Las Vegas, N.M – Two hard-working Highlands University women athletes received Cowgirl Way scholarships.
Christina Mbadie, a hammer thrower for the track and field team, and Arianna Baca, a forward for the basketball team, both received $500 scholarships from Southwest Capital Bank.
Mbadie is a senior business major from Cameroon who maintains a 3.9 GPA and Baca is a junior business major from Albuquerque, New Mexico, who maintains a 3.48 GPA.
“One of the biggest goals for Southwest Capital is to actually stand behind women and help them advance their education,” said Sharon García, market president for Southwest Capital. “We want to open up opportunities for these inspirational scholar athletes at Highlands to reach their dreams.”
In September, García became the first female market president for Southwest Capital Bank.
In 2010, Southwest Capital Bank embraced a partnership with the Highlands University Foundation for Cowgirl Way, endowing a $100,000 scholarship program for women athletes who exemplify high academic standards, grit, determination, courage and strong ethics.
On Oct. 18, the Highlands Foundation held its ninth annual Cowgirl Way luncheon to honor Mbadie, Baca and all women athletes from the university.
“Women athletes at Highlands, you continue to break down barriers for those who follow your lead,” said Highlands President Sam Minner. “I congratulate you and say well done. You play to compete and win, of course, but you also play for many other reasons. You play to test your mettle. You play not just for glory or fame, but for the sheer joy of competition. Thank you for representing Highlands so well in the classroom and your sport.”
Highlands University coaches recommended a pool of athletes for the Cowgirl Way scholarship.
Bob DeVries, head outdoor and indoor track and field coach, said MBadie started her track career at Highlands in 2015 with absolutely no experience in the hammer throw.
“Christina is not only about to graduate with a 3.9 GPA, she has also qualified for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships in the hammer throw – one of the most demanding and technical events in track and field,” DeVries said. “Christina shows perseverance, determination and doing the hard work in the Cowgirl Way. She also deserves special recognition in ethics. She received an award at the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Business in 2016 after leading a group of Highlands students in a statewide ethics competition. Christina exemplifies academic success and the courage to take on a new task.”
Joseph Anders, head women’s basketball coach, said Baca is a leader on an off the court who is a cornerstone of the team’s program.
“Arianna earned a starting position as a freshman and has improved her skill set by outworking others day after day,” Anders said. “She has played through pain and sacrificed for her teammates because she loves them more than she loves herself. Last season she was selected Honorable Mention All-Conference. Ari started 23 of 25 games and averaged 11.6 points per game and five rebounds. Her high-point game was 27 points scored against Westminster College. Arianna is a student who has always challenged herself and truly understands what it takes to excel in the classroom and on the court.”