NMMI Sports Press
The Colts wrapped up their first tennis tournament of the season in positions both the boys and girls probably aren’t used to, but head coach Will Cavin is happy how his netters are performing.
“I think we’re in really good shape as long as we can keep everybody on track and do what we need to do come the middle of March,” the coach said.
Playing in the season-opening Goddard Invitational, the boys finished third behind St. Michael’s and Santa Fe — the two teams were playing for first when the Colts wrapped everything up — and the girls finished fourth.
For the Colts, the finish was somewhat lower than they’re used to, but without their No. 1, 4 and 5 players, Cavin was pleased.
“St. Mike’s is going to be one of the top teams at the state tournament, and for us to split with them today was a good sign that we’re headed in the right direction as far as the boys are concerned.”
NMMI lost 5-4 — the same margin they lost to Santa Fe Friday — but Saturday, it was the No. 4, 5 and 6 players who earned wins, along with the No. 3 doubles duo.
Felix Higuera, Ignacio Ongay and Sebastian Aguirre defeated the Horsemen they faced, and Ongay and Aguirre combined to win in doubles. (The duo were the only NMMI doubles team to get four victories in the tourney, and Higuera the only Colt to win all four singles matches.)
With almost everyone playing in unaccustomed spots — and without their usual doubles teammates — the Colts are working through some rough edges. But many of the losses were hard-fought, three-set affairs, so Cavin is thinking positive.
“As we move forward towards state, hopefully we’ll have our top seven players to work with, and be a lot more competitive with St. Mike’s,” he said. “So I think we’re in good position to be right where we need to for the district and state tournament.”
NMMI then made it look easy vs. Roswell, sweeping the Coyotes 9-0, to go 2-2 for the tournament.
The inexperienced Lady Colts also finished in an unusual spot, defeating Roswell High 5-4 — despite losing two matches to forfeits — putting them in fourth place.
“That was good for the girls morale, to get some wins and continue that development I’m looking for with them,” Cavin said. “They’re just starting their careers, so it’s always good to get some wins, especially with them just starting out. So that was good for them to do that.”
Besides getting two more singles wins from Megan Lynch, Claudia Gerhardus Blancarte won at No. 4, defeating Coyote Elizabeth Sarellano, 6-2, 6-0; Miranda Nepip defeated Kirsten Griffen 7-5, 6-4; Lynch and JinXiu Dong got their third win of the tourney over Roswell, and Brassea/Gerhardus took a doubles victory.
Cavin is looking forward to the Coyote Classic March 4.
“That should be a good tournament for us, and even though we won’t have our Nos. 1 and 4 for those next two tournaments, we’ll continue on with our competitiveness,” he said. “And our doubles players will get to where they’re more accustomed to playing as a team.”
St. Michael’s 5, NMMI 4
No. 1, Will McDermott, SF, def. Francisco Saracho, NMMI, 6-1, 6-1
No. 2, Ian Watson, SF, def. Luis Fontes Plascencia, NMMI, 7-6, 6-0
No. 3, John Anderson, SF, def. Spencer Treat, NMMI, 3-6, 6-2, 10-8
No. 4, Felix Higuera Rodriguez, NMMI, def. Tristen Gress, SM, 3-6, 6-4, 10-8
No. 5, Ignacio Ongay Campuzano, NMMI, def. Jared Smith, SM, 6-3, 7-6
No. 6, Sebastian Aguirre Russek, NMMI, def. Asa Anderson, SM, 6-2, 6-1
No. 1, McDermott/Watson, SM, def. Saracha/Fontes, NMMI,6-1, 6-4
No. 2, Gress/J. Anderson, SM, def. Treat/Higuera, NMMI, 6-4, 7-6, 10-6
No. 3, Ongay/Aguirre, NMMI, def. A. Anderson/Smith, SM, 3-6, 7-5, 11-9
NMMI 9, Roswell 0
No. 1, Francisco Saracho, NMMI, def. Clayne Williams, RHS, 6-0, 6-0
No. 2, Luis Fontes Plascencia, NMMI, def. Victor Campos, RHS, 6-2, 6-0
No. 3, Spencer Treat, NMMI, def. CHasen Richardson, RHS, 6-0, 6-0
No. 4, Felix Higuera Rodriguez, NMMI, def. Joaquin Andrade, RHS, 6-1, 6-1
No. 5, Ignacio Ongay Campuzano, NMMI, def. Alex Fortuna, RHS, 6-4, 6-3
