Category Archives: Athletics

Bronco men’s, women’s tennis get high end-of-fall rankings

Herman Abban

Herman Abban is ranked 25th nationally among all junior college players.

Karen Boehler
NMMI Sports Press

Lorraine Banimataku is ranked 16th in the country,

Lorraine Banimataku is ranked 16th in the country.

The Bronco fall tennis season ended on a high note Wednesday with the final fall rankings released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

Both the men and women were ranked in the top 10 as teams, with the Broncos seventh and the Lady Broncos ninth.

“Definitely our highest finish in a while, regardless of whether it’s spring or fall,” said men’s coach William O’Connell. “So pretty excited about that.”

Women’s coach Dan O’Connell said the rankings came as a pleasant surprise.

Noureldin Adam is 35th in singles, and the duo of Abban and Adam are eighth.

Noureldin Adam is 35th in singles, and the duo of Abban and Adam are eighth.

“It really doesn’t tell the true story of why they’re ranking us ninth in the nation, because we only have four girls on our team,” the coach said. “So it’s a little out of focus right now, but based on the great results of our top three girls, two of them who are ranked very high, that says a lot for their ability because we don’t have a full team.”

Individually, Lorraine Banimataku is ranked 16th with Thea Minor in 26th. Lorish Puluspepne is 36th, and the doubles team of Banimataku/Minor is 10th nationwide.
“I’m really proud and happy for our top three girls for getting ranked so high,” Dan O’Connell said. “They’re very good players.”

And, he said, if two players from Africa (Ghana and Zimbawbe) arrive in January as expected — making a full team — the Lady Broncos could go even higher as a team.

Thea Minor drew a 25th ranking from the ITA.

Thea Minor drew a 26th ranking from the ITA.

“We would be extremely strong, because these two new girls from Africa I know are very good players, so we would certainly deserve a ranking in the top 10 some place.”

On the men’s side, while happy with the team ranking, William O’Connell was a little disappointed with the individual spots, with Herman Abban 25th and Noureldin Adam 35th.

Abban closed out the 2015 spring season ranked 12th, but despite beating the current No. 12-ranked player and winning two tournaments and making the finals in another, he dropped a dozen places.

“It’s just how the cookie crumbles,” the coach said.

Lorish Puluspene is ranked 26 nationally.

Lorish Puluspene is ranked 26 nationally.

As a pair, Adam and Abban have their highest ranking, sitting at No. 8, and since Adam also has a win over a higher-ranked player (No. 10), William O’Connell thinks the ranking will help his players prepare for spring play.

“I think the guys have responded to the rankings well,” he said. “They’re not set and happy with this spot, and they’re hungry to do better. So I’m sure it will provide them the needed motivation over Thanksgiving break and the Christmas break and we look forward to seeing what they can do in the spring.”

Dave Romero was ranked in the regional seedings,

Dave Romero was ranked in the regional poll, getting 13th in doubles.

A little bit closer to home, in the ITA’s Region II grouping, which includes JC teams from New Mexico, Texas and Arizona, the Lady Broncos are fourth as a team, with Banimataku 7th, Minor in14th and Puluspepne 18th. Banimataku/Minor are fifth in doubles, with Amanda Hawkins and Puluspepne in 13th.

The men are also fourth as a team, with Abban nine, Adam 15th and their doubles pairing at 15th. Julian Hawkins and Dave Romero made the doubles squad in 13th.

For complete rankings, click here

Amanda Hawkins helped the Lady Broncos to their 9th place team ranking.

Amanda Hawkins helped the Lady Broncos to their 9th place team ranking.


Bronco hoopsters come back for OT victory

Karen Boehler
NMMI Sports Press

BrBaskNavBarGraphicLEVELLAND, Texas — The Broncos faced just about everything a basketball team can face in one game in their 92-90 overtime victory vs. Collin County Saturday.

They had ups. They had downs.

They shot well but trailed at the half. Took a big lead in the second only to lose it as the time ran down because of turnovers. They had a last-second shot to tie the game to send it into overtime, then hung on to win by two, despite giving the Cougars a dozen more chances than they had at the free-throw line.

And all that happened vs. one of the better teams the Broncos have faced early in the season.

“It was great team play, and probably our last real, true test before conference,” said coach Ralph Davis.

NMMI trailed 46-40 at the half, then picked up the pace, getting up by 16 before allowing CCC to come back.

“We tried to take the gas off the pedal,” Davis said. “We just wanted to build some clock and really try to slow the game down. But we ended up losing our mojo and they made some free throws and they got up by two.

The Cougars went to the line 44 times, putting in 20 shots. The Broncos only had 32 chances, and because of all the fouls, Ahmed Coulibaly and Nehemiah Mabson both fouled out, and several other Broncos had four fouls by the time the game ended.

“I thought the refs just called it a little too tight,” the coach said.

