The ninth set of inductees for the Rio Rancho High School Sports Hall of Fame has been announced by the school, and here are the half-dozen newest members – five student-athletes and a longtime coach/athletic director.
The induction ceremony will take place before the September 15 Homecoming game vs. Hobbs, and the newest members in attendance at the game will be introduced and on the field at halftime.
Kayla Hammond: The state’s Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year in 2007 didn’t appear headed for that honor, at least not in that sport.
“Kayla came into our gym as an eighth-grader in a baseball uniform,” longtime RRHS volleyball coach Toby Manzanares recalled. “She had just played in a baseball game and wanted some information about our volleyball program. I told her to take her cleats off, go home and change into some volleyball gear. She was back before I knew it.”
It turned out pretty well.
“As a junior, Kayla was a quiet leader, but held herself and her team to a high standard. My high expectations for Kayla as a setter were high, and she just developed into a solid setter,” Manzanares said. “Kayla led by example and had a great attitude for the game and for her teammates. She was very supportive of her teammates and made them feel like they were the best player on the floor. “
Her setting skills paid off in her senior season with the Rams, spikers, who finished 22-2 overall after beating La Cueva for their fifth state championship in six seasons. Kayla was the District 1-5A Player of the Year, a first-team member of the All-District team, and All-Metro.
After graduation in May 2008, Kayla – who’d also played tennis for the Rams and named the senior student-athlete of the 2007-08 school year — spent time as a rugby player for UNM and got into cycling and hiking.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in healthcare administration from UNM, Kayla began working for Optum Healthcare in their population health department. She serves as the director of Affordability for the New Mexico market
Honored to be added to the RRHS Sports Hall of Fame, she said she is deeply grateful for the investment she received from her coaches, teachers and family as a Ram. Now Kayla Patterson, she lives in Albuquerque with husband Jon and their son, Lachlan.
Troy Harris: A first-team All-State running back and the state’s Gatorade Football Player of the Year in 2008, his senior season, Troy was a favorite of former RRHS coach Phil Lopez.
Lopez, who had Harris in his 2006 sophomore season, said, “He was a talent, but he worked so dang hard in the weight room and conditioning.” Lopez was used to having great backs, having seen Chris Williams and another Gatorade POY, Mike Love, prior to Harris hauling the pigskin.
“He had plenty of long, exciting runs,” Lopez recalled. “You hate to use comparisons, but he had a knack for finding holes and alleys and had the power to put his shoulder down and get yardage like Mike Love. He was kind of a combination of those two, from what I remember.
“He came in quiet and as time went on, he was vocal, but in a positive way,” Lopez said. “I never saw Troy get upset or point fingers … he did it by leading and just being positive, giving it all through everything: Classroom, weight room, on the field.
“He didn’t take his talent for granted … I think he knew the harder he worked, the better things were going to be for him,” Lopez said, his fourth and final season with the Rams, who won the 1-5A crown. “I think the first time we handed him the ball he went 30, 40 yards – and I knew he was going to be something special.”
He was special the next two seasons, too, for head coach Mike Worley.
Harris had eight TDs in his junior season, when the Rams finished 6-6 and lost in the quarterfinals to Mayfield. As a senior, he amassed 136 points and helped the Rams to another district title, although that ended with a quarterfinal loss to visiting Eldorado.
After graduating from RRHS in 2009, Harris headed to Portales, where he saw action in 19 games over three seasons (2009-11) at Eastern New Mexico University.
Tamara Lementino: More than a dozen years after she graduated (Class of 2011), former RRHS coach Hilario Chavez still can’t forget this distance runner.
“Tamara was one the hardest-working, most dedicated student-athletes I’ve known. She strived for excellence not only as an athlete but also as a student, she was our leader on the first girls cross country state championship team,” is how Chavez remembered her.
She was a Rams record-setter in the 5K and the 3,200, although those times have been eclipsed; but it’ll be hard to top this: She was a three-time All-State cross country runner and a two-time All-State track performer. She followed her Rams accomplishments with a stellar career at New Mexico State, also running on the distance and track teams for the Aggies.
In 2009 and ’10, as a member of Zuni Pueblo, she was on the Southwest Wings of America team.
She returned as a cross country assistant coach for the Rams several seasons.
Remembered former distance coach Tim Host: “She ran incredibly hard, she had no time for nonsense, and she found the easiest way to stand out in a crowd was to be in front.”
She’ll be in front of a crowd again on October 28, when she marries Chris Garcia at El Zocalo in Bernalillo.
Caleb Rubalcaba: Believed to be the first student-athlete in RRHS history to be honored as All-State in three sports, Caleb stayed busy year ‘round: cross country in the fall, wrestling in the winter and track in the spring.
