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Conference Change Coming for Bronco Football

BrFootJoinsSWJCFCPrepared by Geoff Gunn
NMMI Sports Information
Thurs. July 23, 20015

Roswell, NM – Starting with 2016 season, the junior college Bronco football team at New Mexico Military Institute will join the Southwest Junior College Football Conference.

The announcement came early Thursday morning from NMMI Athletic Director Jose Barron. “We are delighted to have been invited to such a prestigious conference, and look forward to the Fall of 2016,” said Barron.

The Bronco football program has been a member of the nine-team Western States Football League since the program’s re-inception in 1992, after a 10-year hiatus. The Broncos will remain in the WSFL for the upcoming 2015 season.

The SWJCFC is currently comprised of seven schools: the Blinn College Buccaneers in Brenham, TX; the Cisco College Wranglers in Cisco, TX; the Kilgore College Rangers in Kilgore, TX; the Navarro College Bulldogs in Corsicana, TX; the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen in Miami, OK; the Trinity Valley CC Cardinals in Athens, TX; and the Tyler Junior College Apaches in Tyler, TX.

When asked about the reasons for the conference change, Head Bronco Football Coach Joe Forchtner replied “I think it just makes sense from a geographic and competitive standpoint. Six of the seven current members are Texas schools. Our basketball program, our volleyball program, our baseball program all play schools to the east of us; they’re all playing Texas schools. That’s a natural set of rivalries that our school has and I think it’s important for our football program to be a part of that, too.”

Coach Forchtner continued by saying that the SWJCFC is one of the top conferences in the nation for junior college football. That statement is backed up by NJCAA National Championship titles – 16 total by the current members of the SWJCFC, including three since 2006. “It’s always kind of nerve-wracking seeing what you’re getting yourself into but we’re excited. We’ve played Cisco and we’ve played Navarro, but we’ve never gone through that conference from start to finish for the length of a season. I know it it’s a good conference, top to bottom, and it’s going to be a challenge all the way through.”

Coach Forchtner also wanted to thank the members of the SWJCFC committee for the invitation to join the conference. “The support from the conference has been great. I think the coaches passed it unanimously, the presidents passed it unanimously. It’s a move that will be beneficial both for us and for the SWJCFC, and obviously it feels good to be wanted, especially by such a great league.”

One of those voting committee members is Brad Smiley, the Athletic Director and Head Football Coach at Trinity Valley Community College. Coach Smiley had this to say: “The members of the Southwest Junior College Football Conference (SWJCFC) are extremely excited about the addition of New Mexico Military Institute to our league. The opportunity to add a football program with such a great tradition and rich history only adds to what we feel is already one of the strongest junior college football conferences in the country.”

No schedules for the 2016 season are available yet; the conference redraws the schedule today.

Bronco Football Summer Kids Camp – teaching more than just football skills

by Geoff Gunn
NMMI Sports Information Director

Coach Bische and a camper working on a drill designed to teach running and ball-handling skills.

Coach Bisch and a camper working on a drill designed to teach running and ball-handling skills.

More than 60 kids from the Roswell area attended this year’s Football Summer Camp, put on by the coaches and players of the New Mexico Military Institute Bronco football team. The three-day camp for six through 12 year-olds was held on campus at the Stapp Parade field on July 6-8, and was designed to teach basic football skills in a fun, character building manner.

Bronco football defensive coordinator Jamison Bisch was again this year’s camp director, his third-straight season at the helm. “The first thing we are looking for with these kids is to teach more than just football. Each day we are trying to find a theme that we want to reiterate as the day goes on,” said coach Bisch. “Every day I have a different coach who is responsible for the theme. We like to focus on building character, things like academics, respect, hard work; basically the same things we try to instill in our Bronco football players here at NMMI.”

Great catch – excellent energy!

Great catch – excellent energy!

The camp’s theme for day one was Energy.  “This is what we call juice here at NMMI,” said Bisch. “It’s about coming prepared, being active, being positive; it’s about bringing and maintaining a lot of energy to whatever you’re doing, whether it’s football or anything else.”

