Category Archives: College Sports

Bronco tennis hoping for individual success at nationals

Left to right: Gabriel Atteh, Kukutla Mutlojoa, Coach Daniel Dominguez, Marcel Agbegne and Noureldin Adam

Left to right: Gabriel Atteh, Kukutla Mutlojoa, Coach Daniel Dominguez, Marcel Agbegne and Noureldin Adam

NMMI Sports Press

Plano, Texas — The Bronco men’s tennis team battled adversity from the start of this year’s season, but despite only having four players on the squad — and only three after an injury to No. 1 player Noureldin Adam, NMMI came close to winning as many matches as they lost, including the regional title vs. Collin College.

“Although we didn’t win the match, we were close,” said first-year head coach Daniel Dominguez.

Adam won the individual regional title with a 6-4, 7-6(4) victory over Daniel Stormon, while No. 2 doubles Marcel Agbegne and Atteh Gabriel, both freshmen from Ghaha, won 4-6, 6-3, 10-4.

Adam and Kukutla Mutlojoa, a freshman from Lestoho, lost a tough 6-4, 7-5(5) No. 1 doubles match. Mutlojoa lost at No. 2 singles 6-3, 7-5 and No. 4 Gabriel just missed in a 6-4, 2-6, 10-8 loss.

With only four players on the team, that meant three matches automatically went to the opposing squad, and that, Dominguez said, was the story of the season, with three 5-4 losses and one 6-3.

A fifth player expected to arrive in December never made it to the Institute, and had he been there, said girls coach Dan O’Connell,”there would have been a great chance we would have won, because that kid was a pretty good player. So with four players they did exceptional.”

Dominguez agreed.

“Even though we only had four players, I think those four players made up for the other three matches we couldn’t play,”

Atteh arrived in January and had a tough time of it at No. 4, but gave it a great effort, the coach said.

Agbegne won the team award for “most improved player,” with one thrilling match highlighting the season.

“I think the biggest highlight for him was when we played Tyler in Oklahoma. He was able to win a match at the No. 3 position against Tyler, which is the No. 1 junior college in the nation,” the coach said.

That was the only win for the Broncos in that March 31 match against the nation’s top team.

Mutlojoa was awarded the most inspirational award for the season, as the Lesotho native played a finesse game.

“What we like about him as a player is he’s the most consistent player, as far as being out there on the court; keeping balls on the court,” Dominguez said. “The downside of it is he sometimes gets overpowered by players, but that’s not a bad thing. He’s only a freshman and I think he’s going to continue to get stronger as he plays more matches.”

At No. 1, Adam, a sophomore from Sudan who finished All-American last season, was the only returner on the squad. He went 9-5 in singles and 7-5 in doubles despite what could have been a career-ending injury after a singles match at Collin College in mid-February.

“He’s had a couple of tough losses, but I think the fact he was out last semester for a five week period after he had just won the Collin Invite, I think he has bounced back,” Dominguez said. “Not sure I can say he has bounced back up to his top level, but I think he’s doing well considering.”

Adam went 3-3 in both singles and doubles after the injury and earned the NMMI overall “Most Inspirational Bronco” award as well as team MVP.

“This kid overcame a lot,” the coach said. Adam ended the regular season ranked No. 13 nationally and moved up to No. 9 after his regional victory.

The Broncos head back to Plano for the NJCAA men’s national championships May 15-19, and it’ll be an interesting return for Dominguez, who played on a NMMI squad in which every player earned points. He’s hopeful but not sure that will happen this year.

“Obviously as a coach you always want to push your players to do their best, but I think the level now is a little tougher than when I was playing,” he said. “Even though we have good chances for the four guys to win matches, I think the level is a little different now.”

He’d really like to see Adam match his 2016 finish.

“I think Adam, if he’s playing his best, he can achieve All-American status again this year. And maybe him and Kukula at doubles as well.”

All four players will go to Texas, jumping on a bus the minute graduation is over.

