Category Archives: Bronco Women’s Cross Country

Bronco XC heads to Garden City for NJCAA National Championships

NMMI Sports Press

The Lady Bronco cross country runners are headed to the national championships Saturday, and while head coach Jan Olesinski knows there’s runners in the mix that few can keep up with, he’s confident his girls could have a solid showing.

“It’s kind of hard, but they come here, they compete well and it’s good,” he said.

The Institute runners competed in five races that counted this fall — plus two scrimmages — with their biggest team finish at the University of the Southwest meet in Hobbs Oct. 19. Running on the Rockwind Golf Course trails, the Broncos took home first place as a team, led by Esther Boran in fifth place as an individual, with a time of 21:46.

The following week they traveled to Ranger, Texas, for the WJCAC Region V meet, where the team placed third against some of the toughest competition they’d seen all year, including the top two teams in the nation, No. 1 El Paso Community College and No. 2 South Plains College.

“Those teams have all the Kenyan runners. There’s two races: all those girls, then everyone else,” laughed Olesinski.

But the Institute runners were near the top of that second group.

Boran, from Papua, New Guinea, again had the fastest time of all the Broncos, finishing 15th in 21:38.8. Tuna Tine, a freshman also from New Guinea, was hot on Boran’s heels, finishing 16th in 21:43.4. Kayla Sisneros, a sophomore from Roswell, was 21st in 22:21.9, followed by sophomore Anna Zimovjanova from Poland (24th, 22:44.3); Sierra Walker – a former member of the NMMI high school team – placed 25th (22:50.2); and freshman Jordan Wilson from Phoenix came in 30th at 23:36.6.

It was a solid finish, and Olesinski is looking for more good runs Saturday.

“I think all of them will have a good race if they come up and compete,” he said.

The National Championships are in Garden City, Kans., at the Buffalo Dunes Golf Course, with the women’s race set to kick things off at noon. Olesinski said the course is supposed to be hilly, and the weather just about right — between 55-60 degrees and sunny.

Especially for the sophomores — who hopefully will impress some of the DI and D-II coaches scouting the race — the race is the most important of the season.

“Because they are looking for college-level competitors, the NJCAA National Championship meet is the race a lot of four-year college coaches are going to be watching; because of that, they have to perform,” Olesinski said.

Expressing his disappointment that NMMI no longer offers women’s track, the coach said his girls would have better chances to be recruited if they could show their running skills in both sports. Because except for Sisneros, who Olesinski thinks is a true XC runner, and Zimovjanova, who also competes in pentathlon, the rest of his team are probably more suited to the long-distance track events.

Coach ‘O’ doesn’t have any special preparations for this week of practice prior to Saturday’s main event, just some sound advice from the former Olympic medalist:

“We need to go out and compete. Just go out and run. Do your best and finish tired. Finish the race like, ‘I did my best. I couldn’t do anything else.’”

Olesinski defends Masters’ World Pentathlon title

Jan Olesinski gets the gold medal at the 2018 UIPM Pentathlon World Championships.

NMMI Sports Press

Multi-sport NMMI coach Jan Olesinski has numerous accolades under his belt, and this July he added one more: two-time champion of the UIPM Masters World Championships.

The UIPM — Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne, or, in English the International Modern Pentathlon Union — hosts biannual competitions in the five-event sport for masters — athletes ages 30 and older.

Olesinski in the combination running and shooting event

In 2016, to celebrate his 60th birthday, Olesinski — who coaches cross country, swimming and track for Institute athletes, as well as fencing and pentathlon for cadets and local residents — decided to compete in the 60+ age category.

And he won.

This year, with the international competition only five hours from his home town in Poland, Olesinski decided that was a good enough reason to compete again. Well, that and to defend his championship title. So he traveled to Halle, Germany and found this year’s competition even more challenging.

Olesinski finishing one of his 400 meter runs.

“It was a bigger crowd than two years ago in Prague and the competition was a little bit tougher,” he said.

