incapacitated the club for such as contest as was before them, and in which, considering all former “dope” they no doubt would have won. With crushed hearts the other boys who had remained true to their teachings and colors, along with their comrades, who would willingly have given anything to undo the wrong which they had done, moved our for the long night ride to their home. Thus, Alamogordo went unheralded for the season.”

Other accounts of the events around the district tournament report that Coach L R Robinson had every intention of entering the boys into the competition and believed strongly that they could carry the banner for a state title. According to the coach, “ the Alamogordo Boys took the trip entirely too lightly. The boys broke training and went joy riding.”

The public was confused. From the viewpoint of the chances of Alamogordo gaining basketball fame in the state tournament, the incident from some was considered deplorable. But from the angle of what sport in the schools stands for, cleanliness and training of the body and mind, the development of discipline and sportsmanship. Coach Robbins was eminently correct.

Coach “Peanuts” Robin’s goes down in New Mexico High School sports history and Alamogordo Sports History as the coach that placed principle and discipline over the accolades of winning a state championship.

The question of course is what kind of pressure did the coach face upon his return without a district or state title in hand?

Mr. Robins had the full support of the faculty and of the directors or school board of Alamogordo. He well deserved it. According to a statement from a school administrator at the time; “Coach R L “Peanuts” Robins proved himself a thorough sportsman and a man fit to be given the direction of young athletes.”

One wonders. if that same level of ethics and stamina exists within the coaching staff and administration to take on the public scrutiny of such a decision today. Would the same decision be made by the coach to pull the team in our modern times of today? Thoughts to ponder from lessons of the history of the Alamogordo Sports Program dating back over 120 years.

STAY CONNECTED! SUBSCRIBE TO FREE EMAIL UPDATES FROM 2ND LIFE MEDIA ALAMOGORDO

SIGN UP!  

Alamogordo, New Mexico Sports History, Alamogordo History: Look Back Girls Track & Field Success 1977 District Win & Remembering Coach Lawrence E. Johnson

The year as 1977 and the Alamogordo Girls Track and Field Team continued to show the state they were a team to take serious as they captured the 3AAAA district crown as the top team in the district. The Tigers earned 134 points placing 1st with Mayfield at 122 points in 2nd place and Las Cruces in 3rd
place with 104 points. 

Ruthie Fatheree collected a total of 33 points to pace Alamogordo’s effort for a victory.

District Medalist included:

  • Ruthie Fatheree, 1st Place, 50 Yard Dash, 6.0
    • 1st
      Place, 220 Yard Dash, 26.9
    • 2nd
      Place, Long Jump, 17’ 3”
  • Vicki Lee, Susan Lee, Debbie Salcido, Fatheree, 1st Place, 440, 50.4
  • Susan Lee, Fatheree, Salcido and Donna Scroggins, 1st Place, 880, 1:48.3
  • Vicki Lee, 1st Place, 100 Yard Dash, 11.3
  • Carmen Smith, 1st Place, Shot Put
  • Ruth Turning, 2nd Place, High Jump, 4’ 10”
  • Vicki Lee, Susan Lee, Cathy Frederick, Karen Guerrero, 2nd Place, Mile Relay, 4:14.9
  • Debbie Salcido, 3rd Place, Soft Ball Throw, 183’ 3”
  • Kim Campbell, 3rd Place, 110 Low Hurdles, 15.8
    • 4th
      Place, High Jump 4’ 8”
    • 5th
      Place, 80 Yard Hurdles, 11.9 (state qualified time)
  • Cathy Frederick, 3rd Place, 440 Yard Dash, 63.0
  • Toni Irvine, 3rd Place, Shot Put 34’ 8”
  • Salcido, Scroggins, Cheryl Greer and Guerrero, 3rd Place, Medley Relay, 1:59.6
  • Susan Lee, 4th Place 100 Yard Dash, 11.8 (state qualified)
  • Karen Guerrero, 4th Place, 440 Yard Dash, 63.4
  • Delinder Compton, 4th Place, 440 Yard Dash, 65.4
  • Angela Holloway, 4th Place, Shot Put, 34’ 5”
  • Janet Haug, 6th Place, 440 Yard Dash 65.9
  • Lisa Busick, 6th Place, Mile Run, 6:14.0

Coming off the district meet 10 girls qualified for state in 11 events. Ruthie Fatheree led the team in 5 events at the state meet. Susan Lee and Vicki Lee also feel the team pressure as both are competing in 7 events.

