Farmington’s Tierney Staley wrestles Piedra Vista’s Nick Varley during a match in February at Scorpion Gym in Farmington.
Farmington's Tierney Staley wrestles Piedra Vista's Nick Varley during a match in February at Scorpion Gym in Farmington. (Daily Times file photo)

FARMINGTON — Wherever Farmington High's Tierney Staley went during the 2013-2014 athletic year success followed.

The Scorpion senior pulled off a rare trifecta of titles, winning state championships in football, wrestling and track and field.

His contributions to a variety of sports during all three seasons earned him The Daily Times "Male Athlete of the Year."

"It was a joke with one of the track coaches. I was like 'hey, I could win three state titles next year,'" Staley said. "We'd both just laugh it off. It was just funny to even think about."

The most unlikely title came first for Staley as he played a major role in an FHS victory over Goddard that earned the Scorpions the 4A football state title in December.

Staley came up with two of the Scorps four interceptions in the 7-0 victory against a Rockets team that entered the contest averaging 34 points per game.

"It was just a lot of fun. Goddard was a big test, but we just focused on us," he said.

FHS head football coach Gary Bradley said Staley was instrumental to the success of the Scorpions' defense, which held opponents to less than seven points per game.

"His overall attitude was awesome. He's a good young man who doesn't take life too serious," Bradley said. "He knows how to compete. He's not blessed with a great amount of athletic talent, but his work ethic sets him apart."

Bradley and FHS defensive coordinator Jeff Dalton both said it came as a surprise when Staley was left off the all-state linebacker list.

Staley had moved from his defensive back position to the linebacker spot at the start of the year.

"We were always trying to find a place for him. We didn't know where to put him, but he had to be out there. I think that may have hurt him, especially when he's lining up next to a guy like Brian Farley who had been in that spot for a couple of years," said Dalton, who also serves as the FHS head track and field coach. "People were just finding out his name."

Farmington’s Tierney Staley (5) tackles a Goddard player during the Class 4A state football championship in December at Hutchison Stadium in
Farmington's Tierney Staley (5) tackles a Goddard player during the Class 4A state football championship in December at Hutchison Stadium in Farmington. (Daily Times file photo)

Bradley said Staley's position change at the start of the season was indicative of the sacrifice his players made all season leading up to the championship.

"He probably would have rather been at defensive back, but he's willing to do whatever it takes to make the team better," Bradley said. "I'm lucky to coach a kid like that and he'll be mentioned in my future stories to teams forever."

Staley followed up the football season by winning the title he desired the most. He emergedvictorious in the 182-pound weight class to claim his first individual wrestling title.

"I remember seeing the names on the wall and thinking how cool it would be to be up there," he said as he looked up at the wall in the FHS wrestling room that featured all the past Scorpion champions. "It was fun to end it that way."

Staley entered the 182-pound bracket as the No. 2 seed, but was able to defeat No. 1 seed Michael Marez of Grants 13-5 in the final.

The FHS wrestling team was inexperienced in 2014 with only Staley and Cesar Haro qualifying for state as seniors.

Head wrestling coach Jesus Mendoza said the younger wrestlers learned a lot about becoming a champion from seeing how Staley conducted himself throughout the season.

"He was a very important part of the team. He leads by example and is highly motivated," Mendoza said. "His key is he is just himself. He does his thing and he has fun with it. I think they looked at him and knowing he sets the bar for them. He's just an overall good person. He's sincere and caring and that's his nature. I'm going to miss having him in the room."

Staley's wrestling career took a major hit in his sophomore year, when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament during a match.

"I was wrestling out in Aztec and a kid hit a move wrong and my knee just went out," he said.

Staley, who has wrestled since he was three years old, said his goal coming into high school was to become the second FHS wrestler to win three state titles when the knee injury derailed that dream.

"I always wanted to win three like Jackie Thornton," he said. "At that point, I knew I was never going to win three state titles. That was my thing and it was ripped out from under me."

It took more than a year before his knee was back to full strength.

"It was a big rehab process and I'm glad God blessed me with the perseverance to get through it," Staley said.

With two state titles in the bag, Staley wanted to find a way to help out the Scorps track team. It entered the season as a favorite for the 4A championship.

"At that point, I was just worried about competing. I just wanted to do the most for my team," he said. "I knew the team was going to do something special, and I just wanted to be a part of it."

It took until the District 1-4A meet on May 10, a week before state, for Staley to qualify in discus and javelin.

Staley ended up with a third-place finish in the javelin event at the state meet contributing four points to the FHS title winning tally of 64.

"It was just on his competitive nature alone that he got us points," Dalton said.

Staley said he couldn't have imagined a better way to close out his high school career.

"I'll just remember that it's never too late to make your mark," he said. "It was a lot of fun and that's what I wanted coming into the year."

Joshua Perry covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and jperry@daily-times.com. Follow him @jperrysuu on Twitter.