“Second, we want to teach the basics of the game,” continued Bisch. “We’ll spend a decent part of our day focusing on basic skills: how to hold a football, how to throw a football, how to get into a good stance.”

In addition to the themes and fundamentals, the kids are also ‘tested’ in a wide variety of skill drills. “After going over the basics, we always want to give our kids something to measure themselves by. Today we did a pass, punt and kick competition. Tomorrow we’ll do a 40-yard dash and couple of other skill drills. We’ll also record their height and weight,” said Bisch.

Working on the kicking game - special teams are always important.

Working on the kicking game – special teams are always important.

“What’s nice about this is we’ll give them a certificate when camp is done so they can measure themselves, see how they did, and hang it up on their wall. And if it’s a kid who comes back multiple years, they are going to see the gains they’ve made over 12 months, whether they grew six inches or they threw the ball 10 more yards.”

Bronco Ball!

Bronco Ball!

The final part of the four-hour camp day is Bronco Ball, where the kids form up into teams and play a heavily modified version of football. The object is still the same: the offense tries to score a touchdown by advancing the ball past the goal line, while the defense tries to prevent it. The biggest differences are that no contact is allowed and the ball can only be advanced by passing the football to another teammate. Once the ball is caught, the player can only advance two steps before having to attempt a pass to another teammate. If the ball falls on the ground, or is intercepted, the opposing team takes possession right there and play continues immediately. “A lot of people call it Speed Ball,” says coach Bisch. “It’s fast, it’s competitive, it’s active, and the kids love it.”

Crossing Pacific to Play Tennis at NMMI

By Jeff Jackson
Sports and Feature Writer for the Roswell Daily Record

Last season’s women’s junior college tennis team at the New Mexico Millitary Institute had only four players, and all came from the Pacific Islands. Pictured with coach Dan O’Connell are, from left, Amanda Hawkins, Thea Minor, Lorraine Banimataku and Lorish Puluspene.

Last season’s women’s junior college tennis team at the New Mexico Millitary Institute had only four players, and all came from the Pacific Islands. Pictured with coach Dan O’Connell are, from left, Amanda Hawkins, Thea Minor, Lorraine Banimataku and Lorish Puluspene.

While tennis players often say they’re on an island, several on the New Mexico Military Institute teams actually are from islands. Six of 11 players on the Broncos’ two teams last season came from an island somewhere in the Oceania region, and it’s been that way for years.

Father-and-son coaching team Dan and William O’Connell have a tennis pipeline that brings players half way around the world to Roswell and the military academy. It started 20 years ago when Dan founded an International Tennis Federation development program in Fiji that drew interest from NMMI’s coaches at the time, Gene Hardman and Dick Satterlee. “I needed some place to send my champions and I didn’t know what to do,” Dan O’Connell said. “A coach said, ‘Dan, you should try New Mexico Military Institute. That was the coach from a different junior college so I started this thing going and Gene Hardman said, ‘Hey, whoever you have, I’ll take them.’ ”

In 20 years, O’Connell estimates there have been more than 20 players from the islands who first went to the tennis center in Fiji and then to NMMI. And before O’Connell was building that program he worked in Africa, where he journeyed to with the Peace Corps.

“Sometimes it’s hard to get people to come to NMMI,” said O’Connell, who has dual citizenship with Fiji and the United States. “Beggars can’t be choosers. There’s no opportunities out there in the Pacific for these kids. They come here and they learn. My son came here and it wasn’t for the tennis. It was because what you could learn in life here. NMMI was having a hard time recruiting people. It was a good fit and we offered full scholarships. Our kids came here and the majority of them that have come here have moved on to Division I or II scholarships.”

All four players on the women’s team last season are islanders and are returning for the 2015 fall season as sophomores. As players in Oceania, they are raw but when they get to NMMI they improve with competition plus receive a military academy education. “We’ve had two or three not make it academically, but you can ask any of them, it’s changed their lives,” Dan O’Connell said. “They never would have been able to leave their little island nation. But because of the ITF, they go to Fiji and they’re not only speaking their language they’re in a house with 12 kids from six or seven different nations; incredible learning situation for them and we made sure that in the evening they studied because they’re student-athletes. The kids will be forever thankful for coming here. Here they learn life skills.”

