NMMI Sports Press
The last time the Bronco basketball team qualified for the regional tournament, George W. Bush was president, gas cost $1.46/gallon and Reggie Franklin had been coaching hoops at the Institute for 11 years.
Monday, NMMI broke the long drought with an 89-77 victory over Clarendon, becoming only the fourth team since the 1970s to advance to the regional tournament.
“So these guys put themselves in a pretty unique group, and I’m very, very proud of them,” said coach Sean Schooley.
The Broncos came into the season’s last home match after a grueling come-from-behind road victory against No. 1 Howard, and early in Monday’s game against the cellar-dwelling Bulldogs, they looked a bit lethargic.
The first six points came from NMMI, but after Clarendon coach Brad Vanden Boogaard called a time out, the ’Dogs got their first two points from the charity stripe then strung together 10 straight points — including a pair of 3s — to take a 9-8 lead.
The rest of the first half saw the lead go back and forth. Clarendon continued to hit from the outside and, in the bonus for the final 8:30, shot .684 from the line. The Institute got back-to-back treys from Dane Williams and Rashad Todd, but it was a nine-point run from 6:16 to 4:18 that put the Broncos on top and kept them there.
“It’s hard, when you’re playing against a team that you’re probably physically better than; who you’ve already beat them once; and you try to say, ‘Hey, guys, this means everything,’ but they still are just human. But they did what they had to do,” Schooley said.
Neither side could put anything in early in the second half, with Bronco Haudrick Hilaire getting the first points from the line almost 2:30 into the stanza. The NMMI defense began doing what it’s known for, holding the Bulldogs to 10 points through the first 10 minutes.
To their credit, Clarendon never quit, cutting the Bronco lead from 19 down to eight — mainly on 3s — but the NMMI defense held.
“On defense, we just really wanted to make sure they didn’t go berserk on the 3-point line,” Schooley said. “You saw ’em, at the end, they started just heaving it up from anywhere. A couple of times we were right in their face, and they still chucked it in. My guys walked up and said, ‘Hey, coach?’ And I said, ‘I know. You did all you could.’”
Yet again, everyone contributed to the offense, led by Shaquan Rhoades, who put in 22 points. Aaron Bodie was one rebound shy of a double-double, with 13 points and nine rebounds; Dane Williams added 12; Andre Berry 11; and Marquis Godfrey 10.
The victory guaranteed NMMI a place in the Region V post-season tournament, where they’ll face NTJCAC No. 1 Hill College.
“I just can’t say enough about this group of kids and my associate coach, Ralph Davis,” Schooley said. “These guys have really put themselves in a great position, and paid the price. We kept the group together all year, which is huge. We have a lot of sophomore leadership and we make plays. It’s not going to be easy down there (at the tournament in Brownwood, Texas). We’re going to go up against people, but they’re going to play us, too. If we’ve beaten everybody in the league, that means we’re good enough to play with just about anybody on the other side. And I’m ready for it and we’re going to get ready for it.”
Before that, however, the Broncos will wrap up WJCAC play with a road game against Frank Phillips. And while the Plainsmen are near the bottom of the pack, Schooley said his team won’t overlook them.
“We want to play well,” he said. “We want to get up and play again well like we did against Howard, where somehow we woke up and did well. So yeah, we’re just not going up there too finish it out. We’re going up there to play and do well and get ready.”
NMMI Sports Press
ALBUQUERQUE — In the past 25 years, the NMMI swim teams have seen their fair share of medalists at the state swim meet — but only two top-three finishes. Saturday, Luke Shereston added one more to that number, as he broke his own school record to finish second in the 100-yard butterfly.
“It’s great,” said coach Jan Olesinski of the high-podium finish. “Luke is a good swimmer, good kid and dedicated to swimming. If you try to do something and you are dedicated to it you have results.”
The race winner, Albuquerque Academy’s Anthony Kim, broke his own state record, but Shereston wasn’t surprised at the torrid pace.
“I’ve known him for a long time,” the senior said. “I swam with him since I was a young kid, so like I knew from the start. We used to be rivals at one time, but he kind of picked up the pace a little bit and he got really fast. I still got second place to him, so I’m proud of myself.”
Even more so when he found out about the top-three results.
“That actually makes me feel pretty good,” he said. “I didn’t actually know that. That makes me feel good about myself.”
Colt Alvaro Cordovez also was proud of himself, moving up two places to finish sixth in the 100 fly.