No. 6, Sebastian Aguirre Russek, NMMI, def. Daniel Campuzano, 6-2, 6-1
No. 1, Saracha/Fontes, NMMI, def. Williams/Andrade, RHS, 6-3, 6-0
No. 2, Treat/Higuera, NMMI, def. Lonnie White/Fortuna, RHS, 6-0, 6-1
No. 3, Ongay/Aguirre, NMMI, def. Nathan Monroy/Danny Cardenas, RHS, 6-1, 6-1
Santa Fe 8, NMMI 1
No. 1, Megan Lynch, NMMI, def.Haley Garcia, SM, 6-0, 6-0
No. 2, Tianna Baca, SM, def. JinXiu Dong, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0
No. 3, Alexis Gallegos, SM, def. Sofia Brassea Flores, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0
No. 4,Kyra Chavez, SM, def. Claudia Gerhardus Blancarte, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0
No. 5, Abby Cugans, SM, def. Miranda Nepip, NMMI, 6-1, 6-1
No. 6, SM wins by default
No. 1, Garcia/Baca, SM, def. Lynch/Dong, NMMI, 6-4, 6-3
No. 2, Gallegos/Chavez, def. Brassea/Gerhardus, 6-1, 6-1
No. 3, SM wins by default
NMMI 5, Roswell 4
No. 1, Megan Lynch, NMMI, def. Evelyn Williams, RHS, 6-1, 6-0
No. 2, Alejandra Ruiz, RHS, def. JinXiu Dong, NMMI, 1-6, 6-0, 10-6
No. 3, Candy Gonzalez, RHS, def. Sofia Brassea Flores, NMMI, 8-6, 2-6, 14-12
No. 4, Claudia Gerhardus Blancarte, NMMI, def. Elizabeth, Sarellano, RHS, 6-2, 6-0
No. 5, Miranda Nepip, NMMI, def. Kirsten Griffen, RHS, 7-5, 6-4
No. 6, RHS wins by default
No. 1, Lynch/Dong, NMMI, def. Williams/Ruiz, RHS, 6-0, 6-0
No. 2, Brassea/Gerhardus, NMMI, def. Gonzales/Kathia Hernandez, RHS, 7-5, 6-3
No. 3, RHS wins by default
NMMI Sports Press
ARTESIA — It was like night and day at Brainard Baseball Field in Artesia Saturday. After a rough start to the season a week ago, the Broncos swept by Otero Junior College 8-2 and 3-1 on the strength of pitching and power hitting.
“We pitched really well today,” said coach Chris Cook. “We’ve still got some cleaning up to do offensively. Played better so far this weekend, but we pitched really well. Threw a lot of quality strikes. Did a pretty good job of not allowing a lot of free bases and that kept us in the game.”
Game 1 was all NMMI, as the Institute took advantage of several of those “free bases,” scoring two runs in the first on two hit batters and two walks. The Broncos went up 4-0 in the third on a solo home run by Winston Welch, then Pancho Mariscal was hit, and came around on singles by Chris Suarez and Cub Turcotte.
The big blow came in the fifth when Mariscal singled, Suarez walked and Turcotte sent a three-run home run over left center. John Jensen followed that with a solo shot, and it was 8-0 NMMI.
Bronco starter Anthony Martinez pitched five innings, giving up four hits while striking out five. Alex Garcia came in in relief in the sixth, allowing one Rattler run on a single, stolen base and error. James Santiago came in to wrap things up in the seventh, giving up the final run on a hit and error.
Game 2 was a lot closer, with NMMI drawing first blood in the second on a Welch double, wild pitch and sac fly by Justin Felix.
Otero tied it at 1-1 in the top of the fourth when starter Kody Jones hit a batter, got two long outs then gave up a single. But that was all Jones — or relievers Preston Inman and Chris Suarez — would give up.
And the Institute made it 2-1 in the fourth when Howard and Welch each singled, Howard stole third then came home on a sacrifice fly. They added an insurance run in the eighth when Suarez reached on a single, Turcotte walked and Mariscal doubled him in.
Game 2 also featured an interesting starting pitching matchup between: NMMI’s Jones at 6-foot-11 and Otero JC’s 6-foot-7 pitcher Nick Kakavas, both left-handers. While interesting to see, Cook is happy with his starter.
“I kind of expected to see him,” the coach said of Kavakas. “I didn’t know which game it would be. I’ll take ours over just about anyone in the country. I wish we could have got him a little better run support, but Preston pitched lights out and we got it to Suarez at the end. The bullpen was fantastic in Game 2. So that’s a plus.”
