Primero High School boys basketball

The Primero High School boys basketball team recently flexed its muscle in its first home game at the Primero Veterans Memorial Gymnasium, defeating Manzanola 79-65. Shooting is No. 21 Michael Damelio, with No. 24 Antonio Cordova and No. 33 Lance Peters looking on.

Primero’s first-year Athletic Director Jose Esquivias is a man of action — and he is turning one of his key goals for this year, building developmental ‘feeder’ athletic programs, into a reality. Under his leadership, Primero students can now participate in basketball, K-12.

“The driving force behind our expanded basketball programming comes from our community interest in youth development,” said Esquivias. “We are fortunate to have parents, staff, and students who want to represent the Primero community on multiple levels.”

“We have always offered middle and high school sports, but now we offer elementary sports as well. We have teams for grades K-2 and 3-4 registered in the City of Trinidad Community Center Recreation League, with a team for grades 5-6 starting in January,” said Esquivias.  

“Our 21st Century grant is an instrumental piece to conducting our K-12 programming. In addition to the extra training available to all of our students, our basketball participants have access to basketballs, nutritious snacks, and a ‘Late Bus’ after school from Primero that benefits our students who live in Trinidad.”

The Primero middle school basketball program has also blossomed this year. “The middle school boys have 16 players, and the middle school girls have 19. To ensure all our students are engaged and have lots of playing time, we have greatly increased the number of games scheduled for the season,” said Esquivias.

“The junior high school teams have 17-18 games scheduled this year, with multiple games slated against local schools like Aguilar, Gardner, Raton, and La Veta,” said Principal Blake Byall. “We only got in five games last year for the middle school boys and six for the girls; so we are looking at a threefold increase this year.”

“Long story short — there is a lot of basketball at Primero,” said Esquivias. “We have already hosted an eight team middle school tournament, and we will host another in January for both boys and girls.”  

“The growth of our middle school program is a clear indicator that our students are proud to be at Primero, and that our programs add meaning to their lives. We have an army of coaches that are helping out; four coaches for our two middle school teams, and five coaches for our two youth teams.”

“Our high school boys team has eleven players, and they are also maxed out of games, with nineteen on the schedule” said Esquivias. “The boys are excited for the opportunity to extend this into a championship.”

Esquvias believes that a strong athletic program, hand-in-hand with rigorous academics, will offer opportunities for all aspects of character development in Primero’s student body. “Our programs increase the confidence in our students. Along with helping our student body realize they are special, unique, and skillful, our coaches are ensuring a positive environment that produces productive and helpful citizens. Students in our programs are learning about team cohesion, communication, and leadership.”

“There is a direct connection between students’ involvement in our after school program and their academic performance,” said Esquivias. “Also, the U.S. government has linked participation in afterschool programs with reduced drug use, good dietary habits, and increased positive behavior.”  

And ultimately, what benefits Primero and its student body benefits the entire community. “These expanded sports opportunities give the community teams they can be proud of, not only per athletic performance, but also in all aspects of life. Our students are being taught to help others and get better,” said Esquivias. “Our community will be proud of our academics, behaviors, health, and the positive citizens our students are becoming.”

Primero varsity basketball roster

1    Josiah Martinez    So.

5    Connor Lutz        Sr.

11    Andrew Lutz         Sr.

12    Glenn Cournoyer     Fr.

15    Cody Saint        Jr.

21    Michael Damelio    So.

23    Max Ziel        Jr.

24    Antonio Cordova    Jr.

33    Lance Peters        Jr.

35    Dalton Truijillo     Jr.

50    Jonathon Rivera    So.

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