“It’s better than eighth place,” he said. “I went up two places and it feels very nice.”
Olesinski was hoping for even more, but still pleased with the senior.
“He did much better today,” he said. “I thought that he would be third in the fly. I thought that he could do 52 (seconds), but it wasn’t his best day. He was a little bit tight.”
Cordovez also picked up time in the 50-yard freestyle, moving from 12th in the prelims to ninth in the consolation championship — fastest in that heat.
The remaining times were slower than Friday’s for the Institute, but NMMI still picked up fifth in the 200-yard medley relay, sixth in the 200-freestyle relay and Shereston added a sixth-place finish in the 100 free.
“I think we did really good,” the coach said. “The finals, they were a little tired after yesterday but I thought they competed. We might have gotten a few higher places, but overall it was very good.”
The four senior swimmers have all spent different times with the team — only Shereston has been there four years — but all are proud of what they accomplished.
“I’m very proud of myself and I’m really proud of my team, most of all,” said Spencer Lane. “I think we did awesome and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
For Fernando Rodriguez, it was his first year swimming competitively, but he said he’ll miss his teammates.
“Yeah, and we broke the school record which is something nice, because we all wanted to break the school record, so that’s something certainly important.”
“I didn’t know that we were going to break the record, actually,” Cordovez said. “That’s pretty surprising, but I feel good about that.”
Competitive swimming isn’t necessarily in the future for Lane, Rodriguez or Cordovez, but college is, with Rodriguez saying he might try running and triathlons. Swimming is definitely ahead for Shereston, who’s being recruited by both the Naval and Air Force Academies in the sport.
And after four years, in which he saw the Colt team steadily grow in both size and skill, the silver-medalist is proud of what everyone accomplished.
“This year was an all-time best,” he said. “We broke the records that we got last year and we’ve all improved.”
And “we” is key, Shereston said. While his star may shine a little brighter, he said he couldn’t have done it alone.
“It was my teammates who really brought me up,” he said. “It definitely wasn’t all me. If I was alone, I definitely couldn’t have achieved the things I achieved. So you may call me a star, but it was definitely my teammates who brought me up to this place.”
NMMI results at the NMAA State Swim Meet
200-yard medley relay — 5, NMMI (Alvaro Cordovez, Fernando Rodriguez, Luke Shereston, Spencer Lane), 1:44.61
200-yard freestyle — 6, Luke Shereston, 1:47.45
50-yard freestyle — 12, Alvaro Cordovez, 22.95
100-yard butterfly — 2, Luke Shereston, 51.66; 8, Alvaro Cordovez, 53.91
200-yard freestyle relay — 8, NMMI (Luke Shereston, Spencer Lane, Fernando Rodriguez, Alvaro Cordovez), 1:33.93
NMMI Sports Press
ALBUQUERQUE — The NMMI boys swam away with several school records and five championship qualifications at the NMMA state championship preliminaries at the Albuquerque Academy Natatorium Friday.
“They swam awesome,” said coach Jan Olesinski. “They broke four records. They swam awesome today.”
Luke Shereston broke three individual records — including one he set himself last year — and one as part of a relay.
The Colts opened the day with an amazingly fast time of 1:43.67 in the 200-yard medley relay, with Alvaro Cordovez swimming the opening lap, followed by Fernando Rodriguez, Shereston and anchor Spencer Lane.
Asked what made them swim so fast so early, Shereston said he didn’t know.
“Just team spirit. We’ve been working hard all year, so you could see the results in this meet.”
Shereston then qualified for the finals of the 200-yard freestyle with a school record of 1:46.03; finished second behind Albuquerque Academy’s Anthony Kim in the 100-yard butterfly; and helped the team just squeak into the finals of the 200-yard freestyle relay by leading off with a record time on the opening lap.
Cordovez finished eighth in the 100 fly, putting him in the finals against his teammate, and took 12th in the 50-yard free, but 12th still puts him in Saturday’s consolation finals, making it a sweep for the Colts.
The one worrisome spot for the boys was in the 200-free, where the Colts weren’t sure they’d qualified for the championship finals. But they did just manage to make the cut, edging La Cueva by hundredths of a second.
Shereston, who stood on the podium four times last year as well, said nothing was easy Friday.
“This was some really hard competition,” he said. “We even went slower last year, and we got sixth place (in the free relay). It just goes to show, some years can be more competitive than other years.”
