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Albuquerque, N.M. – Ella Puckett, a junior at Cloudcroft High School, has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the New Mexico Activities Association Spirit of Sport Award.  The NMAA Spirit of Sport Award was created by the Association to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the spirit of sport that represent the core mission of education-based athletics.

Life-changing events can sometimes stop you in your tracks, but not Ella Puckett.  The 16-year old student-athlete from Cloudcroft was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after doctors discovered she had a seven-and-a-half-inch tumor.  The very rare cancerous tumor was removed immediately after it had ruptured. Ella now has to endure multiple rounds of chemotherapy and still continues to play volleyball with the Bears.

“I’m trying to be super positive and have a good outlook on it because if I’m going to go through it, I want to take advantage of it and help anybody I can or help somebody who’s going through a hard time,” said Ella.

“Ella’s a model of what we look for in every athlete in Cloudcroft,” said athletic director Hayden Burnett.  “I think for most people; I don’t know if they would understand how difficult it is because of how well she holds herself.  She doesn’t let people see that side of her.  She holds herself likes there’s nothing wrong and she’s just going through life every day the way it is.”

Ella inspires others to stay strong and move forward in the face of adversity.  “I just want people to know that you can do anything, it’s not impossible,” she said.  “You can do whatever you want to do and you can get through it.  God gives us another day and you just have to be positive and look at the bright side of everything.”  Ella also plays basketball and competes in track at Cloudcroft High School.

The 2018 New Mexico Activities Association Spirit of Sport Award was presented at the NMAA/NMADA Fall Leadership Conference Lunch Banquet earlier today.  Ella was given a special plaque to commemorate her selection.  She will now be nominated for the National High School Spirit of Sport Award that is given out by the NFHS each year.

For additional information pertaining to this release, please contact Dusty Young, NMAA Associate Director at (505) 977-5385 or dusty@nmact.org.

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