Albuquerque Manzano wins top team honors in girls AAAA Track & Field for the 1977 season. Alamogordo  Girls placed 6th at the state meet. 

Medalist at the state meet included:

  • Vicki Lee, Susan Lee, Debbie Salcido, Fatheree, 2nd, Place 440 Relay, 50.30
  • Vicki Lee, 5th Place, 100 Yard Dash, 11.38
  • Ruthie Fatheree, 6th Place, 50 Yard Dash, 6.26
    • 4th
      Place, 220, 26.45
  • Carmen Smith, 2nd Place, Shot Put, 40.3
  • Susan Lee, Fatheree, Salcido and Donna Scroggins, 3rd Place, 880 Relay, 1:47.5
  • Kim Campbell, 4th Place, Long Jump, 16’ 2 ¼

The 1977 Athletics season seemed to be coalescing with the coaches working more closely together under a new football coach now in full force that being coach Gary Hveem. At Alamogordo High School in 1977 both the girl and boy student athletes began working closer together. 

Cross Country, Track & Field, Golf and Tennis had boys and girls training together and sharing coaching staffs. Girls Track under the leadership of Head Coach Marilyn Sepulveda was assisted by Kay Morgan and Joe Bryant and beginning to garner attention from around the state. In the years to come many great things would be seen based on this solid foundation of excellence.

Most athletic programs were growing at Alamogordo High in 1977, but the result of Title IX and expanded girls athletics, the decision was made to cut the wrestling program to ensure all other programs were funded appropriately and all students had the opportunity to compete.

The 1977 school year also saw the return of Lawrence Johnson from a former star athlete and student to a teacher and coach who assisted the boys and girls track programs. As outlined in book one in the series he had an amazing career at Alamogordo, became a guidance counselor who assisted hundreds of students and ultimately became the Athletic Director in future years.

Lawrence Johnson was born July 15, 1949 in Dallas, Texas, to Rubin Lee and Susie Mae Johnson. His nickname was Slick and was famous with his student athletes for his sunglasses. He graduated from Alamogordo High School in 1969. He was an athlete under Coach Sepulveda and others. He was a district track and field champion in broad jump.

He went to college at Western New Mexico University in Silver City where he earned his bachelor’s in 1972 and master’s degree in 1975.

“I graduated from high school here in Alamogordo in 1968 and went off to college, I came back in 1972 and I got a job,” Johnson said in a 2014 Daily News article about his retirement. “I started teaching physical education and social studies at the middle school and I just continued from there. I really enjoyed teaching the kids, I also enjoyed coaching. I started the learning process at that time and I really enjoyed myself.”

He served 42 years at Alamogordo as a coach, teacher, guidance counselor and athletic director.

In 1982, Johnson began working at Alamogordo High School as a track and boys basketball coach, which he did for five years after prior experience as the JV Basketball Coach and Coach at the Middle High. He aided Coach Sepulveda from the beginning of his tenure with the Alamogordo school systems and throughout his career.

He also served as a guidance counselor for six years. Johnson became the assistant athletic director at AHS in 1993, the following year he became the athletic director. Johnson served as athletic director at AHS for 21 years, the longest tenured Athletic director in the school’s history.

He served on the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Board of Directors. In addition, Johnson was a member of the New Mexico Athletic Directors Association, (NMADA) board for 20 years. From 1998 to 1999, New Mexico Athletic Directors Association (NMADA) board for 20 years. From 1998 to 1999, he was president of NMADA.

In 2017, Johnson was honored with the Distinguished Service award from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA). He was one of 11 educators nationwide to receive the award.

In 1972, Johnson began working at Alamogordo High School as a track and boys basketball coach, which he did for five years after prior experience as the JV Basketball Coach and Coach at the Middle High. He aided Coach Sepulveda from the beginning of his tenure with the Alamogordo school systems.

Alamogordo School Board members unanimously approved the renaming of the Tiger Pit sports complex at Alamogordo High School to honor Lawrence E. Johnson for his many years of contribution to the community and the thousands of students and athletes he positively affected as a mentor and role model. His legacy continues in that facility today…

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/30819/alamogordo-sports-history-look-back-girls-track-field-success-1977-district

Excerpted from Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days a joint collaboration of Author Chris Edwards and Artist Rene Sepulveda, available at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico and on Amazon in 36 countries. Soon to be released, Coach Bob Sepulveda The Golden Years 1977 to 1995 soon to be released on Amazon and fine independent bookstores everywhere. 