Region V tournament results

Collin College 7, NMMI 2

No. 1

(13) Noureldin Adam, NMMI, def. (30) Daniel Stormon, CCC, 6-4, 7-6 (4)
No. 2
James Corns, CCC, def. Kukutla Motlojoa, NMMI, 6-3, 7-5
No. 3
Akinori Wada, CCC, def. Marcel Agbegne, NMMI, 6-3, 6-1
No. 4
Emilio Chavez, CCC, def. Atteh Gabriel, NMMI, 6-4, 2-6, 10-8
No. 5   Never Scheduled (Incomplete Lineup)
No. 6   Never Scheduled (Incomplete Lineup)

Women’s tennis gets gold at regionals

Left to right: Jewel Ellis, Francisca Nyarko, Mikayla Lopez, Katarzyna Rosikon, Lorish Puluspene , Kathy Clouthier, Hannah Lee and Becsave Pacheco.

Left to right: Jewel Ellis, Francisca Nyarko, Mikayla Lopez, Katarzyna Rosikon, Lorish Puluspene , Kathy Clouthier, Hannah Lee and Becsave Pacheco.

NMMI Sports Press

Plano, Texas. — The Lady Bronco tennis team brought home some shiny hardware from the regional tournament in Texas last week.

Squaring off against Collin College, No. 1 singles Francisca Nyarko won the regional title with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Alex Gilbert; No. 2 Mikayla Lopez defeated Jayme Waytes 6-2, 6-2; and the Broncos combined at No. 1 doubles to eke out a 7-6(5), 3-6, 12-10 victory over Gilbert and Lopez earning them the doubles title.

“It’s been a wonderful, great season with all the girls, and our top two girls have really done a good job,” said head coach Dan O’Connell. “We really didn’t have a chance to win the team trophy (the Broncos were 3-13 on the season), but we’re very, very strong at the top and this year, all the girls improved a lot.”

Nyarko, a sophomore from Ghana, finished at No. 3 last year in regionals, so improved on her finish, and is ranked 18 nationally. Lopez, a freshman from Saipan in the Marianas Islands, is ranked 23rd, and as a pair, the doubles squad is No. 10 in the country.

Their finishes speak for themselves, O’Connell said, but he wanted to praise the rest of his team, who mostly came to the team as beginners.

No. 3 Becsave Pacheco came to NMMI from Dexter with some tennis experience and won the “most improved award” at last week’s Bronco awards ceremony.

“She’s one of our hardest workers,” O’Connell said, explaining the freshman is taking private lessons from men’s coach Daniel Dominguez. “The other girls are more or less beginners, but they’ve improved really a great deal.”

No. 4 Jewel Ellis came to the team in 2015 with no experience but a lot of heart.

“She’s been a lot of fun for two years,” O’Connell said. “It was very hard for her to move around on the court two years ago, more than four or five steps, and if I would rotate a forehand and a backhand then a forehand she would get confused, but now she’s running around on the court like the Energizer bunny. And she has a charming personality. We’re going to miss her.”

No. 5 Katarzyna Rosikon was part of the exchange program between the tennis team and cross country squad designed to help each team field a full squad. She’s headed to a four-year school to continue running, but was a big help on the court.

“We’re going to miss her also,” the coach said of the speedy sophomore. “I enjoyed doing drills with her, where I would hit one ball as far as I could to the left; one all the way to the right. Back and forth and she ran all over the place. So I’m going to miss those girls. They hardly won any matches but they’ve done very, very well.”

Rounding out the team at the regional tournament was freshman Kathy Clouthier from Tucson.

Lorish Pulsiphene was also on the Bronco roster this season so she could complete educational requirements before graduating and heading to Henderson State University, where she’ll join former teammates Thea Minor and Lorraine Banimataku at the four-year school.

Nyarko, Lopez, Pacheco and Clouthier are headed to Clouthier’s home town for the NJCAA women’s national tournament May 7-11 at the Reffkin Tennis Center, while Ellis and Rosikon will get to wrap up their time at NMMI preparing for graduation.

None of the Lady Broncos are seeded at the tourney, but O’Connell expects Nyarko and Lopez to each win a few matches in both singles and doubles. The team will arrive back at NMMI just in time for Nyarko to join the graduation ceremonies.

“I proudly look forward to watching them graduate, then an hour or two after graduation we will get on the bus and I’ll be the bus driver to coach Danny,” O’Connell said. And I’ll be the hamburger boy. “I’ll go get the lunches and whatever coach Danny wants me to do, but I get the pleasure of watching his team at nationals.”

