FARMINGTON — The Farmington High School Athletics and Activities Hall of Fame hasn't had a new inductee since 2009.
That comes to an end this year, when a class of Scorpions will be added to the wall inside the Scorpion Gymnasium.
During a ceremony May 24 at Farmington High School, the Scorps will induct eight new members into the hall of fame.
Among the inductees are former student athletes Neil Merrion, Autumn Anderson, Jeff Clark and Mike Colerick. Three teams and their coaches — Marv Sanders and the 1986 basketball team, Roy Johnson and the 1992 wrestling team and Gary Graham and the 1997 softball team — will also join the hall of fame. Also being recognized is longtime Farmington High athletics contributor Emma Weaver.
“We have a lot of folks who are worthy of being in the hall of fame who need to be honored. It just happened to be this year that we were able to get a committee together,” said Richard Wallace, chairman of the school's hall of fame. “It will be a great night. There are some great Scorpion folks going up on the wall.”
Marv Sanders, after whom the annual Farmington boys' basketball invitational is named, will make the trip from Ruidoso to be recognized.
Sanders coached basketball at FHS from 1980 to 2003 and held a record of 351-129. He also led teams to win the 1982 and 1986 state championships.
“It means a great deal to me because Farmington is like home,” Sanders said of being inducted. “I lived there longer than any other place I ever lived. Growing up in Indiana, I only lived there about 17 years. I was at Farmington for 23 years, and it is home to me.”
Sanders called the 1986 team, which defeated Cibola 70-52 for the state title, a group of mature boys with immense experience and talent.
“They had speed, shooting, rebounding and depth. Their signature was the man-press defense. That is what helped them accomplish their goals of winning state,” Sanders said. “No team in New Mexico ever beat them. A team from Phoenix and a team from Utah were the only two losses they had in that 24-2 season.”
Roy Johnson, who will also join this year's hall of fame, has been involved with championship winning Scorpion teams in a variety of sports.
He coached the Scorps' wrestling team from 1988 to 2002 and led the team to state titles in 1992, 1993 and 2001. In dual-meets, Johnson had a career record of 441-83.
Johnson called the 1992 team a group of overachievers who have gone on to accomplish even more off the mats.
“That team really wasn't ranked No. 1 in the state. We came in No. 3 and went into the tournament and just gelled at the right time,” Johnson said. “Kids were placing we didn't even think would place and everyone got on a roll. That was back when it was only 13 weight classes, and we only took 12 kids. We didn't have a heavyweight that year because he had gotten hurt, so we didn't get any points there. The 12 kids we had, I am very proud of them. Six of them are college graduates and went on to be successful. One went on to be a doctor, and two or three more of them started their own businesses. They have all been great members of the community here in Farmington.”
Johnson also helped coach softball for several years for Farmington High. He recalls coaching hall of fame inductee Autumn Anderson, who pitched for the Lady Scorpions until she graduated in 1995.
Anderson pitched two years for Eastern Arizona College before signing on with Mississippi State University from 1997 to 1999.
“She was a great kid and pitched for me from the time she was a little girl until she went to college. We won state with her,” Johnson said. “She is probably as good of a pitcher as we have had at Farmington.”
Hall of fame inductee Gary Graham was an assistant coach alongside Johnson until he eventually took over as head coach of the Lady Scorpion softball team in 1997. When he finished coaching Farmington High in 2004, he held a record of 177-21.
During that time, Graham won six state championships in the 4A classification. That string of state titles started with the 1997 team, which went 24-1.
“Darin Weight, Roy Johnson and myself all helped my brother coach softball before I took over as head coach. When I took over, we all worked real hard and put in tons of time. It went all year long,” Graham said. “It feels really good to be nominated for the hall of fame after all of the work that went into it.”
Graham also was an assistant coach on the girls' basketball team that won a state championship in 1979, as well as the baseball teams that won state in 1982 and 1984.
During his time as a student-athlete at Farmington High, Graham was part of two state championship winning baseball teams in 1969 and 1970.
In 1969, he played on the same baseball team as this year's hall of fame inductee Mike Colerick. Colerick, who died earlier this year on Feb. 12, helped lead the Scorpions to their first-ever state baseball championship during that 1969 season. He played at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colo., from 1970 to 1971.
Also scheduled to be added to the hall of fame is Neil Merrion, who graduated from Farmington High in 1982, the same year he delivered a boys' gymnastics all-around title to the Scorpions.
Merrion went on to compete for the University of New Mexico, eventually winning a Western Athletic Conference all-around title and the 1985 Rocky Mountain Open all-around and horizontal bar championships.
“I am super excited to be inducted into the hall of fame. I am way honored,” he said. “I walk by that wall at Farmington High all the time and read those names. It is a big honor to be recognized in the same category.”
Merrion has been heavily involved with Scorpion athletics since graduating and has seen two daughters, Hannah and Molly, win state championships in tennis.
“To me, there is no better entertainment that going to a high school sports game. I am a huge FHS fan and go to all the games I can,” he said. “I am super excited for my daughters and to watch them excel in their sports for FHS as well.”
On the evening of the hall of fame induction, Jeff Clark will be recognized for his accomplishments on the tennis court. Clark was crowned the New Mexico singles champion in 1990 during his senior year. He went on to play for Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and was named his college team's captain in his junior and senior seasons.
Also being honored is Emma Weaver, who has been a recognizable face at nearly every Scorpions sporting event since 1982.
Weaver began working at Tibbetts Middle School in 1973. The library has since been named in her honor. Weaver began keeping score books for volleyball and basketball and eventually fell in love with the position.
“I just like it. I like the sports and I enjoy the kids,” Weaver said.
John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.