New Mexico Olympic History: The 1950’s, Alamogordo High Schools First State Track & Field Title & New Mexico’s First Native Born Olympian Marvel

The 1950’s and Alamogordo’s First State Track & Field Title in New Mexico History

Photo on Blog and in original article posted to 2nd Life Media’s Alamogordo Town News courtesy of Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days Book Series and Archives. To see more photos of sports from the 50’s, 60s and 70s, visit 2ndlifemedia.com

The 1951/52 Track & Field Season was very historic for Southern New Mexico and for Alamogordo, with a state medal win from some very distinctive athletes.

The results of the State Competition winners include…

  • Bobby Lee, 1st Place, 100 Yard Dash, 9.8
    • Bobby Lee, 1st Place,220 Yard Dash, 21.21.6
    • Bobby Lee, 1st Place, Long Jump, 21’-01.375
    • Norman Kinder, 1st Place, Pole Vault, 10’-10.50”
    • Benny Garcia, 1st Place. Javelin, 193’-01.325

The Alamogordo Tigers Track and Field Team of 1951/52 smashed the competition at the state finals of that year.

They took and won the state competition with 48.5 points. Albuquerque High, the 1951 State Champion scored 21.5 points less for a 2nd place finish of 27 points.

  • Lee in addition to setting 2 state records personally scored 24 ¾ points. He broke the state records in the 100-yard dash by .2 seconds and the 220 by .8 seconds better than the record.
    • Lee was also 3rd Place in Shot Put
  • Benny Garcia shattered the state record in Javelin 11’ 3 ⅛” of 5 state records; the Tigers broke 3 of them.
  • Norman Kinder Placed 1st in Pole Vault with 10’-10.50”
  • Ed McAlpine, 2nd Place. in the state competition in Javelin behind Garcia.
  • Bobby Fritz, 3rd Place, Broad Jump
  • In the sprints in addition to the 1st Place wins of Bobby Lee, Oliver Lee, 4th Place 180 Low Hurdles.
  • The 880 Yard Relay Team consisting of Henderson, Fritz, O Lee and Bobby Lee placed with a 3rd place medal.
  •  Benny Garcia shattered the state record in Javelin 11’ 3 ⅛” of 5 state records; the Tigers broke 3 of them.
  • Norman Kinder, 1st Place, Pole Vault, 10’-10.50”

Coach Rolla Buck was incredibly pleased that year with his team having won both the state football title and the state track and field title. He said his boys; “overperformed and beat his expectations.”

 Coach Buck viewed Bobby Lee as “the best high school overall athlete the state of New Mexico had ever seen” to that point.

He also said that Garcia was the best Javelin player ever to come out of New Mexico’s high school system.

Two incredibly special athletes and their legacy is an honor to Alamogordo from that seasons track and field team of the early 1950s. Both athletes go down into the sports history of the United States, New Mexico and certainly of the Alamogordo community for their achievements.

Bobby Lee, after the amazing team results at Ysleta, (7 first place finishes out of 10 competitions) and winning the District Meet several athletes went to Albuquerque and competed at University Stadium in the State Competition. It was here that Bobby Lee set the state record on the 100 Yard Dash with a 9.8 which stood for 20 years and of course this strong team won Alamogordo’s first State Track and Field State Title.  

Bobby Lee also won the 220 Yard Dash and the Long Jump garnering enough points by himself to win the track meet for Alamogordo High School beating favored Highland High School which placed second.

In 1951 there was no class system in competitions, so all size schools and teams competed.

Bobby Lee kept his competitive spirit going as an adult and became a recognized political cartoonist and eventual New Mexico State Senator.

Coach Bob Sepulveda Alamogordo High Schools winningest Track and Field Coach in its 108 year history of the program  said of Bobby Lee; “Bobby Lee remained a strong supporter and advocate for the Alamogordo High School Track & Field Program as an adult. He attended many of the state meets. Bobby would come by and visit my student athletes in the 70’s and the 80’s for support of our team. He was a true leader on the field and as an adult for decades beyond.”