Region V tournament results

Collin College 6, NMMI 3

No. 1

(18) Francisca Nyarko, NMMI, def. (39) Alex Gilbert; 6-1,6-0
No. 2
(23) Mikayla Lopez, NMMI, def. Jayme Waites, CCC, 6-2, 6-2
No. 3
Hannah Rey, CCC, def. Becsave Pacheco, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0
No. 4
Kylie Woody, CCC, def. Jewel Ellis, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0
No. 5
Rachel Clark, CCC, def. Katarzyna Rosikon, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0
No. 6
Tiffani Holman, CCC, def. Kathy Clouthier, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0
No. 1

(10) Nyarko/Lopez, NMMI, def. (22) Gilbert/Bennett, CCC, 7-6(5), 3-6, 12-10
No. 2
Rey/Waites, CCC, def. Pacheco/Rosikon, NMMI, 6-0, 6-1
No. 3
Kanda/Woody, CCC, def. Ellis/Clouthier, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0

Another Bronco netter headed to a four-year school

NMMI's Lorish Surrounded by her teammates, Lorish Puluspene signs her LOI to play at Henderson State next season. Also seated at the table with Puluspene (center) are NMMI Athletic Director Jose Barron (left) and head women's tennis coach Dan O'Connell (right).

Surrounded by her teammates, NMMI’s Lorish Puluspene signs her LOI to play at Henderson State next season. Also seated at the table with Puluspene (center) are NMMI Athletic Director Jose Barron (left) and head women’s tennis coach Dan O’Connell (right).

HendersonStateUReddiesNMMI Sports Press

A long-time student of Lady Bronco tennis coach Dan O’Connell will be joining several teammates at a four-year school. Lorish Puluspene is headed to Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark., joining former teammates Thea Minor and Lorraine Banimataku.

O’Connell is proud of all his athletes, but Puluspene, from Papua, New Guinea, just may be a little extra special, since he’s known her since she was 11 years old.


Lorish Puluspene

“I recruited her to the training center in Fiji,” he said. “She was there with me for six years and then I left to come to the best junior college in the country, New Mexico Military Institute.”

Two years ago, he brought her to the Institute, where she helped the Broncos to success.

“She’s been a fantastic young lady for seven or eight years, and she’ll do very well in life,” the coach said. “I’ll miss her dearly. She’s a superstar.”

During a trip to play the Reddies last year, HSU coach Brenda Joiner asked Puluspene if she wanted to come play for her, and the sophomore said yes.

Lorish Puluspene in a singles match vs. the University of the Southwest on April 21, 2015.

Lorish Puluspene in a singles match as an NMMI freshman vs. the University of the Southwest on April 21, 2015.

“I took that offer,” she said, explaining that playing with her former teammates is the best part. “That’s going to be exciting, especially because one of my best friends (Banimataku) is there. It’s going to be tough for me, because I’ve played her so many times, and we’ve had our ups and downs. Winning, losing and so on.”

Puluspene isn’t sure where she’ll play in the lineup — she’s guessing No. 3 or 4 — but just going on to a four-year college is what’s important. She’s be studying sports management at the DII Great American Conference school, and said what she learned at NMMI will help as she advances.

“What I have learned here I will take to my next school, so it’s going to be easy for me to adjust to my new university,” she said.

And O’Connell was also a huge help.

“He has helped me a lot since I was 11 years old, over in Fiji and now here,” Puluspene said. “He’s helped me a lot in both tennis and academics.”

And, she had a lot of people to thank for her success.

“I would like to thank my family, who’s always been there supporting me throughout my tennis career. And without coach, I wouldn’t be here. Also thanks to NMMI, for bringing me this far in terms of leadership and responsibility. And also, I would like to thank my old coaches from Papua, New Guinea, coach Kwalam Apisah and coach Vera Tere Apisah. And I’m looking forward to joining coach Brenda at Henderson.”

Bronco basketball sends two to play for NM 4-year schools


Surrounded by their coaches and teammates, Maurice Coleman (seated left) and Logan Santiago (seated right) get ready to sign their letters of intent to play at the next level.