The hero of the game — of regulation, anyway, was Chaz Lassiter who hit a floater to tie the game and send it into overtime.

On the plus side, the shooting was good — the Institute was 13-of 20 from the 3-point line — and they rebounded well.

“They still got 30 offensive rebounds, which is way too many,” Davis said. “We turned the ball over down the stretch way too many times, 23, so we were a little careless with the basketball. The big thing that we got killed on was free throws.”

Four Broncos were in double figures: Chancellor Ellis with 28 points; Lassister and Mabson 13 each; and Emmanuel Kema 11.

The victory ups NMMI’s record to 6-4, and with two game left vs. non-DI teams before the start of conference, Davis sounds happy with where the Broncos are right now.

“We appreciate being on a five-game winning streak,” he said. “It’s always good to get victories and get some confidence going and learn in a victory. So pretty excited about that.”

Colt runner has big dreams on and off the track

Colt senior Juan Estremadoyro sits on the podium after the annual Bataan Death March marathon in March. (Photo courtesy White Sands Missile Ranger)

Colt senior Juan Estremadoyro stands on the podium after the annual Bataan Death March marathon in March. (Photo courtesy White Sands Missile Ranger)

Karen Boehler
NMMI Sports Press

Juan Estremadoyro makes his way around the course at the District 4AAAA cross country meet in late October.

Juan Estremadoyro makes his way around the course at the District 4AAAA cross country meet in late October.

Cadet Juan Estremadoyro is called sergeant by members of his cadre, and is known as one of the best distance runners at NMMI by everyone who follows cross country or track and field. But if the senior Colt gets his way, in the future people will be calling him “El Presidente.”

“I want to be president of Mexico,” he said, when asked if there was anything he wanted to add during an interview about his running.

That addition came as a surprise, but Estremadoyro said he’s serious about the goal, which he’s been thinking about since his freshman year in Mexico. (He came to NMMI as a sophomore.)

“I want to gather some money and start some businesses, and after that I want to be an independent candidate, without a political party,” he said. “They allowed that the last elections, and we had three people who won.”

Of those three people — a governor and two deputies — Estremadoyro knows one, and will visit with him over the Thanksgiving holiday.

“And he’s going to be my mentor. So that’s cool.”

But even before he had his political dreams, he had tall athletic aspirations.

Colt senior Juan Estremadoyro works his way around the UNM track at the NMAA state tournament in May 2014.

Colt senior Juan Estremadoyro works his way around the UNM track at the NMAA state tournament in May 2014.

“I wanted to win the Olympic games in Taekwondo, like when I was seven. At one point, I felt like I needed to train more, so whenever I finished Taekwondo, I went out to run. And that’s how it all started.”

The Taekwondo training and running went hand in hand. After martial arts classes, he would go running with his father, but he competed in Taekwondo. And at the school he attended in Mexico City, he was winning those competitions.

But then he and his brother went to compete in a bigger tournament.

“And they beat me in the first round,” he said. “They didn’t even let me finish because there was a difference of seven points. Yeah, that was awful.”
The top four finishers in each class at that competition qualified for advanced training, and because Estremadoyro’s brother finished four out of four in his class, he qualified, and Estremadoyro got to tag along.

For the next two years, his mother drove the pair on a four-hour round trip, four times a week, to train, with additional weekend training slightly closer to home.

“Things started to get tougher,” he said. “I was getting better and all that, and then at one point my parents couldn’t take me there any more.”

But by then, Estremadoyro had been running “every day after practice, a lot. I liked running a lot, because I just needed shoes and could go out and run. I didn’t need more people, like in Taekwondo. So I did that every day.”

The last two years he was in Mexico he found a running coach he could get to by public transportation, and slowly started getting his times down, from a 20 minute 5K to 18, and while running cross country and track at the Institute, has taken his time down to 16:20.

But what Estremadoyro really likes is long races, and his goal is to finish a 10K in 25 minutes, a minute below Olympic record.

“When I ran in Mexico, it was always running more distance and more distance,” the senior said. “I started with 5K, actually, every day, and I tried every day to do it in 20 minutes. Because I didn’t know how to train. I just went out and ran. Then I started going longer and longer and longer, trying to keep the pace, and I just like long running. I’m better at long running.”

He showed what he can do in a long race when he competed in the 26th annual Baatan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range in March, finishing third (by chip time) out of more than 3,600 runners.

And while he was third by less than four minutes over the winner — and by a mere 5/10 of a second over second place — he said he really loved the 26.2 run.

“I enjoyed that run a lot,” he said. “Usually after one and a half hour, two hours, you start to get bored with running, but that day I just ran 3:13, I think it was, and it was fun all the way.”

He said he’s having fun at NMMI as well, and now that cross country season is over, can really pile on the training.

“After today (the state XC meet), I get to start training a lot more because I have the off season, and that’s when I can kill myself and I get way better,” Estremadoyro said.

