Moriarty High senior Tyler Ortiz didn’t know he’d been awarded a scholarship from the New Mexico Activities Association until the school’s athletic director told him last month.

“I didn’t know anything about it—I didn’t even know that I was nominated,” Ortiz said by phone this week.

Ortiz is one of five high school student-athletes in the state who was awarded the NMAA Foundation’s 2020 “Compete with Class” Sportsmanship scholarship. The amount of the scholarship Ortiz was awarded is $1,000.

“I was super excited when I found out,” he said. “It’s super expensive for college so it’ll definitely help out.”

Ortiz has been a three-sport athlete who played football and basketball and participated in track.

“I was excited for track this year,” he said. “We went to one track meet and then it ended, sadly.”

The NMAA had planned on holding a ceremony to recognize the scholarship recipients during the state basketball championships last month, but that was cancelled when fans were barred from the games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Joe Anaya, Moriarty High School’s athletic director, called Ortiz into his office before classes were canceled and told him he’d been awarded the scholarship.

“They did mail me a really nice plaque and I have it hanging in my room,” Ortiz said.

The NMAA Foundation awarded a total of $22,000 through 18 scholarships in nine different categories for the 2019-20 school year. More than 150 student-athletes from around the state were nominated or submitted applications.

The “Compete with Class” Sportsmanship scholarship is given to students that exemplify the ideals of sportsmanship and the “Compete with Class” initiative, according to the NMAA’s website.

Anaya said he and some of Moriarty’s coaches nominated Ortiz because he has a great attitude with his teammates, his coaches, and the referees.

“He competes as hard as he can and always does it first class, he’s a great kid,” Anaya said of Ortiz, adding, “I think it’s one of the first times since I’ve been here that one of our kids has won this.”

Ortiz plans on attending CNM in the fall and hopes to eventually transfer to either the University of New Mexico or New Mexico Tech to pursue a PhD in aerospace engineering.