Surrounded by their coaches and teammates, Maurice Coleman (seated left) and Logan Santiago (seated right) get ready to sign their letters of intent to play at the next level.

NMMI Sports Press

Eastern_New_Mexico_Greyhounds_logo.svgUntitled-1A pair of Bronco basketball players have signed with four year colleges, and neither will be going very far from NMMI.

Maurice Coleman, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Richmond, Va., is headed just 90 miles up US 70 to Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, while the Bronco’s other sophomore point guard, Logan Santiago, will play for New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, N.M.

NMMI coach Ralph Davis was very happy to see his players advance to the next rung.

“At this level, you’ve got to have talented guards, and both of them are definitely talented,” he said. “More than anything, they bought into the style of play we wanted to showcase. They’re going to be very successful at the next level and I’m very blessed that I had the ability to coach them.”


Sophomore point guard Maurice Coleman

Coleman will play point for the NCAA DII Greyhounds and sounded excited about continuing his career.

“It’s truly a blessing,” he said. “I just want to thank all my coaches and my parents for supporting me and getting me to this point here.”

“They love him. He loves them,” Davis said. “What more can I say besides that? Mo was the absolute epitome of a floor general. He was our MVP this year. It’s an immense job of setting the table, as far as how you want to play defense throughout the whole season. They’re getting a special player who’s going to help them do great things up there.”

And, according to an ENMU press release, that exactly how they feel.

Baseline move by Maurice Coleman during the Broncos' home game vs. Howard College on Feb. 27, 2017.

Baseline move by Maurice Coleman during the Broncos’ home game vs. Howard College on Feb. 27, 2017.

“We’ve been recruiting Maurice all season and one of the blessings of him and who he is, is he’s right here in our backyard,” ENMU head coach Tres Segler said. “New Mexico Military Institute is one of the toughest Division I JUCO programs in the country. What makes them special is what makes Mo special. He brings so many intangibles to the table. We got the best of both worlds in the truest sense. I have a ton of respect for NMMI’s coaching staff and what they’ve done. I think what drew us to Mo is our bloodlines line up. We want to be known as one of the toughest teams in the country and he’s a ‘plug-and-play’ type player. He’s a guy that will come in and make an impact right away.”

At NMMI, Coleman averaged nearly 10 points/game while shooting 41 percent from the court and 35 percent from beyond the arc. He dished out five assists/game and had at least five dimes in 15 games last year, including a season-best of 10 on the road at Frank Phillips.

ENMU went 13-11 7-11 last season, with Segler amassing the most Lone Star Conference wins as a first-year head coach as well as the third-most wins under a first-year head coach.

Coleman, who’ll study sports medicine, wants to help his team succeed.

“I want to make the team better and do what I can when I’m there to further my education,” he said.

As far as what he learned at the Institute, “My time here at NMMI was great from Day 1,” Coleman said. “It was different. I had to adjust and fight through adversity. I’d just wake up every morning knowing I was going to be at a better place. It helped me discipline myself and think about what was ahead, in the future.”


Sophomore point guard Logan Santiago

Santiago will also play for a DII school. The Cowboys compete in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and went 10-17 and 8-14 under coaches Craig Snow and Sean Pryor during the previous two seasons.

“It makes me feel very blessed,” Santiago said of the signing. “I just want to thank all my coaches and my teammates for helping me get where I am now.”

“He’s a speedy guard who has a great ability to score,” Davis said. “He did a great job this year buying in and becoming a two-way player. It took him some time to get it but I think he progressed the way we wanted to see. He should have a very strong career over there at Highlands. They play a very up and down style so he should be able to go up there and score the basketball. So very excited for him. I think it’s a great vehicle for him and coach Pryor did a great job recruiting him.”

Santiago played in all but three of NMMI’s 2016-17 games, scoring almost seven points/game. He shot 41 percent from close in, 35 percent from the outside and was a solid 72 percent from the line.

Snow was happy to sign Santiago.

DSC_0351 (2)

Logan Santiago looks to penetrate from the wing during a game vs. Northern New Mexico College on Jan. 20, 2017.