                                Also, of note from the 1951 competition was the amazing Javelin Talents of Benny Garcia with a distance of 193’-01.325.

The next year of 1952 brought Alamogordo High School Track & Field back to the winner’s circle with Benny Garcia winning for the second consecutive year in the Javelin competition.

  • Javelin Benny Garcia medalled with 186’-03.50”

Benny Garcia was an excellent Football kicker. He was on the B team. After some injuries and with the objection of his father concerned about him being injured, he became the primary starting kicker. Albert Romero sprained his ankle and Benny became the primary kicker after that. He had a reputation for making it between the goal posts when it mattered most.

Coach Buck saw Garcia’s talents and made concessions to ensure he was able to take part in the school athletic programs.

Benny would walk or run 6 miles home in the dark after practice to La Luz.

 At the request of Coach Rolla Buck, Superintendent Barnie arranged the use of a driver education vehicle for Benny to use so that he could take part in Sports.

The extra effort paid off for the High School and was life changing for Benny.

His real notoriety came from the Javelin throwing. He set the state record that stood from 1951 to 1966. That record got the attention of the Arizona State University Track and Field Coach that awarded him a full ride scholarship.

He is the only graduate of Alamogordo to make it to the Olympics taking part in the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. He was the first native-born New Mexico athlete to ever compete in the Olympics.

His name is displayed at the Tigers Hall of Fame, Arizona State Hall of Fame, Drake Relays Hall of Fame, and US Navy Hall of Fame.

At the 1956 Olympics he finished 8th place, disappointing Garcia but making his hometown exceptionally proud.

Garcia went on to live a phenomenally successful life as a high achieving Tiger Alumni and a respected businessman in Arizona.  He died in 2015.

Special Note on Alamogordo New Mexico:

Alamogordo High School and the region of Southern New Mexico has a rich history in sports and academic achievement. In the 1950’s and 60’s Alamogordo High School ranked in the top 10 High Schools for athletic and academic achievement in the United States. The region has a rich history in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It is home to the International Space Hall of Fame and is the testing ground for the latest in drone and military technology via Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Testing Grounds.

Today, Alamogordo is also the home to New Mexico State University, Alamogordo and is recognized for its pistachio farms, proximity to White Sands National Park and the Lincoln National Forest. As an oddity, Alamogordo is home to the largest Pistachio Sculpture in the World at the McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch just outside Alamogordo.

For photos and more visit https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/27497/1950s-alamogordo-high-schools-first-state-track-field-title-new-mexicos

For the complete sports history of the founding of interscholastic sports to its impact on a small town check out Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days 1912 to 1976 on Amazon and fine independent book sellers such as Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue Alamogord, New Mexico and fine independent book sellers nationwide. Coach Bob Sepulveda The Golden Years 1977 to 1995 coming soon.

A History Lesson for Southern New Mexico – The creation of Interscholastic (Organized High School Sports) in the US and New Mexico and Alamogordo High School 1916


https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/26908/history-alamogordo-high-1916-and-creation-interscholastic-high-school

How did High School Sports get started in the US, Southern New Mexico and Alamogordo and when?

Interscholastic Sports at the High School level via organized physical education programs did not begin in the US until around 1903 but had roots dating to the 1880s. Organized sports began with economically challenged or lower-class children competing under non-parental adult supervision, while their upper- class counterparts participated in non- competitive activities like dancing and music lessons, often in their homes. Children’s tournaments, especially athletic ones, came first to economically challenged children, most often immigrants living in large urban areas or the larger US cities.

Massachusetts was the first state to make schooling compulsory in 1852. It was not until 1917 that the final state of the union at the time, Mississippi, passed a similar law.

While on the east coast the focus was on social progress, education and organized school sports programs; the wild west was playing catch up.

New cities like Alamogordo, New Mexico founded 1898 were creating new opportunities for Americans and America’s youth. January 6, 1912, New Mexico was admitted into the United States union as the 47th state. With that our history of interscholastic High School Athletics Track & Field in Alamogordo soon begins. New Mexico, even while a territory, took a progressive view to public education and made public education compulsory in urban areas in 1891. It became compulsory everywhere by the time New Mexico became a state in 1912.

With the institution of mandatory schooling in New Mexico and in most states, children and families experienced a profound shift in the structure of their daily lives, especially in the social organization of their time. This change in social view resulted in thinking about how to challenge a child and occupy his day especially in urban areas.

