Track and Soccer Athletes Receive Cowgirl Way Scholarships


Joedy Quintana and Andrea Medina

Las Vegas, N.M – Two hard-working Highlands University women athletes received Cowgirl Way scholarships.

Joedy Quintana, a 400-meter hurdler for the track team, and Andrea Medina, a defender for the soccer team, both received $500 scholarships from Southwest Capital Bank.

Quintana is a junior from Sapello, New Mexico, majoring in biology. She maintains a 3.0 GPA. Medina is a junior from Albuquerque, New Mexico, majoring in forestry. She maintains a 3.7 GPA.

“Highlands University women athletes personify everything good that is going on in American universities, and I have a great deal of respect for your accomplishments,” said Mike Melton, regional president of Southwest Capital Bank and a Highlands alumnus. “You’re disciplined, dedicated and hard-working, making sacrifices every day to succeed. Investing in you is also investing in the community, and our bank is thrilled to honor your achievement.”

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.

The Highlands Foundation’s Cowgirl Way luncheon on Sept. 14. honored Quintana and Medina.

“Women athletes at Highlands, you have forged your own path in life and athletics, continuing to break down barriers for those who follow your lead,” said Highlands President Sam Minner. “Every day you test your mettle, showing that like all student athletes, you play at a high level, you play with joy, and you play hard to compete and win. Thank you for wearing the purple and white to represent Highlands through your sports and in the classroom.”

Minner said athletics consistently provides college athletes with some of the most meaningful experiences in college, calling sports participation a powerful glue that forges an enduring bond to teammates and the university.

Highlands University coaches recommended a pool of athletes for the Cowgirl Way scholarship.

“Joedy graduated from West Las Vegas High, where she excelled at varsity track, basketball and golf,” said Bob DeVries, head track and field coach. “Joedy’s strong sense of dedication to her team was vividly displayed this spring when we needed a 400-meter hurdler for the RMAC Championship. Joedy stepped up, offering to learn the event from the ground up. When an ankle injury just a couple of weeks before the conference meet threatened to derail months of determined preparation, Joedy refused to give up. In the true Cowgirl way, she found a way to stay fit, positive, and focused. Although she narrowly missed making the championship final, Joedy never felt sorry for herself. Instead she stayed ready, even volunteering to run on the 4 by 400 relay if her team needed her.”

DeVries said the Cowgirl track program has been fortunate to have several Cowgirl Way scholarship recipients, and he puts Quintana among the best of them.

Quintana volunteers in the Las Vegas Senior Center kitchen at Thanksgiving and other times, works with youth sports in Las Vegas, and helped the Highlands Foundation with its 5K run.

Head soccer coach Oscar Mendoza said Andrea “Anna” Medina has an excellent work ethic on the field of play and the classroom.

“Apart from being an outstanding student athlete, Andrea is a true ambassador of Highlands and of our soccer program,” Mendoza said. “After suffering a season-ending knee injury last fall that required major surgery, she was at every practice and game supporting her teammates. She kept an excellent GPA, showed true grit, and a positive attitude. In her spring semester, after working very hard to recover, she passed every fitness test. She also finished the semester with a 4.0 GPA. I am happy to say that Andrea is back in top form and is making a strong return in our first games this season. You wouldn’t even know she had a serious injury. Andrea is a great leader by example.”

Medina also found time to volunteer her sophomore year despite her injury, traveling to Guatemala to do community service work with her father. In addition, Medina helped organize a soccer camp for Guatemalan children.

Highlands University alumna Tina Cordova, who served as emcee for the Sept. 14 luncheon, received the Cowgirl Way Spirit Award in a surprise presentation. Cordova, B.A. biology ’81 and M.A. biology ’83, is the president of her company, Quest Construction, Inc. She has garnered numerous awards, such as being named a Women of Influence in New Mexico, one of the Largest Woman Owned Businesses in New Mexico, and Top Roofing Contractor in New Mexico.

“Today we’re honoring Tina Cordova for her Cowgirl spirit: grit, determination, courage and ethics,” Minner said. “She has shown all of those in her dedication to Highlands’ students through her service on the Foundation Board. She is also passionate about this Cowgirl Way event, and has been involved since its inception.

“We’re also honoring Tina for her ongoing fight for recognition of the health impacts of the Trinity atomic bomb test sites on the Tularosa Basin Downwinders, calling attention to the issue, getting grants, and ensuring this episode of New Mexico and U.S. history is not forgotten,” Minner said.