The event drew more than 130 athletes from a record 26 countries, including an 80-year-old from Switzerland who ‘officially’ retired after the two-day competition.

The format of the 2018 UIPM Masters allowed participants to compete in the full five-event modern pentathlon (fencing, swimming, equestrian show jumping, and the combined event of pistol shooting and cross country running) or skip the horses, which is common in many Junior pentathlon events.

Olesinski crosses the finish line after his final 400 meter loop.

Olesinski competed in the latter, and placed first in his 60+ age group, with a combined score of 1163, thirty points ahead of his nearest competitor from Germany.

Coach ‘O’ as the NMMI cadets typically call him, further explained how the competition was organized.

“In the normal pentathlon, you do everything in one day. But in the Masters, they try to be nice,” the coach laughed.

Coach Olesinski said they fenced on the first day, swam in the morning of the next, and then finished in the afternoon with the combined shooting and running event.

For the fencing portion of the competition, however, players competed against everyone their age or older, meaning the NMMI coach had to face 24 opponents.

And he did extremely well, going 17-6 in the one-touch bouts to win that event.

“My fencing was very good,” he said, simply.

Olesinski was also pleased with his swimming, which involved 50 meters of freestyle.  He again took first, gliding to the finish in 0:31.75 — 2.3 seconds faster than anyone else in the 60+ age group.

He thought that the combined event was his weakest event, however.

“I didn’t have very good shooting,” he said, laughing that the venue, especially the dim lightning in the gym “wasn’t very helpful for old people to shoot.”

The combined event involves running 400-meters, then stopping to take shots at a target using a laser pistol. The athletes must hit the target five times, or 50 seconds has passed, to continue, with a total of four 400m loops being run with shooting after each. Olesinski said that while elite pentathletes can land all five shots in about eight seconds, for his age group, the best shooting times tended to be around 25-30 seconds.

“Every shot, you have to concentrate,” he said. “If you miss, it’s gone, and if you miss many shots you’re done.”

Olesinki finished in second place in the combined running and shooting event with a time of 7:01.58, just two seconds away from yet another first-place finish.

Overall, coach ‘O’ said he was impressed with how the meet was organized and everyone was treated.

“Everything was very respectful to the athletes,” he said, “from the opening ceremonies to the final medal presentations, the competitions, the anthems and the venue — it was all organized very nicely.”

Still, Olesinski said, the competition wasn’t easy — “There are serious guys, so you have to compete” —and it was stressful, which the coach said he isn’t used to any more.

“You can coach all your life, but when you come to compete it’s a different story,” he again laughed.

But he got through the stress and took home the gold, thanks likely in large part to the support of two of his former pupils, who came to help cheer him on in Germany: his daughter Anya Olesinski, a former junior Olympic pentathlete; and Nathan Schrimsher, who competed in the modern pentathlon for Team USA in 2016 Olympics in Rio.

So will he try again in two years?

Probably not, he said.

“The first time I went over there, two years ago, it was kind of fun. But this one, if you go the second time, then you already know what to expect.”

He enjoyed visiting family and friends before the competition this time and enjoyed sightseeing in Germany. The 2020 competition is in a country he doesn’t feel the need to go back to again, and frankly, he said, “I tell you true, I really don’t like to compete anymore.”

Still, he’s not counting out going back in four years, just to see if he still has what it takes to compete.

Olesinski on the podeum along with the other medalists at the 2018 UIPM Championships.

Lady Bronco cross country finishes 25th at nationals

From left to right: Anna Zimovjanova, Mia Walker, Niajah Johnson, Kayla Sisneros, Esther Boram and Claire Van Houten.

NMMI Sports Press

Esther Boram on the final straightaway at nationals.

On Saturday, November 11th, the NMMI Lady Bronco cross country team competed in the NJCAA Division I Championships in Fort Dodge, IA and finished 25th overall with 727 points.

Head Coach Jan Olesinski said, “Overall, it was a good trip. It was the first time we were able to compete as a team at nationals, not just as individual runners. ”

”We took six girls to the championship meet – who were all freshman – and competed against 42 teams and over 300 runners from 50-plus different junior colleges from across the nation.”