The big hitter in Game 1 was Turcotte, who went 2-for-3 with 4 RBIs and one run scored. In Game 2, it was Mariscal (3-for-4, 1 RBI) and Welch (3-for-4, 1 run.)
The only real nits Cook could find was in the Bronco small-ball game. They again left too many runners on base — 14 between the two games — and that number needs to be cut down.
“We’ve still got some small-ball stuff that we can work on,” Cook said. “That’s not our game necessarily, but we’ve still got to be able to execute it when games are close, and we had some opportunities in Game 2 that we missed. Some of it’s on me, some of it’s on them, but we’ve got to clean it up and that’s what the preseason’s all about. I know we’ve got guys who can drive the baseball. We’ve just got to make sure we’re taking those swings in the right counts; seeing the baseball well and we’ll get some results out of it. But I think we’re making some steps in the right direction.”
The Broncos are back in action Sunday, continuing the series vs. against Otero. Carlos Ortiz is expected to start Game 3 for NMMI, and Kyle Bosworth, who, Cook said, “pitched really well last weekend out of the pen,” starting Game 4.
Colt tennis — in particular boys tennis — has a strong winning tradition.
Records dating back to 1993 show 11 boys team titles — including four straight from 2011-2014 — seven individual singles titles and six doubles titles. Former NMMI coaches Gene Hardman and Jim Kelly hold a combined nine titles between them.
While last year wasn’t one of those championship seasons, new head coach Will Cavin hopes to get the boys right back to the top and this year add a girls’ title to the list.
“I think we have the kids who can be individual state champions and team state champions,” he said. “Bring back that blue trophy.”
On the boys side, Cavin said he has seven top players, and two or three are just on the bubble of being able to work into that ladder of the top six or seven.
“That forces the competitiveness, and that’s exactly what you want,” he said. “You don’t want anybody just assuming they’re the best, or that they’ve got a playing spot. They’ve got to compete for it.”
Three new cadets from Mexico — Sophomores Farid Yunes Garcia; Francisco Saracho; and Jose Salazar, and returning soph Luis Fontes Plascencia are expected to fill the top four slots once all four get eligible, which Cavin expects will happen after the nine-weeks grades come out.
Three other returners — junior Spencer Treat from Roswell; Dexter sophomore Allen DeGroot; and junior Felix Higurea Rodriguez from Mexico round out that top seven.
Other Colts to watch include junior Angel Badilla Reyes, who comes from the basketball squad; sophomore Ignacio Ongay Campuzano; and freshman Sebastian Aguirre Russek.
Then there are a number of others just battling to make the team.
“I’m keeping them out, as we start the season, just to give them an opportunity to get where they need to be,” Cavin said.
So while the first tournaments of the season — which started Friday — NMMI might not be quite as dominant, but the coach is still thinking positive.
“We’ll be very competitive, but maybe not quite as competitive as we’ll be in the middle of March.”
And certainly not as competitive as in late March, when they’ll take on Mesilla Valley Christian, Portales, Ruidoso and Silver at the district meet in Las Cruces.
They’ve got two dual meets with Portales as well as a match against last year’s defending champ, Las Vegas Robertson, which will only make then stronger, Cavin said.
“The more competition you see (the better you get.) When you get to see Robertson and some of the other 4A schools, there’s some good tennis programs in the state at our level. So we’re not going to be able to take anybody for granted, that’s for sure.”
The girls will have a full team this season, and while they might not be as strong as the boys team-wise, Cavin has no doubt one of his players will be in the thick of the fight for the singles title.
“Without a doubt, Megan (Lynch) is one I’m going to see shining at the state tournament,” he said. “She’s really an excellent tennis player.”
Lynch played as a freshman, the year her brother Gavin won an individual title, left the Institute for a year but has returned. She’ll lead a squad that includes senior Claudia Gerhardus Blancarte; juniors Savannah Lee and Sofia Brassea Flores; and sophomores Miranda Nepip who also swam for NMMI, basketball player Flor Toscano Fimbres, and JinXiu Dong.
And while Cavin can’t predict how his girls will finish as a team, he said they’re working hard.
“I think we’re going to have fun,” he said. “I think the girls will develop over the season and have a good opportunity to get somewhere come time for district.”
NMMI Sports Press
For almost 31 minutes of the 32 minute basketball game between the Colts (7-12, 2-3) and No.-7 ranked Portales Rams (15-9, 5-0), NMMI never trailed by more than four, and led by as much as six late in the first quarter. So the fact both the coach and players went into the locker room disappointed with their 52-46 loss is understandable, but they have no reason to hang their heads.