Two of those players, Lorraine Banimataku and Thea Minor, have already committed to play at Henderson State University in Arkansas in 2016, with full scholarships.

Despite fielding just four of a normal six players on the squad last spring, the Bronco women finished 18th within their group of 56 junior colleges in the nation. Individually, Minor and Lorish Puluspene reached the quarterfinals of their brackets, while Banimataku played in the consolation finals of her flight.

Before becoming the head coach, William O’Connell was a member of the 2010 and 2011 Bronco men’s tennis teams.

Before becoming the head coach, William O’Connell was a member of the 2010 and 2011 Bronco men’s tennis teams.

On the men’s side, three of NMMI’s best players from the islands over the years have been William O’Connell – now head coach of the Bronco men’s team, Lawrence Tere, and Daneric Hazelman. William O’Connell defeated his close friend Hazelman in late June 6-0, 6-2 in the final of the Nadi Open in Nadi, Fiji. It was his second open championship of the month in Fiji. The two men also team up for in doubles events.

“Last year Daneric was the head coach here before William took over. So there’s a long relationship there,” Dan O’Connell said. “They’ve been best friends since they were 8, 9 years old. We got Daneric to come over here. He then went to Carthage College. He graduated and at that time that’s when Gene passed away and they were looking for a head coach. I suggested Daneric and he took it for one year but he couldn’t get a visa to remain in the states. So he had to leave.”

Daneric Hazelman was the Bronco Men’s head coach during the 2013-14 school year, and  a member of the 2009 and 2010 men’s tennis teams.

Daneric Hazelman was the Bronco Men’s head coach during the 2013-14 school year, and a member of the 2009 and 2010 men’s tennis teams.

William O’Connell represented Fiji in the 2013 Davis Cup and could again for 2016 if he qualifies during his play this summer, his father said.

In addition to the islands, Africa also has been a source of players for both Broncos teams, including two coming this year for each squad. That pipeline began when O’Connell left his home in Champaign, Illinois, for a Peace Corps mission in Lesotho, Africa. After two years of service, he chose to stay abroad.

“I didn’t make a lot of money teaching tennis. I just did it because I loved it and in the long run it paid off,” he said. “Fifty miles away on a farm was Craig Tiley’s parents. Craig Tiley became the head coach of the University of Illinois in Champaign where I grew up. So here I am, from Champaign, I go all the way to Africa and then Craig Tiley was from Africa goes all the way to Illinois. He won a national championship for the University of Illinois (2003). And now Craig Tiley’s the head man at Tennis Australia. So it’s kinda of a small tennis world.”

Although college rosters do have players from New Mexico and elsewhere in the USA, O’Connell says recruiting and developing domestic players is difficult, and more so at NMMI where athletes also are cadets and attend under strict guidelines. “I thought the junior colleges had it right the last four or five years when they said you could only have two internationals,” O’Connell said. “They changed the rules this last year. First of all, two of the four girls on my team carry U.S. passports, so they’re Americans. But now you can have all internationals and that’s kind of sad for the American kids. … So we’re losing scholarships for our American kids and they’re going to internationals. I understand that point a lot and there really should be more done about it. But there’s not and I’m going to get more internationals; that’s my strength.”

Rhoades signs with DII Angelo State

Karen Boehler
NMMI Sports Press

Shaquan Rhoades poses for a quick pre-signing pic with friends and host-family.

Shaquan Rhoades poses for a quick pre-signing pic with friends and host-family.

Shaquan Rhoades is the latest Bronco basketball player to move up to a four-year college, and he sounds really stoked about his new home at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas.

“I went to visit on Wednesday, and it was a great visit,” Rhoades said. “I really had a great bond with the head coach.”

The former NMMI hoopster will be joining newly promoted head coach Cinco Boone on a team that went 47-15 over the past two years — 28-6 in 2014-2015 — setting numerous school records and advancing to the NCAA Division II Sweet 16 in post-season play for the first time ever in the school’s history.

“We just kind of connected,” Rhoades said of his new coach. “We just had a crazy bond. From the start, I had a great time.”

