Recent Hayden High School graduate Ahleah Arbizo was selected as the 2020 Norberto “Chuco” Waddell Inspirational Award recipient.
The annual award recipient is chosen by a committee and is a Lobos’ student-athlete whom “Chuco” enjoyed watching compete.
“[He] would comment how they played with passion, heart, and a fierce desire to win,” Hayden athletic director Lydia Martinez told the Copper Basin News. “So, we will continue to find a Lobos’ athlete that plays with these qualities.”
According to Martinez, Waddell graduated from Hayden in 1966, when he ranked eighth in his class of 58 seniors. He was inducted into The National Junior Honor Society as a freshman before becoming a member of the National Honor Society as a sophomore. He lettered in football and baseball, receiving many honors in both sports. After his graduation, he attended Phoenix College and later returned to Hayden to become a foreman at ASARCO. He married the love of his life, Gloria Garcia.
The couple has five children – Brandon, Anthony, Kevin, Matthew, and Julia Amanda – all are Hayden High School graduates and accomplished athletes of their own.
Arbizo was a three-sport athlete during her four-year career at Hayden, including volleyball, basketball and softball. She signed her Letter of Intent to attend Eastern Arizona College, where she will play softball and study Sports Medicine.
“Being named the recipient of the Waddell Award means so much to me,” Arbizo said. “Chuco was one of our biggest Lobos’ supporters. I can remember him being at every game ever since my sixth-grade year.
“Chuco is a well-known man and holds a big place in my Lobo heart,” she continued. “I’m so honored to receive the award. Not only because of the man he was, but it showed I have a big heart for any game (and) sport I played, and that is what he had was a big heart. He will be the reason I will play every game like it’s my last.”
Arbizo acknowledged he athletic career at Hayden has helped prepare her for the next chapter of her life and beyond.
“Softball, I can say has prepared me for my life,” she said. “(It) has taught me how to have trust, how to have good people skills, and how to get along with girls even when they aren’t the friendliest.
“Most of all, sports showed me how to have fun, create memorable moments, and sometimes [develop] friendships.”
Martinez takes great pride in seeing Hayden student-athletes achieve their goals; it is her job, she says, to help provide these opportunities.
What attributes does Arbizo display that will serve her well going forward?
“Ahleah’s attributes that will serve her in the next chapter of life are her ambition to be successful, her courage to face challenges, her integrity to continue doing the right thing, and having the faith of family and friends,” Martinez responded.