“I really thought we had a chance to win this game, and I’m actually disappointed,” said coach Dan Smith. “Once again, they played their hearts out.”
They did that, for all four quarters, with the difference coming down to a few minor mistakes.
The Rams outshot the Institute .576 to .462 from the free-throw line, a big margin in such a close game. The Colts were 0-for-4 in the first half, and while Portales didn’t shoot much better early, they picked it up when it counted, scoring from the charity stripe as the clock ran down.
The Colts also made some late turnovers that led to Portales points, and when big men Francisco Galvez and Dillion Reynolds fouled out, that was key.
“I think that really hurt us,” Smith said. “That’s always a challenge to maneuver people in and out in that situation. But the guys who came in did the best they could for sure.”
The Colts took the lead early, on a field goal by Reynolds and one of the game’s few treys by Peter DeGroot. NMMI never trailed in the first quarter, and only barely lost the edge with 5:45 remaining in the first half. The lead then went back and forth, with the Rams holding a slim 31-29 advantage at the buzzer.
The Colts re-took the lead to open the third on a field goal by DeGroot and 1-for-2 shooting from the line by Carlos Xibille. The lead traded hand twice more, with Portales holding a 38-35 third-quarter lead.
The Institute again regained the lead on a trey by DeGroot and stretched it to three, 42-39, on a field goal by the senior. After the Rams again closed in, Galvez put the lead back at three by hitting both ends on a 1-and-1.
But after Xibille left briefly with a mild injury, the NMMI defense got called for several quick fouls, with Portales hitting more than they missed from the line. The Colts lost Reynolds to fouls with 2:24 remaining and Galvez a minute later, and once the Rams went up, NMMI couldn’t quite close the gap.
Despite the disappointment, Smith is proud of his team.
“I think we can play with anybody, the way we are playing right now,” he said.
And while Xibille led the scoring with 14 points and DeGroot added 13, Smith said everyone came together in the effort.
“I don’t like to base things just on scoring,” he said. “I look at the effort they’re putting out there. Those rebounds and the boxouts and all that stuff helps our team win. I realize we get scoring from certain individuals, but the way they play together is just amazing.”
Galvez picked up nine rebounds, and Chandler Lenz came off the bench to pick up six.
The Colts now get a week to rest and practice before closing out the regular season in Ruidoso.
“It’ll be a challenge,” Smith said. “Any time you’re playing away from home, I think there’s always a little added challenge. You’re not used to the court, etc. But I think we’re up to the challenge. I can’t wait to go up there next Friday and see what we can do.”
The junior varsity had a much tougher time against the Rams, falling 70-27 in a match that saw the visitors hit nine 3s.
Andres Hurtado was hot from the outside himself, nailing three treys and a shot from the line to lead NMMI with 10 points.
NMMI Sports Press
The Colt tennis teams opened the season at an early tournament Friday, and while the boys couldn’t get a win vs. 6A Santa Fe — despite a number of close, three-set matches — they swept the host Rockets on the first day of the Goddard Invitational, played on both the Rocket and Gene Hardman tennis courts at NMMI.
“I think we did really well today,” said coach Will Cavin. “When you look at the scores, we should have won our doubles matches, our No. 1 and 2 doubles matches, against Santa Fe. I can’t say I’m disappointed with that, but I think we should have won that.”
With three of the top seven Colts not in the lineup, others had to step up.
Francisco Saracho, who should be No. 2, still got a 7-5, 6-7, 10-2 win vs. Sonam Phuntsog at No. 1 singles. Luis Fontes Plascencia, normally at No. 4, played No. 2, winning 6-2, 6-3 and No. 4 Felix Higuera Rodriguez won 4-6, 6-1, 12-10.
In doubles, the No. 3 team of Ongay Campuzano and Sebastian Aguirre Russek won 6-3, 7-6, 10-6, but No. 1 Saracha and Fontes lost their match 7-6, 6-2 and Spencer Treat and Higuera lost 2-6, 6-3, 8-10 at No. 2.
On the girls side, Megan Lynch swept by both her opponents. She topped Lady Demon Dakota Haraden 6-0, 6-0 and Lady Rocket Brittann Maidment 6-1, 6-1.
With JinXiu Dong at No. 1 doubles, the pair swept their opponents 6-0, 6-0 (Santa Fe) and the Goddard duo of Maidment and Noor Osmani by a tougher 6-3, 3-6, 11-9.
While the rest of the Lady Colts lost, Cavin was happy with how they performed.