The 6-foot-2 point guard from Virginia is no stranger to leading teams to rarefied heights. Last season was the first time since the 1970s the Broncos advanced to the NJCAC Region V tournament, and they did that, said head coach Sean Schooley, because of Rhoades.

“He was the main focus point of our team this year,” the coach said. “He was the steady of it. And when he was active and had his head totally focused in it, I knew we had a chance to win.”

As a freshman, Rhoades was forced into a starting position he wasn’t quite ready for, but he grew into the leadership position as a sophomore, earning WJCAC All Conference honors by averaging 8.4 points per game; 45 total assists and 74 rebounds.

“I feel like I grew more as a person, and I grew more as a player also,” he said of his time with the Broncos. “It started with me having to take that different road as a player on a team. Just from that point on, I just wanted to continue to get better, day in and day out. And both my coaches, coach Schooley and coach (Ralph) Davis, they pushed me every single day. And I just think it made me who I am today, and I just want to continue keep doing the same thing.”

But while Rhoades has big stats, he doesn’t have a big head. In fact, he wants to earn his way onto the Ram team.

“(Coach Boone) said he wanted me to come in and have the starting position, but I told him,
‘Don’t give me the starting position.’ I told him, from Day 1, I want to earn everything I get. I don’t want no easy routes. No shortcuts. I want to earn everything I get.”

Schooley wasn’t surprised.

“This one is very special to me because he came in and really worked; really developed and he really cares about his teammates and his coaches and the program and stuff,” he said. “I’m extremely proud of Soldier (Rhoades’ nickname) and everything he’s done, on and off the court, and I can’t wait to see what he does at the next level. I couldn’t be more proud.”

The basketball player won’t be spending all his time on the court in San Angelo. He plans on studying criminology, business and kinesiology in his junior year.

“I kind of have an interest in all three, so I just kind of want to see how it’ll go my first year,” he said.

And he credits NMMI with making him able to accomplish everything he’s done, and look to the future.

“NMMI did a lot (for me),” he said. “The first three weeks were probably the toughest three weeks of my life. It was crazy, and to just get through two years here was phenomenal. It was a great experience. It just made me into a totally better person. I’ve grown so much in these past three years, it’s crazy. I’m more disciplined now. I manage my time well. It taught me a lot.”

Moore, Walker lead Colts at district track

Karen Boehler
NMMI Sports Press

For their first year running track in AAAA, the Colts didn’t do too badly.

While Portales ran away with the title with 118 points, NMMI finished second on its home track, the Wool Bowl, compiling 68 points through 19 events.

“The kids ran well,” said coach Randy Montoya. “It’s just a tribute to our kids. They’ve been working had all year and I’m happy for them. We’ve got a few more kids who qualified for state, so again, to be able to go into a hard district and do what we do, it’s been very nice.”

Senior Dominic Moore gave the Colts the most points, winning the 100-meter dash; running the third leg of the first-place medley relay; taking second in the long jump; and anchoring the third place 4×100.

“He’s a senior,” Montoya said. “I wish I had him for one more year. He’s just a hard, tough-nosed kid. He does anything and everything we ask of him. He’s just a great kid. I’m glad he was able to do what he was able to do this year.”

Other Institute gold medalists included Daniel Marquez in the 200 and Carlos Xibille in the triple jump.

The Lady Colts had a tougher day, but with only a handful of athletes, still picked up 13 points.

“We just don’t have the numbers,” Montoya said. “The girls we do have they compete well. They do everything they can; everything we ask of them. It’s just we don’t have that many to choose from.”

They were led by sophomore Sierra Walker, who took second in the 400-meter dash and anchored what had to be the most exciting race of the day.

That race, for both the girls and boys, was the 1,600-meter medley relay.

In the girls race, NMMI was a distant third after both 200-meter legs and the 400-meter lap. But Sierra Walker never gave up, pushing her way past the second-place Ruidoso runner and while she couldn’t catch the East Mountain leader, she stretched her lead over the now third-place runner to give the Lady Colts a ticket to state.

The boys side wasn’t quite as exciting, but the Institute was in second place heading into the 800-meter lap. Spencer Lane took the baton, quickly passed the leader and stretched his way to a first-place finish.