The answer lay partly in competitive sports leagues, which started to evolve to hold the interest of children. Urban reformers were particularly preoccupied with poor low skilled economically and socially challenged immigrants who, because of overcrowding in tenements or inner cities, were often on the streets. Initial organization efforts focused on the establishment of city parks and playgrounds. Powerful, organized playground movements developed in New York City and Boston. But because adults did not trust boys, especially immigrant boys, to play unsupervised without significant issues, attention soon shifted to organized sports. Sports were important in teaching immigrants and those economically challenged and from rural areas; the “American values of cooperation, hard work, and respect for authority.”

According to historian Robert Halpern, “progressive reformers thought athletic activities could prepare children especially boys for the new industrial society that was emerging, which would require them to be physical laborers.” There was a distinct business interest in organized youth sports early on, to ensure a robust and healthy workforce for an economy changing from, rural based to urban based, in the decades to follow.

Organized youth groups backed by the influence of business interests took on the responsibility of providing children with sports activities. In 1903, New York City’s Public-School Athletic League for Boys was established by Luther Gulick, and formal contests between children, organized by adults, emerged to keep the boys coming back to school. Formal competition ensured the boys’ continued participation since they wanted to defend their school team’s record and honor. The purpose per the PSLA was to encourage a healthy, strong body and mind through competitive exercises.

The PSAL initially conducted “class athletics” in grades five through eight at specific times each year, not interschool competition as it is known today. Class athletics included seasonal track and field events. PSAL’s also emphasized swimming, popular sports of the times (baseball, football, basketball), and several minor games.

Concurrent with the activities on the east coast; the first recorded games involving High School, school sponsored teams in the Dallas Texas area occurred in 1900. St. Matthew’s grammar school of Dallas played the Wall School of Honey Grove, found in Fannin County just south of the Texas-Oklahoma border, on Oct. 12, 1900, as a prelude to the intercollegiate level Texas-Vanderbilt game the same day. Honey Grove won 5-0. The event was a milestone in Texas history: the first recorded interscholastic football game between two high-school teams.

The Wall school was founded in 1898 by Simon Venable Wall, who moved to Honey Grove from Franklin, Tenn. Accounts of the school’s history noted its football team frequently played two games a day and that it was not uncommon for the team to catch a train on weekends and play in area towns. Austin College, in nearby Sherman, was a frequent opponent for the Wall boys.

Until the formation of interscholastic programs and games such as the one in Dallas Texas, most American boys had played football in the haphazard way of boys the world over: ambling onto fields and into alleys for pickup games or challenging other loosely affiliated groups of students to a match. Cheating was rampant, and games looked more like brawls than organized contests.

By 1910, 17 other cities across the United States had formed their own competitive athletic leagues modeled after New York City’s PSAL. Physical education reformers in the high schools followed the colleges in taking over sports programs with the catchphrase “Athletics are educational.” Their reform was tied to the overall reform in American education and overall reform in American society during the Progressive Era.

The establishment of leagues and state associations by educators in the years after 1900 bringing about institutional control over interscholastic sports was neither seamless nor uniform across the nation nor the western region of the US to include Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

In most areas of the country, educator-sponsored high school leagues were formed in most big cities and in many rural areas, usually two ways, from whole cloth or by taking over existing student-run or joint student-faculty-run leagues. In many areas, especially rural areas like most of Texas and New Mexico there were few leagues, and only gradually did league formation spread nationwide.

Settlement houses and ethnic clubs soon followed suit. The number of these boys’ clubs grew rapidly through the 1920s, working in parallel with school leagues.

In 1914 the first organized events for school children were held and 2040 boys competed for the City Championships Track and Field held at Madison Square Gardens. Events at this event included standing long jump, chinning the bar, running sprints, disc throwing, relays and hurdles. (Today competing at Madison Square Garden in Track & Field is considered hallowed grounds by many a Track & Field athlete.) By 1915 177 school systems around the country had formed competitive leagues.

By 1916, the United States was starting to educate its children for more years than most other countries, even while admitting a surge of immigrants. The ruling elite feared that all this schooling would make Anglo-Saxon boys soft and weak, in contrast to their brawny, newly immigrated peers. Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. warned that cities were being overrun with “stiff-jointed, soft-muscled, paste-complexioned youth.”