A 2011 graduate, Caleb was the cross country runner-up in 2010, his senior season, leading the Rams to second place and what became a three-year run of podium finishes. As a junior, also in 2010, he’d won the 1,600-meter run at the state track & field meet.
All told, he was a five-time All-State honoree.
“In my opinion, to be a “Hall of Famer” an athlete has to be one of the best in the history of the school and leave a positive legacy. Caleb did both,” says RRHS Athletic Director Sal Gonzales. “As an athlete he was a fierce competitor, a hard worker during practice and on his own, and he was one of the best leaders I have coached in my career. Caleb had a unique way of leading his team as he simultaneously pushed his teammates to be their best while remaining everyone’s best friend. You would be hard-pressed to find a teammate or an opponent for that matter that didn’t have a positive view of Caleb.
In the classroom, where Gonzales had Caleb for U.S. History, “Caleb had a similar effect on people in the classroom. Everyone loved Caleb as he was friends with all types of students at RRHS. He was easily elected class president as a senior.
“I thoroughly enjoyed watching Caleb compete. Once the gun went up, the smile disappeared and Caleb became a force. My favorite race of Caleb’s was his state championship victory in the 1,600 meters race his junior year. … His move was so aggressive and so early in the race that he completely shocked the competition. Racers usually wait for the last 100-200 meters to kick — Caleb kicked with 600 meters to go!”
What more needs to be said?
Zack Rogers: A two-time state wrestling champion and member of the RRHS Class of 2011, Zack turned his experience as the Rams’ punter and kicker into a similar role at the University of New Mexico.
A member of the Rams’ state championship teams during their reign on the mats, Rogers was fifth at 145 pounds as a junior, then as the No. 2 seed at 152 pounds in his junior season, he scored a major decision over the No. 1 seed. As a senior and the No. 1 seed, Rogers won the 160-pound title after posting a major decision over the 2 seed.
Zack walked-on to the Lobo football team in 2011 under former coach Mike Locksley, initially behind incumbent kicker James Aho, who is married to RRHS HOFer Gayle Tripp. Punting probably wasn’t even in his thought process, as All-American candidate Ben Skaer had a firm four-year handle on the job from the time he stepped foot on campus in 2010.
Zack waited and waited, and after Bob Davie became head coach, he had his shot. It only took 45 months – the time between field goal attempts for Rogers, who kicked one in a Rams’ game in November 2010, and didn’t attempt another until August 30, 2014, against UTEP in the fourth quarter to tie the game.
“Running onto the field for my first field goal attempt was exciting because it was to tie the game at 24,” Zack told LoboTV. “I had to collect my nerves, and then just take every kick like I’ve done: Relax and put it through.”
That kick split the uprights; the former All-State wide receiver had a dream fulfilled. “I’ve been coming to Lobo games since I was four years old, so it’s always been a dream of mine to actually play for the Lobos. To actually get out on the field for my first playing time was awesome. It was a dream come true.”
Vince Metzgar: Vince grew up in Paradise Hills, where his parents had moved from the South Valley in 1961. He attended Cibola High, where he played football, wrestled and played baseball.
Football was his best sport, followed by baseball; Cougars wrestling coach Joe Vivian was a great mentor, as well as a family friend.
“Because of my enjoyment of athletics, namely football at Cibola High School, my dream at the time was, at the time, to come back to Cibola; teach and coach football. That was my dream job.
“It’s weird that I ended up not coaching, although I did some coaching at (Lincoln) Middle School, but when I realized at the time at UNM (he was a walk-on defensive back for the Lobos, playing two seasons) and when I got married (to Antoinette), the amount of hours (involved) in coaching football. I thought about a family, I didn’t want to be gone that long from home,” he said, “so I started doing some officiating – I did that for 15 years.”
Vince’s father, J.D. Metzgar, had been a longtime official for several sports, and his son enjoyed their time together. Before retiring from RRPS, Vince’s final game as a referee – he was the “white hat” – was at the Class 4A Goddard-Oñate championship football game in 2002. In the fall of 2022, he was back on the gridiron, again wearing stripes.
He had the longest career, 21 years, as an athletics administrator in RRPS, with stints at Eagle Ridge Middle School (2001-02), Lincoln Middle School (2002-08), Rio Rancho Mid-High (2008-09) and RRHS (2009-22).
After being at LMS, Metzgar was named RRHS athletic coordinator – a title later changed to athletic director.
Metzgar said he has two great Rams highlights from his time in “the chair”: The 2014 Class 6A football championship and the 2016 state basketball championship. Personal highlights were seeing his children go through RRHS and play sports: Derek (2008), Dillon (2010) and Grace (2017).