Montoya had praise for both anchor runners in the relays.

“(Sierra’s) just been tough all year,” he said. “We’ve got some great runners in our district from East Mountain and all that, so it’s good for her to compete like that.”

As for Lane, “He came through tough and strong,” the coach said. “He’s just one of those kids you put a challenge in front of him, he accepts that challenge and does everything he can to succeed at that challenge and obviously he saw that there in the medley, so he did a great job.”

NMMI was competing in a much tougher district than in the past, but Montoya was proud of what his teams did.

“It is obviously a tougher district. We’ve got some good quality teams. The kids have just done a good job of competing and doing the best they can.”

NMMI results from the District 4-4A track meet
Boys, team — 1, Portales, 118; 2, NMMI, 68; East Mountain, 58; 4, Ruidoso, 43
Individual
100-meter dash — 1, Dominic Moore, 10.9; 3, Homero Melis, 11.31
200-meter dash — 1, Daniel Marquez, 22.65; 4, Tymon Dalton, 24.34; 10 (tie), Lane Major, Fausto Baranzini, 25.55
400-meter dash — 3, Daniel Marquez, 52.587, 7, Giovani Borunda, 56.24
110-meter hurdles — 5, Trent Foster, 19.08; 6, Drake Williams, 21.08
300-meter hurdles — 7, Trent Foster, 49.37; 10, Nathan Hudgeons, 54.14
800-meter run — 7, Joshua Pinon, 2:19.40
1,600-meter run — 2, Juan Estramadoyro, 4:39.84
3,200-meter run — 2, Juan Estremadoyro, 10:45.44; 3, Fernando Rodriguez, 11:53.14; 4, Benjamin Clemens, 12:18.84; 7, Kristian Gonzalez, 12:58.74
4×100-meter relay — 3, NMMI (Daniel Marquez, Homero Melis, Tymon Dalton, Dominic Moore), 44.99
4×200-meter relay — 3, NMMI (Homero Melis, Carlos Xibile, Fausto Baranzini, Tymon Dalton), 1:38.65
4×400-meter medley relay — 1, NMMI (Daniel Marquez, Fausto Baranzini, Dominic Moore, Spencer Lane), 3:44.02
4×400-meter relay — 3, NMMI (Fausto Baranzini, Giovani BOrunda, Spencer Lane, Carlos Xibile), 3:47.94
Pole Vault — 4, Lane Major, 9-6
Discus — 4, Christian Taylor, 94-7; 5, Nathan Hudgeons, 93-10 1/2; 6, Joe Bridges, 89-11 1/2; 10, Dillion Hall, 60-3 1/2
Shot Put — 6, Joe Bridges, 30-06; 7, Drake Williams, 29-04; 9, Dillion Hall, 24 1/2
Javelin — 9, David Gofman, 98-7 1/2; Christian Taylor, 92-10 1/2; 12, Jonathan Stokes, 92-5 1/2; 13, Nathan Hudgens, 84-9; 14, Dillion Hall, 77-2 1/2
Long jump — 2, Dominic Moore, 19-2; 10, Giovani, Borunda, 15-7
Triple jump — 1, Carlos Xibille, 37-10; 4, Tymon Dalton, 33-6; 5, Juan Larrieu, 32-00
High jump — 2, Homero Melis, 5-04

Girls, team — 1, Ruidoso, 137; 2, Portales, 88; 3, East Mountain, 41; 4, NMMI, 13
Individual
200-meter dash — 9, Krystal Graves, 29.37
400-meter dash — 2, Sierra Walker, 1:01.27
100-meter hurdles — 8, Natalie Holnes, 24.43
300-meter hurdles — 10, Natalie Holnes, 58.96
3,200-meter run — 2, Andrea Anchondo, 14:19.44
4×400-meter medley relay — 2, NMMI (Amira Hindi, Alexandria Rivera, Krystal Graves, Sierra Walker), 4:45.24
1,600-meter run — 5, Amira Hindi, 6:11.93
Discus — 9, Alexandria Rivera, 62-11
Javelin — 9, Natalie Holnes, 69-1
Long jump — 12, Grace Tompkins, 12-00