ALBUQUERQUE — The New Mexico Games last week announced the male and female athletes of the year, 33-year-old Marcus Williams and 13-year-old Daphne Salas.
Williams is a New Mexico native who has represented the state on basketball courts across the country. Williams led Rio Rancho to a state basketball title as a high school junior and earned All-State honors twice.
He played at Cochise College, where he earned honorable mention All-American and second team All-American honors. He also played at Sam Houston State. Williams has won the New Mexico Games basketball tournament 10 years in a row.
“Marcus demonstrates the caliber of talent in our state,” said Megan McMillan, New Mexico Games interim executive director. “Marcus is a talented athlete who has played basketball on many different levels. He makes us proud on and off the basketball court.”
Williams also played football and was a state-championship high jumper — he and older brother Christopher combined to win five high-jump titles in as many years — and sprinter during his days at RRHS, where he graduated in 2008. He, like his brother, is a member of the RRHS Sports Hall of Fame.
The Duke City Barracuda Swim Club nominated Salas, who competes in swimming, water polo and basketball.
Salas was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor a year and a half ago, but she continued to persevere, competing in the 2023 New Mexico Games swim competition just a year after surgery to remove the tumor. Her team won second place. Salas also competed in the National Water Polo Junior Olympics.
“Daphne showcases what it means to never give up,” said McMillan. “Daphne’s inspiring story of perseverance motivates and inspires us all to have a positive outlook on life. She is the true definition of a warrior.”
The New Mexico Games is the largest annual sports festival in the state. More than 3,500 athletes participate in more than 15 sports in an Olympic-style competition from May to November.
For more information, visit newmexicogames.org.