Anna Zimovjanova approaches the finish line.

Esther Boran finished 107th and Mia Walker finished 131st. Two other NMMI runners would finish in the top 200.

Olesinski said, “I think our girls were a little bit surprised by the size of the meet, and excited, too. Then, also, there was the weather. During the practice run on Friday, the temperature was about 18 or 19 degrees, when you factor in the wind-chill. Saturday, the day of the meet, it got better, maybe 30 degrees, but it was still cold – a lot colder than what we were used to here in New Mexico.”

Olesinski expected at least one of his girls to finish near the top 25, but this meet was valuable experience for next year.

Roswell native Kayla Sisneros, races towards the finish.

”Next year, nationals will be in Garden City, Kansas: a much shorter trip and hopefully a bit warmer. Maybe those things, along with the experience we gained this year, will help us break into the top 20, said Olesinski.

NJCAA Division I Cross Country Championships


NMMI individual — 107, Esther Boran, 20:19.6; 131, Sierra Walker 20:36.2; 156, Kayla Sisneros, 20:51.7; 194, Anna Zimovjanova, 21:36.1; 231, Niajah Johnson, 22:14.0; 243, Claire Van Houten, 22:32.6.


Numbers, runners strong for Lady Bronco Cross Country

Top row: Esther Boram, Urszula Olejniczak, Amanda Seay, Claire Van Houten, Anna Zimovjanova, Mackenzie Morgan.
Bottom row: Sierra Walker, Lily Pickard, Kayla Sisneros, Niajah Johnson

NMMI Sports Press

Competition on the Bronco women’s cross country squad will be stiff this year. Not only will the NMMI juco team be able to field a full team this year, they’ll be six other runners pushing to break into that top four.

“We have 10 girls this year. That’s the highest number, I can’t say ever, but at least in the last few years,” said head coach Jan Olesinski. “I kind of have a new team. Everybody is a freshman and my hope is to build this team for next year. I hope these freshman girls will get strong and develop so next year the can really compete on the national level.”

And while Olesinski thinks this year is just a possibility on the national level, the fact he says his “alternate” runner, Esther Boran, from Papua, New Guinea, is “a strong, very smart runner,” says the team may just have a solid showing.

While the team is loaded with freshman, at least one name should be familiar to NMMI fans.

Sierra Walker, a Roswell native, ran for the high school Colts the last four years, wrapping up her senior year with a fourth-place state finish before moving on to the Broncos.

“She’s doing great so far, but she’s also involved with ROTC, so she has to split on both fronts,” Olesinski said. “So it’s a little harder for her to participate in both cross country and ROTC.”

Still, expect a strong effort from the fifth-year cadet.

Another name that might be familiar to Roswell residents is Kayla Sisneros, a former Goddard runner, who made her time count last summer.

“She did an outstanding job, working with me all summer to be ready for the season,” the coach said. “And I can tell you she made great progress and she looks very strong.”

Olesinski always recruits a strong contingent from overseas, and this year is no exception.

Urszula Olejniczak is a Polish national youth division triathlon champion, and her coach is looking for good things from her.

“Cross country is a little different from triathlon running, but I think she has the potential to be a great runner,” he said.

Also from Eastern Europe is Anna Zimovjanova, from the Czech Republic.

“She’s a pentathlete but also a solid runner,” Olesinski said.

Rounding out the squad are Amanda Seay, an ROTC cadet from Trinity, Fla.; Air Force Academy preps Claire Van Houten, Jaffrey, NH, and Mackenzie Morgan, Lusby, MD; Niajah Johnson, an Alamogordo High grad; and the team’s lone sophomore, Lily Pickard, Albuquerque, NM.

The team competed at the Lubbock Rust Buster last weekend, a pre-season relay that sees each runner go 2.5 kilometers. Saturday will be the only chance for fans to see the Broncos in action in Roswell as they’ll run their first full 5K in the Turtle Marathon, a city-organized race that draws top runners from around the region.