Sports, the thinking went, would both protect boys’ masculinity and distract them from vices like gambling and prostitution. “Muscular Christianity,” fashionable during the Victorian era, prescribed sports as a sort of moral vaccine against the tumult of rapid economic growth. “In life, as in a football game,” Theodore Roosevelt wrote in an essay on “The American Boy” in 1900, “the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard; don’t foul and don’t shirk, but hit the line hard!”

Athletics succeeded in entertaining not just students, but entire communities and local school teams became a sense of pride. As athletic fields became the cultural centers of towns across America, educators became coaches and parents became boosters. Organized sports allowed small towns to compete against large cities in Track & Field, Football and Basketball putting small town schools on the map so to speak with large reputations of athletic excellence.

As the organized school sports programs evolved so did organized fee-based clubs which were more exclusive and not for the poor. Fee-based groups, such as the YMCA, began, but usually only middle-class kids could afford to take part. National pay-to-play organizations, such as Pop Warner Football came into being in 1929.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association had appeared by this time, as a means of reforming the increasingly brutal sport of college football. As the NCAA appeared it began collaboration efforts and recruiting efforts from High Schools for its track & field, football and basketball programs around the country. This partnership ultimately led to scholarship programs and further engrained organized high school sports into the American Experience.

In New Mexico and specifically Alamogordo, following the lead of the nationwide reform of governance in interscholastic sports with the imposition of adult-sponsored leagues and state associations students acquiesced to the new faculty control and passively accepted the new order of things. In many areas, however, educators faced persistent student resistance, stiffened by rebellious high school

Greek-letter societies and continued abuses in the decade leading up to World War I. In Chicago student resistance to control and reform was especially acute.

New Mexico, towns such as Alamogordo and the western states; less resistance existed, as the school systems were newer institutions and did not have the history or mindset of those on the east coast. Progressive politics towards education and athletics prevailed without institutional histories, politics and interests fighting for dominance.

Alamogordo, New Mexico An Early Interscholastic Sport Program Adoptee

Alamogordo High School began an organized sports program in 1912 for Caucasian boys offering PE, Track & Field and Basketball and Football.

In 1913, the authorities of the University of New Mexico believing that one of the great needs of the High Schools of the state was an opportunity to meet, at least once a year in athletic and other contests, organized the University of New Mexico Track Athletic Association. A track meet was held in the spring of that year at Albuquerque, and two high schools, Santa Fe and Albuquerque contested for the banner.

Although the beginning was small, a great deal of interest from across the state was aroused.

Alamogordo High School won its first state medals in 1916/17 School Year and they were in Track and Field via the High Jump and the Triple Jump.

Excerpt from Coach Robert Sepulveda The Early Days Book 1 – part of a 3 part book series on Alamogordo Athletics and its history. Available at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico or on Amazon. 

More historical stories from 1916 and more early history of Alamogordo High will appear in future stores.

To keep the historical sports archives of Alamogordo alive, support local small businesses and  join us as an independent source for positive News and History from Southern New Mexico. Sign up for our Daily News Brief and our blog or advertise with us. To learn more visit

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/26908/history-alamogordo-high-1916-and-creation-interscholastic-high-school

Photo is of Alamogordo High School 1917

ALAMOGORDO HIGH SCHOOL – ALAMOGORDO, NEW MEXICO In 1917, the architectural firm of Trost & Trost was awarded the contract for the Alamogordo High School. The plans called for the school to be constructed of brick and stone, 90 x 104 feet. The two-story building was to have 13 classrooms and an auditorium. The cost was estimated at $50,000.

The school was completed in 1919 and located on Tenth street (between Michigan and Indiana St.) 

In 1942, the Alamogordo Army Air Field was built 10 miles west of town. The addition of the base caused school enrollment to climb steadily over the next several years. New school buildings were being erected to keep up with the enrollment of new students. The Alamogordo Army Air Field eventually became Holloman Air Force Base and test development center for many government contracts.

In 1970, George Stith and Tom Macklin presented a petition bearing more that 200 names of residents to the Alamogordo City Commission. The petition asked that a study be made on the feasibility of refurbishing the old Alamogordo High School building on Tenth Street and putting it to use as a civic auditorium. The old Alamogordo High School was demolished sometime between 1973 to 1975.

STAY CONNECTED! SUBSCRIBE TO FREE EMAIL UPDATE

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news