“I can’t say it’s tougher than last year but it’s very tough,” Olesinski said. “A lot of good times. The times we swam today, a year, two years ago, could win. So it’s tough.”
And of all the sports New Mexico high schoolers compete in throughout the year, swimming is the only one where everyone — from the smallest school to the biggest — competes in one class, which making winning even tougher.
Now the question is, with such good times Friday, will the Colt swimmers be able to match or exceed those marks in the finals?
“I think we have some room to improve,” Olesinski said. “I think Luke can surpass the 100 fly. He made some mistakes and our relay made some mistakes so I think there is room for improvement.”
“I’ll definitely be able to swim faster tomorrow, and hopefully break those records that I’ve already made,” Shereston said.
Cordovez was also thinking positive.
“I hope I can make a better time tomorrow than I did today,” he said.
The Lady Colts — Samantha Ikard, Amira Hindi, Elise Coakley and Tamara Flynn — also competed in two relays and Flynn swam two individual races. While they didn’t finish near the top, Olesinski was still pleased they made it to state.
“They swam good,” the coach said. “They tried their best. They didn’t swim their best but they didn’t swim their worst. They competed and they did their best so I’m proud of them.”
The ladies will get to cheer on their teammates Saturday when the championship finals start at 11:30 a.m.
NMMI results at the NMAA State Swim Meet
200-yard medley relay — 3, NMMI (Alvaro Cordovez, Fernando Rodriguez, Luke Shereston, Spencer Lane), 1:43.67 SQ
200-yard freestyle — 6, Luke Shereston, 1:46.03 SQ
50-yard freestyle — 12, Alvaro Cordovez, 23.02 SQ
100-yard butterfly — 2, Luke Shereston, 51.87 SQ; 8, Alvaro Cordovez, 54.15 SQ
200-yard freestyle relay — 8, NMMI (Luke Shereston, Fernando Rodriguez, Spencer Lane, Alvaro Cordovez), 1:33.52 SQ
200-yard medley relay — 20, NMMI, (Samantha Ikard, Amira Hindi,Elise Coakley, Tamara Flynn); 2:13.15,
50-yard freestyle — 21, Tamara Flynn, 26.93
200-yard freestyle relay — 25, NMMI (Samantha Ikard, Amira Hindi,Elise Coakley, Tamara Flynn), 1:56.17
100-yard breaststroke — 25, Tamara Flynn, 1:15.14
NMMI Sports Press
The Colt basketball team got to make up a game that was snowed out earlier in the season, and despite a slow fourth quarter, NMMI earned it’s second 4-4A victory of the season, topping East Mountain 63-56.
“That was a big win for us, because right now, that puts us in third place (in district),” said NMMI coach James Kelt.
The Institute (8-13, 2-3) only trailed once in the game, going down 3-2 after the Timberwolves (6-19, 1-4) hit one of their few 3-pointers :43 seconds into the game. But after that, at least through three quarters, it was all NMMI, as they led 17-11 after one; 41-29 at the half; and 55-39 after three.
Mac Brown put on his usual show from the outside, hitting four treys in the first half, and scoring 21 of his game-high 28 points, while Carlos Xibille picked up 12 of his 19 points. The Colts continued to out-score East Mountain in the third — and shoot perfect from the charity stripe, as they were 9-for-9 through the stanza — but the ’Wolves outscored the Colts 17-8 in the fourth, make the game closer than it should have been.
During a time out in the final stanza, Kelt told his team, I refuse to let you self destruct,” and the picked up the pace for a bit after that, getting back to back buckets from Evan Tirado and Jesus Cano, but those were the final points the Colts would score.
“I felt like we were just focusing on the wrong aspects of the game,” Kelt said of the final-quarter slow down. “And we had lost a lot of the focus that had got us (there.) I give credit to East Mountain. They were able to come out and they changed things a little bit. They forced us to make some decisions, and some of those decisions were not the best.”
NMMI didn’t shoot well in the fourth, and had their most turnovers and what Kelt termed, “dumb fouls.”
The only thing that helped the Colts there was the extremely poor free-throw shooting by East Mountain. They were 0-5 in the first half, and didn’t make their first FT until 1:48 in the third, when Derrick Merkey, who was one of two Timberwolves in double figures with 15, hit both ends of a one-and-one.
Aidan Aragon was the big scorer for East Mountain, putting in 20 points in the losing cause.
Kelt said everyone contributed — six Colts scored, and two of the three who didn’t helped with rebounds — but said sometime the team doesn’t look at the whole picture.
