Invitational renamed to honor former teacher
Center Schools track and cross-country coach Dennis Schoenfelder changed the name of the school's annual September cross-country meet to The Gerald “Tommy” Archuleta Memorial Cross Country Invitational. The team is pictured here with Gerald's wife Stephanie (Burch) Archuleta and mother Jeanne on the far right. (Photo courtesy Dennis Schoenfelder)
CENTER— Center Schools track and cross-country coach Dennis Schoenfelder reported Monday that the school has changed the name of its annual September cross country meet from “Center of the Universe” to The Gerald “Tommy” Archuleta Memorial Cross Country Invitational.
Archuleta taught and coached in Center for several years before his death in a collision with a semi-truck April 10 on Highway 112. His wife Stephanie (Burch) Archuleta, 32, of Center suffered moderate injuries in the accident. At the time of his death, Gerald was the head track and cross-country coach at South Conejos School District.
Stephanie, a Center graduate, was the starter for this year’s meet. She gave birth to the couple's daughter, Javielynn Rae Archuleta, Wednesday morning. The baby weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces and is 19 inches long.
“Tommy was our cheerleader for all Valley kids,” Schoenfelder said. “He knew them all by name and was always cheering them on.”
Archuleta also competed in track and cross-country events at Adams State University. Schoenfelder had T-shirts made memorializing this year’s first invitational bearing his name.