FARMINGTON – The 2010s were a glorious time for San Juan County’s sports scene, not only by snapping long title droughts, but also in winning multiple blue trophies.
There are so many worth noting, and weeding out the top 10 overall stories was a difficult process.
Although this is not the top 10 overall list, which has been selected based on the enormity of that individual story, the following are honorable mentions (in no particular order) worthy of great recognition:
Farmington pole vaulter Kiara Quezada wins three straight state titles
Quezada launched her three-peat in 2017 with a distance of 9 feet, 9 inches, followed up by a then-Class 5A record 11-7 in 2018.
But after she broke her own 5A record at 12-0 back in April, which she repeated at the 2019 5A state track and field championships, she quickly set her sights on the all-time record of 12-5 while at state.
On the third of her three attempts at it, Quezada was within millimeters of pulling it off. However, she barely clipped the bar after she ascended up and it counted against her.
Quezada said moments after that she twisted the pole and it bent the wrong way as she went up.
She's determined to become the new all-time record holder to start off the new decade.
Kirtland girls basketball opens and closes the decade strong
The Lady Broncos won the blue trophy in 2010 and 2012, and they were the state runner-up in 2019.
KC topped Shiprock 71-52 back in the 2010 state title game, capping off a strong season on defense. Kirtland gave up just 37.9 points a game that season.
Kirtland again relied on defense to hoist the blue trophy in 2012, beating Roswell 42-41.
Despite the slight uptick giving up 41.7 points a game that season, KC gave up just 42.8 points a game during the playoffs.
This past spring, Kirtland returned the state finals under coach and KC boys basketball alumnus Devon Manning. He returned to a state title game for the first time since 2003, when he won the third of his three state titles as a player.
Although Kirtland lost 49-43 to Los Lunas, which secured its fourth state title in seven years, KC made it to the finals after quickly acclimating to Manning's offense, which stresses high-percentage shooting and smart ball movement.
Bloomfield baseball wins first-ever state title
The Bobcats won it all in 2010, hammering St. Michael's 11-1 in the finals.
The bats ignited down the stretch that year, as BHS won nine of its final 10 games and scored 11-plus runs in eight of those games.
FHS baseball, Aztec softball snap title droughts
Farmington won a state baseball title in 2018, its first blue trophy in 10 years. Aztec won a state softball title in 2017, ending a 12-year championship drought.
As 2018 progressed, Farmington's hitters kept attacking the lower half of the strike zone. FHS scored 127 runs during district play, and the Scorpions kept generating big hits during the playoffs.
The Lady Tigers' defense was lights out as 2017 went on, shutting out opponents in 10 of their final 14 games. That late surge included shutout playoff wins over Alamogordo and Bloomfield.
Aztec's offense scored 359 total runs, and pitcher Paige Adair was dominant all year, going 18-2 with a 0.91 earned run average and 192 strikeouts.
FHS boys soccer wins 2011 state title
The Scorpions took down New Mexico soccer powers Albuquerque Academy and St. Pius to reach the big stage.
Farmington then shut out Belen 2-0 to secure the blue trophy.
FHS also took home the state runner-up trophy in 2012.
Bloomfield football makes back-to-back state finals appearances
The Bobcats started building something special as the 2018 playoffs neared, something that eventually carried over to 2019 and put them in the state title conversations: a speedy and relentless defense, front to back.
Bloomfield, which gave up just 15.1 points a game the last two years combined, applied constant pressure attacking the pocket in multi-blitz packages, and it forced multiple turnovers.
Defenders came from everywhere: off the edge, from the back side, through the A gaps, spacing out and pinching in while in coverage, attacking point blank.
Although the offense didn’t start trending upward until 2019, Bloomfield was still primed to contend for a blue trophy because of its defense.
Although Bloomfield missed out on the coveted prize in back-to-back years, falling 14-7 at Taos in the 2018 finals and 23-0 at home to Portales in the 2019 finals, the thought of contending for a title was a serious, real talking point.
The defense was loaded, featuring defensive linemen Jeremy Burnham and Brodie Utley, All-State linebackers Kenyon Mosley and JT Seitzinger, plus All-State defensive backs Raymundo Alcantar and Bryce Perez.
Angelo Atencio, a 2018 first-team All-State linebacker, was also part of the journey in his final year at BHS. Linebacker Josh Maestas was also part of the 2018 squad.
And let’s not forget the man who spearheaded the whole operation these last two years: coach Bob Allcorn, a 1982 Bloomfield football graduate.
Allcorn’s already compiled a 46-23 record in six seasons at BHS, including a 21-6 mark the last two years.
Bloomfield girls basketball reaches 2018 state finals
The Lady Bobcats, back in their first state finals since 1984, had a talented mix of athletic bigs and sharp-shooting guards who could do damage with well-timed shots and in transition.
As the 2018 playoffs neared, BHS became more proactive looking for that extra shot, looking for that extra pass to ensure an even better shot.
Bloomfield also instilled plenty of half-court traps on defense, especially on the baselines. That allowed them to set up transition scoring chances sooner and easier.
BHS gave eventual state champion Los Lunas a tough fight because of it, but Bloomfield’s shot didn’t fall in the final couple minutes of regulation.
Even so, it had been 34 long years since the Lady Bobcats were one of two teams left in the end.
The top 10 San Juan County sports stories of the decade will be unveiled over 10 days, starting with Sunday’s edition of the Daily Times.
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.