“I think sometimes, we don’t see the floor. We’re very, I don’t want to say close minded, but our vision is very limited and we forget sometimes there might be people around us. And sometimes we get into a rush. I mean the first half, that’s the best we have run the floor that led to baskets. In the second half, we didn’t get that, and I think sometimes we were our own worst enemy.”
The Colts will wrap up the regular season at home Saturday against Ruidoso, a team they lost to by only seven points on the road while missing a starter. And if they can top the Warriors by more than seven, they’d secure second place heading into the district tournament.
NMMI Sports Press
Two things have been pretty obvious throughout the Bronco basketball season: NMMI is almost — not quite, but almost — unbeatable in Cahoon Armory; and anyone can beat anyone else in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference.
That was never clearer than on Monday, as the Broncos (13-10, 7-6), sitting sixth in the conference, beat WJCAC No. 1 and No. 17-ranked South Plains College (20-6, 10-3) 74-71.
“We showed it tonight,” said Institute coach Sean Schooley. “When we dropped that one to Midland (Feb. 9, 83-64), we knew we’d kind of put ourselves in hole a little bit. We knew we just had to protect our home court from here on out. Now we put ourselves in a position to get in (to the playoffs) again. We’ve gotta get two more on the road, though. We’ve got to figure out how to do that. But I was really proud of my guys again. I’ve said that all year long, they don’t quit at home. If I can figure out how to take this formula on the road, I’d feel pretty good about it all the time. But great win. We didn’t make our free throws down the stretch, but we made them when we had to.”
Missing free throws looked like the biggest problem for the home team, as NMMI barely broke .500 for the game, despite getting 25 chances in a match that again saw a number of whistles, and more often than not against the Institute. But Schooley was also unhappy with one of the Bronco’s usual strong points: rebounding.
“In the first half, they out-rebounded us by a mile,” the coach said. “They had 13 offensive rebounds. We’re at six in the country in rebounding, and they out-rebounded us tonight in the first half. I don’t know what happened in the second. I thought we did a better job.”
A little, but the Texans did top the numbers on the boards overall, with 48 rebounds to NMMI’s 38.
Those two negatives — along with 12 turnovers in the first half — probably made the game closer than it should have been, but that just gave the packed house more to cheer for.
Except for a 2-2 tie, the Broncos led until 11:00 on the clock, when SPC went up 14-13. NMMI came right back with six unanswered points — plus two missed free throws — and again stayed on top until 6:11, when the Texans tied it at 25-all then went up 27-25 on a steal and basket by Pat Birt.
After that, the lead or a share of it went back and forth until South Plains tied it at 38-all with :44 remaining in the first half, and NMMI couldn’t respond.
The early part of the second saw more back and forth until 13:05, when a steal and crowd-pleasing dunk by Aaron Bodie — compared to the utter silence when the Texans scored big — put the Broncos up for good.
Throughout the second half, Schooley was shouting “Rebound,” to his team, and, as the clock wore down — with NMMI up by as much as seven — “No 3s!” SPC did close the gap to 73-71 with two treys in the final 16 seconds, but Bodie and Rhoades both hit free throws as the clock ticked down and the defense kept the Texas from any more shots.
The Broncos again got across-the-board scoring, led by Bodie and Rhoades, who each tallied 19. With the crowd chanting “Andre! Andre!”, Andre Berry picked up the pace, scoring eight points before foul trouble put him on the bench for most of the second half.
“Again, my sophomores stepped up,” Schooley said. “Aaron Bodie and Shaquan Rhodes and Marc Seylan, Hilaire, Will Joyce. All the sophomores really stepped up. And Chaz (Lassiter) played well. He didn’t make some free throws at the end, but as a freshman, he held on to the ball. We didn’t turn it over (in the second half).”
Texan Emmanuel Omogbo led all scorers with 29 points, while Brandon Neel put in 11 and Birt 10, but South Plains’ shooting percentage of .319 was the lowest for them all season, and that can be attributed to NMMI’s defense.
“If we defend, rebound and run, we’ve always got a chance, so again, I’m proud as can be of these guys,” Schooley said. “Now we’ve got to take care of our business. Just try to go get Howard at Howard. Put ourselves in a position to get into the playoff, and that’s what these guys have worked hard for all year.”
The Broncos travel to Howard Thursday, close out the home season Feb. 23 vs. Clarendon, then wrap regular-season play Feb. 26 at Frank Phillips.