Mesa Vista High School’s Frankie Ortiz, who had a decorated career as a runner for the Trojans, will sprint his way to Hobbs to compete in track and field and cross country for the University of the Southwest.
He capped off his high school career by winning the 100-meter dash in the Class 1A-3A track and field state championships in May — adding to his list of accomplishments, which includes the 2017 1A-3A state track and field High Point Athlete Award and 400-meter state champion, also in 2017.
As a competitor on the cross country team, he helped the Trojans win back-to-back state championships in 2015 and 2016.
“Sports in high school was great and all, but bigger things are coming in college,” Ortiz said. “Count on it.”
The always confident Ortiz rarely doesn’t show his emotion. Just like in his victory in the 100 at state this year, when he raised his arm in celebration several paces before the finish line.
As Ortiz suggested, his running days are long from over.
“I will be attending the University of the Southwest,” he said. “I plan to pursue a degree in pre-med or biology. I chose this school because it has all the degree choices I am considering and I will be running cross country and track and field.”
Ortiz will head to Hobbs and will be coached in both sports by Jessica Becker, who is entering her second year as head coach of the two Mustang programs.
“I really like his stride and work ethic,” Becker said about Ortiz. “I’m not so concerned about times when I recruit. I look for hard workers and he seems to be an extremely hard worker. He’ll fit in just fine.”
Still, Ortiz said the only thing he would have changed about his high school career was how hard he worked.
“I should have worked a little harder,” he said. “I am an emotional guy. I have a lot of empathy for people and I care a lot about my reputation as a runner, but as a person, I try to be myself and enjoy life. Philosophies that I will always stand by is, ‘Never rush anything.’ I do not like to stress out and let anxiety control me. I would rather see what is growing in my life and find out with patience than to dig out the roots and force something.”
As a child, Ortiz grew up in a separated family, but said the distance between his parents was never an issue in raising him.
“Both of my parents always tried their best to show love, compassion and discipline,” he said. “For that, I am forever grateful because it made me the guy I am today.”
Ortiz’s athletic ability stems back to his days as a child, where much of his time was spent playing football and running, which he said was a way to “blow off steam and get rid of my energy.”
Idols he looked up to included track and field greats, Michael Johnson and Carl Lewis.
“Michael Johnson really cracked the code for running,” Ortiz said. “He knew the exact way to run to be successful. Carl Lewis was amazing in terms of being an all-around sprinter and jumper.”
Ortiz said his favorite moments were stepping up onto the podium at state to receive his medals in track and field, but what he will miss most is the faces he’s crossed paths with during his career.
“I’ll miss the family and friends you make through all of it,” he said. “But, athletics have taught me to never dwell and stress about the past.”