Home Sports Local Sports Up close with RHS’ cross country coach

Up close with RHS’ cross country coach

Submitted Photo In this file photo, Roswell’s cross country team pose for a picture after medaling at an event last year.

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Debbie Dumlao is starting her 10th year teaching at Roswell High School and is beginning her third season coaching the boys and girls cross country team. She graduated from RHS in 1991.

In 1995, she graduated from New Mexico State University with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and mass communications. She graduated in 2013 from Eastern New Mexico University with a master’s degree in secondary education, curriculum and instruction.

After graduating, she became a broadcast sports reporter in the early to mid-’90s.

“I worked for CBS and ESPN as a freelance reporter and was a sports anchor and reporter for KRWG-TV in Las Cruces, New Mexico,” Dumlao said. “I then moved on to the fashion industry working as a buyer.”

The cross country team has five returning runners, three of whom are seniors. To start off the season, there are five runners for each team, both boys and girls.

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“Last year was quite the shock,” Dumlao said. “We were moved up to a new district with the newly aligned NMAA districts in the state.  We are now District 4-5A division. As you may have heard, the 5A division is the top division for the large schools in New Mexico. We competed against some great schools here in the southeast, but also against some great schools up north. I’ll be honest, we were not prepared for what happened.

“In years past, the boys’ and girls’ teams had some great showings at state, often placing in the top 20. However, we never had to compete against schools like Rio Rancho and Cleveland at the state meet. They have some of the most talented runners in the state,” Dumlao said.

She feels like this past season, her team struggled with what they needed to do to be competitive. Dumlao felt the team struggled last year with some individual issues, but they rallied together for each other.

“I think this is what is most important about last year,” Dumlao said. “The athletes were a family cheering each other on and helping one another through the struggles.”

For RHS, off-season started the second week of June, and the runners have worked hard throughout the off-season to improve their times, some of whom are already beating their district and state times from previous seasons. Dumlao credits Roswell baseball coach, Tyrell Curtis and the teen program at Planet Fitness. The workout program has allowed the runners to strengthen and condition themselves for the upcoming season.

“Because of the complete overhaul and change of training in the off-season,” Dumlao said, “the runners are stronger and faster. Our off-season times are outstanding and the runners continue to shave off time every week.”

Roswell returners continue to step up even more than the years before to bring leadership and great sportsmanship. Dumlao says her new runners are just as competitive as the returners and have that desire to prove that to the rest of the state. Coaching has affected Dumlao’s life in many ways.

“These athletes (past and present) have made their mark permanently. Coaching is very different from other organizations that I have advised or sponsored throughout my 10 years at Roswell High School. Coaching has allowed me to connect with the athletes on a very different level. Running is probably one of the hardest sports out there. These athletes put their bodies through some strenuous work that is sometimes unimaginable.”

Teaching her runners about tolerance and humility, Dumlao tries to be the best teacher and coach to the athletes.

“I am their biggest fan! If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you,” Dumlao said.

The Roswell High cross country team is hoping for a great season.


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