Just before Christmas, Moriarty High School brought some good tidings to the end of 2020 with its first-ever Athletic Hall of Fame virtual induction ceremony.

Four outstanding former athletes, Michael A. Ortiz, Art Tapia, Jeanne Marie Schaefer, and Jennelle Spradley-Barnes, were inducted into the Moriarty Athletic Hall of Fame as the Class of 2020 during a virtual ceremony on Dec. 17.

The ceremony was held virtually due to the state’s ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. It was hosted from Moriarty’s main gym by the school’s principal Rob Adams and athletic director Joe Anaya and streamed live on Facebook.

Adams and Anaya, who were instrumental in creating the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018, decided to hold the ceremony virtually rather than cancel or postpone the event until a later date.

“Now that we’ve got this thing going, we didn’t want to stop the induction class,” Anaya said.

“We wanted to continue the sequence of years even though [the inductees] couldn’t make it in person,” Adams said. “We felt it was important to keep the tradition going through the pandemic.”

The newest inductees exemplify the cream of the crop of Moriarty’s standout athletes of the past.

Tapia, who graduated in 1982, earned a varsity letter in three sports each year of high school and was a major part of Moriarty’s 1981 state championship football team. He earned First-Team All-State honors as a running back and as a defensive back; he was also named the 1981 AAA UPI Running Back of the Year. Additionally, Tapia was on Moriarty’s 1982 boys basketball state championship team and was a member of the 1981 state champion boys 1600-meter medley team.

Schaefer, a 1985 graduate, earned varsity letters all four years in volleyball, basketball, and track. She was All-District and All-State in basketball and volleyball and was selected to the North team in the 1985 North/South All-Star volleyball game. In track, Schaefer was the 1982 state champion in the long jump, the 100m dash, and the 800m relay team and broke state records several events. She earned the High Point All-Around Athlete award at the 1982 state championship track meet. Schaefer also set Moriarty High School records in the 100m dash (1983); 200m dash (1982); 400m dash (1984); long jump (1982); 300 intermediate hurdles (1984); 400m relay (1982); 800m medley relay (1984). Schaefer received the 1984-1985 Presidential Academic Fitness Award.

Spradley-Barnes, who graduated in 2005, played volleyball, basketball, and ran track. She earned First-Team All-State honors in volleyball in 2004. In basketball, she was district player of the year in 2004 and 2005 and earned First-Team All-State honors three consecutive seasons from 2003-2005. Spradley-Barnes was recognized three consecutive years for being among the top in the state in scoring, rebounding, and assists, and received the 2005 State Farm Albuquerque Basketball Female Player of the Year Award. She was also named captain of the North team in the 2005 North/South All-Star girls basketball game. Spradley-Barnes earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of New Mexico in 2009, graduating Magna Cum Laude.

Ortiz, who graduated in 1975, lettered in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He was district champion in the high jump, high hurdles, low hurdles, and the 400m and 800m relay teams. He was a member of both the 1975 district champion track team and the state runner-up track team. Ortiz also participated in cross country and track at Eastern New Mexico University. After college, he returned to Moriarty as a teacher, a middle school and high school coach, and served as Moriarty’s athletic director from 1998-2005.

“People still talk about these athletes,” Anaya said about the inductees. “You hear from other coaches and the community how good they were—these guys were no-brainers.”

They are four of the best athletes in several different sports that have ever come through Moriarty High School,” Adams said, adding that since its inception, the goal has been to make Moriarty’s Hall of Fame a true hall of fame—recognizing people who were superior athletes in high school as well as for what they did after high school.

“They’re all great people, some of them still live in the community—people who represented us when they were here, and they’ve moved on and continued success in their lives as well.”

Adams noted that Jacki Bailey, Linda Apodaca, and Jana Baguskis all helped put last month’s virtual induction ceremony together.