“The girls got a lot of experience today,” he said.” I think they showed improvement. I was happy with the progress the girls made because a lot of them are just really starting their tennis careers. So I think they competed and did well considering. They’ve got a lot of room to grow, but they’re growing, so that’s a good thing.”
Both teams start play Saturday at 8:15 a.m., then get several weeks to tune up before getting back on the courts at the Coyote Classic, which isn’t until March 4-5.
“I think tomorrow’s boys match with St. Mike’s will be a good match, and I just look forward to getting a couple of players back and seeing what we do in the middle of March,” Cavin said.
Santa Fe 5, NMMI 4
No. 1, Francisco Saracho, NMMI, def. Sonam Phuntsog, SF, 7-5, 6-7 10-2
No. 2, Luis Fontes Plascencia, NMMI, def. Edward Medina, SF, 6-2, 6-3
No. 3, Isaiah Wilder, SF, def. Spencer Treat, NMMI, 6-2, 7-5
No. 4, Felix Higuera Rodriguez, NMMI, def. Jorge Antuna, SF, 4-6, 6-1, 12-10
No. 5, Joaquin Carretero, SF, def. Ignacio Ongay Campuzano, NMMI, 6-4, 6-1
No. 6, Curtis Althaus, SF, def. Sebastian Aguirre Russek, NMMI, 6-1, 6-4
No. 1, Phuntsog/Antuna, SF, def. Saracha/Fontes, NMMI, 7-6, 6-2
No. 2, Medina/Wilder, SF, def. Treat/Higuera, NMMI, 6-2, 3-6, 10-8
No. 3, Ongay/Aguirre, NMMI, def. Althaus/Sanchez, SF, 6-3, 7-6, 10-6
NMMI 8, Goddard 0
No. 1, Francisco Saracho, NMMI, def.Matt Elwell, GHS, 6-2, 6-3
No. 2, Luis Fontes Plascencia, NMMI, def. Leo Melendez, GHA, 6-2, 6-4
No. 3, Spencer Treat, NMMI, def. Marc Nava, GHS, 6-3, 6-1
No. 4, Felix Higuera Rodriguez, NMMI, def. Cam Kennon, 6-0, 6-1
No. 5, Ignacio Ongay Campuzano, NMMI, def. Chris Brooks, GHS, 6-0, 6-0
No. 6, Sebastian Aguirre Russek, NMMI, def. Glenn Cunnigham, GHS, 6-0, 6-2
No. 1, Saracha/Fontes, NMMI, def. Elwell/Melendez, GHS, 6-1, 6-1
No. 2, Treat/Higuera, NMMI, def. Nava/Kennon, GHS, 6-1, 6-1
Santa Fe 7, NMMI 2
No. 1, Megan Lynch, NMMI, def. Dakota Haraden, 6-0, 6-0
No. 2, Alyssa Peralta, SF, def. JinXiu Dong, NMMI, 6-3, 6-3
No. 3, Lily Farr, SF, def. Sofia Brassea Flores, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0
No. 4, Tara Varnum, SF, def. Claudia Gerhardus Blancarte, NMMI, 6-0, 6-1
No. 5, Megan Varnum, SF, def. Savannah Lee, NMMI, 6-1, 6-1
No. 6, Dani Britt, SF, def. Miranda Nepip, 6-0, 6-1
No. 1, Lynch/Dong, NMMI, def. Haraden/Farr, SF, 6-3, 6-3
No. 2, Peralta/T. Varnum, SF, def. Brassea/Gerhardus, 6-0, 6-2
No. 3, Jessie Szabat/M. Varnum, SF, def. Lee/Nepip, NMMI, 6-1, 6-0
Goddard 7, NMMI 2
No. 1, Megan Lynch, NMMI, def. Brittann Maidmeny, GHS, 6-1, 6-1
No. 2, Noor Osmani, GHS, def. JinXiu Dong, NMMI, 6-0, 6-3
No. 3, Alex Carsario, GHS, def. Sofia Brassea Flores, NMMI, 6-1, 6-0
No. 4, Tati Villa, GHS, def. Claudia Gerhardus Blancarte, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0
No. 5, LIzzy Latimer, GHS, def. Savannah Lee, NMMI, 6-2, 6-1
No. 6, Sian Cordero, GHS, def. Miranda Nepip, 6-0, 4-6, 10-5
No. 1, Lynch/Dong, NMMI, def. Maidmant/Osmani, GHS, 6-3, 3-6, 11-9
No. 2, Casario/Villa, GHS, def. Brassea/Gerhardus, 6-2, 6-0
No. 3, Latimer/Cordero, GHS, def. Lee/Nepip, NMMI, 6-4, 6-4