Montaño to grads: Heroic moments are result of years of drill


Everyone gets a few heroic moments in their life.

Navajo Times | Cindy Yurth
In front of a balloon arch, Chinle High School graduates listen to commencement speakers May 19.

Most people think Nicco Montaño’s was winning the inaugural UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship in mixed martial arts, but the 29-year-old Chinle High alumna has an even more important credit no one knows about.

While working for an adventure tourism company in Colorado as a college student, she saved a kayaker from drowning.

“Saving someone’s life is a huge eye-opener,” she told the 197 Chinle High School graduates and couple of thousand well-wishers at CHS’s commencement exercises Saturday. “Everything is put into perspective.”

Montaño’s two heroic moments — like everyone’s, she would argue — were not just isolated moments in time. Both were the product of months or years of sometimes boring drill.

“If I didn’t have a protocol, if my bosses hadn’t told me, ‘Do this, do that,’ who knows what would have happened to that kayaker?” she asked the class of 2018.

Likewise, she said, she could not have won the fighting championship without years of grueling conditioning and practice.

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Categories: Education

About Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at