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.