“We are very excited to welcome Logan Santiago to the Cowboy basketball family,” he was quoted in a release. “Logan is a dynamic perimeter player who can play either guard position.  He is a high-level shot maker both off the dribble and off the catch and was an all-region player as a freshman at Raritan Valley. Logan is also a tough-minded defensive player and will be a major part of our plans moving forward.”

Santiago is still deciding between sports management and communications as his major at Highlands, but knows whatever he does, NMMI gave him a foot up on the competition.

“It helped me learn how to work hard every day. Just pushing through day by day. Getting a good life experience,” he said.

Sosi heads to NAIA Cumberland University

Surrounded by her coaches and teammates, Bronco volleyball's Cherish Sosi gets ready to sign her LOI and continue her playing career as a Phoenix for Cumberland University.

Surrounded by her coaches and teammates, Bronco volleyball’s Cherish Sosi gets ready to sign her LOI and continue her playing career as a Phoenix for Cumberland University.

Karen Boehler
NMMI Sports Press


CumberlandUnivPhoenix150wA fourth player from the national championship-competitor Bronco volleyball team has signed to play for a four-year school.

Cherish Sosi will set for Cumberland University, an NAIA school in Lebanon, Tenn.

Setter Cherish Sosi

Setter Cherish Sosi

“I picked the school because they have a very good pre-med program, and it’s on the east coast, sort of, so that allows me to travel more around the United States,” she said, noting the environment was a key factor as well. “It’s small, just like NMMI, and I just got so accustomed to how we do things here that the change over there won’t be as bad.”

The Mid-South Conference Phoenix are coached by Kathy Slaughter, who led her team to a 19-13, 5-8 record in 2016, ending the season in the quarterfinals of the conference championships.

Jump serve by Cherish Sosi in the Bronco's 1st round match of the 2016 NJCAA National Championships.

Jump serve by Cherish Sosi in the Bronco’s 1st round match of the 2016 NJCAA National Championships.

Sosi, who hopes to study nursing, almost didn’t even make the NMMI squad. The West Jordan High School grad — she was a teammate with Bronco Maluhia Taula at the Utah school — was a setter, and Bronco coach Shelby Forchtner had already signed a setter. Sosi was offered a walk-on position, but didn’t want that.

Then, three days after arriving, the scholarship athlete left, and Sosi got the call.

“We asked Cherish if she wanted the scholarship and she took it,” Forchtner said. “She really needed work in terms of being a collegiate setter, but she was on the floor as a freshman. She was on the floor as a sophomore. She worked really, really, really hard in her offseason. Just in terms of strength and movement and set location and just kind of understanding our offense, so it was really good for us to get a kid in here who is a really good team player and who is energetic. People really like her and being around her, because she ran the floor well for two years. So it’s pretty exciting, when she really had hardly any options out of high school, to come here and then for her to be able to move on to the next level.”

Plus, she is a setter, which is Forchtner’s position, making the job that much harder.

Set by Cherish Sosi in Nationals match vs. Iowa Western CC.

Set by Cherish Sosi in Nationals match vs. Iowa Western CC.

“Setters have a tough road here just because that’s what I did,” the coach said. “I don’t think there’s ever been a setter who’s come through here who’s been, ‘Well, that was easy.’ We put a lot of responsibility on them. We consider them our quarterbacks. We really make them work way harder than the other people around them because of those things. So she has taken that job and that responsibility and me in stride, and most days still likes me. She’s just a great kid.”

That hard work paid off both in the trip to nationals in 2016 plus an All-Conference berth.

What was the biggest thing she learned from her coaches?

“Probably working on the basic fundamentals and techniques and getting those down and being able to implement them in every game,” Sosi said, while noting that hard work paid off elsewhere on campus as well.

“I think it helped with my work ethic and discipline, especially with volleyball and working out. Then the corps and respect and being able to manage my time better.”

While she won’t miss “waking up early,” she will miss her coaches and teammates, and Forchtner said the feeling is mutual.

“We’re losing someone who has been a huge part of our program for the last two years as an all conference setter And she’s just a really great person. She comes from a good family and everybody likes her. She’s the person who gets people hyped up before the game. She has a smile on her face when she’s playing; when I’m not yelling at her.”