Growing up in Dolores during the early part of the 21st century, Madi Archuleta loved nothing more than watching her hometown Bears.
In between hunting and fishing trips, the then grade-schooler would return home from school, throw on a maroon and black sweatshirt with a Bears logo and head to the gym to watch her favorite hometown athletes play.
During her early years, Archuleta was captivated by the talents of Lady Bears basketball stars like Cydney McHenry and Lexi Atkinson. As she grew older, Archuleta began to look up to Dolores sharpshooters such as Brianna Schwartz, Nicole Kibel and Larissa Umberger.
Now a senior in high school, Archuleta is no longer a small, black-haired girl standing on the sidelines, but rather, a prep star who elicits cheers from the aspiring young athletes like the one that she once was.
Over the course of her final prep basketball season, Archuleta played in all 20 of her team’s games while scoring a team-high 163 points and leading the Lady Bears in scoring with 8.2 point per game. The senior made a team-high 32 three-pointers and pulled down 4.1 rebounds per game.
In spite of her stellar stats however, Archuleta, who said that the most gratifying aspect of her senior season was getting the opportunity to play alongside her sister, Codi.
“I’ll definitely remember playing with my sister one last time,” Archuleta said “She has been my best friend for forever. Being able to play with her and see her grow has been an awesome experience for me.”
Thanks to her impressive play during the winter season, Archuleta was voted first team all-conference for the San Juan Basin League and selected to compete in the Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Games, in Alamosa on June 8-12.
“I’m just excited to play that game,” said Archuleta. “I’m excited to wear that jersey one more time.”
In addition to her acumen on the basketball court, Archuleta has competed in track and field for one season and soccer for two.
Currently midway through the prep soccer season, Archuleta has netted one goal and tallied several assists, including two that came during her team’s 2-0 victory over Del Norte on April 14.
“The team camaraderie is everything,” said Archuleta, who plays for Montezuma-Cortez High School since Dolores does not have a team. “These girls are great friends on and off the field, and I enjoy being with them. My goal is to have fun. It’s my last year, and I want to make the most of it.”
Discussing her post-graduation plans, Archuleta indicated that she plans to attend Western State College in Gunnison, where she will study recreation and outdoor education in hopes of eventually becoming a park ranger for the Bureau of Land Management of Parks and Wildlife.
The consummate Southwest Colorado resident, Archuleta likes nothing better than to hunt and fish near the town that she has always called home.
“I like small towns, which is why I chose to go to school where I’m going,” Archuleta said.
Asked what advice she would give to up-and-coming student athletes in the area, Archuleta offered the following words:
“If you want it, you have to work for it. “Work is everything, and if you put in the work, you can make anything happen.”