They’ll officially start the season Sept. 16 at the Western Texas Invitational in Snyder, Texas, then travel to Hobbs and Levelland, Texas twice each before making the trip to nationals in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Whether any Broncos will be able show well in Iowa is still a question mark that will be answered as the season progresses.

“It’s very hard to tell,” Olesinski said. “Our school is in a very specific place. They come here. They have RAT week; they do all the training; all the marching. So it takes a little bit longer to adapt than other schools. On top of all that, it’s been almost 100 degrees here every day, with higher than normal humidity. Plus we have about 1,000 meters in altitude and most of the girls come from sea level. So it’ll take a little bit of time before they adapt to everything: the routine, my training. the weather. I’m hoping they run well this year but I’m looking forward to next year.”

But no matter their finishes, the coach is happy with this year’s squad.

“I think so far it’s a great group of girls. They’re all hard working. They’re all great students, which I think is most important, that they do well in school. I hope they will stay motivated and continue working like this the rest of the season.”

Bronco XC signs two Roswell runners

Local high school grads Sierra Walker (seated left) and Kayla Sisneros (seated right) sign their intent to run for the Bronco women’s cross-country team at the New Mexico Military Institute next season. Walker has run for the NMMI Colts for four years and Sisneros is a five-year Lady Rocket athlete.

NMMI Sports Press

After several years with mostly foreign runners on the Bronco cross country team, NMMI coach Jan Olesinski has recruited two Roswell athletes: Colt runner Sierra Walker and Goddard’s Kayla Sisneros.

“I’m kind of lucky that I was able to recruit two local girls,” Olesinski said. “They are both great runners. Sierra, I know her better because I had a chance to coach her for the last four years when she was a Colt cadet. Karla I met last year. I saw her during local races and she’s very athletic.”

Walker has run for NMMI since she was a freshman, with her senior year a literal runaway, as she won six straight races, including the district title, and finished fourth in Class 4A at state in 19:54.05.

“I decided to come back because I enjoyed running for coach Jan for the past four years,” Walker said. “I think he’s just an awesome coach. I also think I want to do the ROTC program and I’m able to do ROTC and run cross country at the same time. And I did want to run in college as well. So I’m able to do both here.”

Sisneros was the top Rocket runner as a senior, coming in 45th at state in 22:17.80 after running for Goddard for five years. She’s excited about the military aspect of NMMI, as she hopes to go on to a four-year military school.

“I’ve been running cross country for the last five years, and it’s always been my dream to hopefully become a college athlete,” Sisneros said. “So when I found the opportunity here at NMMI, I figured it would be a good idea to continue my education and running career here in preparation for hopefully going to the Air Force Academy.”

With three of his four runners graduating this year — all moving on to four-year schools — and the lone freshman opting not to come back, Walker and Sisneros will be part of an all-freshman squad. But that, Olesinski said, is OK.

“I’m mostly looking for girls who have goals in their lives, who have a vision,” he said. “Here, athletics is part of the life; it’s a very important part that teaches them how to deal with life in the future.”

And the future is what both signees are looking towards. While Walker isn’t sure what she’s going to major in — she said law school is in the back of her mind — she hopes she can go to Texas Tech after her two years as a Bronco. There, she can continue with ROTC and running.

Sisneros wants to study aerospace engineering at the Air Force Academy.

Both know Olesinski will help them improve in their chosen sport. For Sisneros, cross country is perfect for what she said is her strength.

“Endurance is definitely my strongest suit,” she said. “And then I’d say I’m more mentally tough than physically, but I’d say good at both.”

Walker said she’s definitely improved as a runner since she was a freshman, with Olesinski instilling a never-quit attitude.

“I’ve learned to just push through, even when I’m experiencing pain,” she said. “I think I’ve done a little bit better every year since my freshman year. Whenever I come to a wall, I’ve just got to try to learn to get over the wall, with anything.”

Both will have two more years with “Coach O” to improve, and hopefully help the Broncos to more success on the national level.