As for his future, he’ll run the distance races for the Colts come track and field season — “I love to run on the track. I love the floor and the spikes,” he said — then he’s hoping to run for a college in either cross country or track, with his ultimate athletic goal to run for Mexico in the Olympics.

And then, maybe,  just maybe, be elected president of his country.

Bronco shooting returns in 101-70 victory

NMMI Sports Press

BrBaskNavBarGraphicLEVELLAND, Texas — The Bronco basketball team got their second win in a row over a 4-year-college JV squad Friday, pounding the Wayland Baptist junior varsity 101-70 at the South Plains College Tournament.

“On this one, we got back to the shooting ways,” said head coach Ralph Davis. “I thought we came out with some great energy. Jumped on them real quick.”

Despite what Davis called “some nagging injuries” that had a few starters on the bench, NMMI picked up 10 3-pointers in a 10-for-26 effort, and more than that, tallied 60 rebounds on the night.

“We did a good job with that, rebounding the basketball, which is something we’re trying to emphasize a little bit more this year,” Davis said. “I’m excited about that.”

Offensively, the Broncos had five players in double figures, another positive for the game.

“It means we’re sharing the basketball. Sharing the sugar, if you will,” Davis said.

Things will get tougher Saturday when the Broncos face Collin County, a Region V team that’s 5-3 on the season with a three-game winning streak.

“They’re a pretty talented team, so we look forward to the opportunity to get another good test before conference starts up,” Davis said. “Collin County should be more challenging. A better indicator of of where we’re at heading into conference, I think.”

That game is set to begin at noon CST.

Ralph Davis is official as Bronco basketball head coach

Left to right: New Bronco basketball head coach Ralph Davis, Athletic Director Jose Barron, and former Bronco basketball head coach Sean Schooley.

Left to right: New Bronco basketball head coach Ralph Davis, Athletic Director Jose Barron, and former Bronco basketball head coach Sean Schooley.

Karen Boehler
NMMI Sports Press

On Friday, Ralph Davis was named the head coach of the Bronco men’s basketball team at the New Mexico Military Institute. That position became final, as all the Is were dotted and Ts crossed on the paperwork that lets Davis officially succeed Sean Schooley as the Bronco head coach.

“I’m excited. I’m definitely honored,” Davis said. “I’m blessed to have this opportunity. It’s not something that anybody should ever take for granted, to be a head coach at any level, and I’m glad I’m able to come back to my alma mater and do it. I look forward and am very excited for the future.”

Davis has been with NMMI since he was a Bronco player from 2003-2005. He briefly left to finish his playing days at Texas A&M Kingsville, where he got his Masters degree and served as a graduate assistant coach. In 2009, he stepped in as Bronco assistant when Schooley took over for Reggie Franklin.

And both Davis and Schooley felt the time was right for him to assume the head coaching mantle.

“Obviously, last year, making it back to the regional tournament for the first time in 14 seasons, that was a very big part of it,” Davis said. “Having him step down at the right time. We wanted to make sure that we experienced some success and we had, in the six years I was assistant, gotten progressively better, save for maybe one blip here or there, but we’ve gotten better every single year. So from that standpoint, I think it was important he finished on a high note.”

“We had a very good team last year,” Schooley agreed. “That played a major, major role in it. But it was time to do it.”

Davis, who grew up in New York City and northern New Jersey, has been doing most of the recruiting for the Broncos the past few years, and, as the assistant coach, the recruits fit into Schooley’s idea of the ideal athlete.

“I’ve been recruiting definitely his style of guy,” Davis said. “Which is an athletic, tough, hard-nosed defender. Naturally, because I’ve been with him so long, that’s translated into my style of guy. One change I did try to make an emphasis on is more shooting. I thought as well as we played last year, we weren’t able to hit 3s. We weren’t able to hit jump shots; make shots when it counted. So I tried to find a mix of guys who were tough, hard-nosed and physical, and also have the ability to stretch the floor and hit some jump shots as well.”

And that’s showing on the court early this season.

Davis thanked athletic director Jose Barron; NMMI president major-general Jerry Grizzle; Schooley; and Franklin for bringing him into the NMMI family, and the feeling is definitely mutual.

DavisAndSchooley“I think Ralph’s going to do a great job,” said Schooley, who will remain in the department in an administrative role. “Being with us for six years and him being a former cadet and former player and everything, I think he’s going to do an outstanding job and just offer him nothing but pure support and wish him nothing but the best.”

“I am excited to have a person of Ralph’s experience and background as our new basketball coach,” Barron said. He obviously has big shoes to fill, but having been a successful cadet here, having played in this system, and knowing the Institute as well as he does, I think he is not only a good fit, but the ideal fit for our program going forward. I am also confident that he will continue to recruit players that will be successful not only in basketball, but academically and in the corps of cadets.”