Category Archives: High School Sports

Colt soccer gets NMMI’s first win of new school year

Jordany Bayonne-Kenol goes through the Warrior defense.

NMMI Sports Press

Andres Bleizeffer looks to go around a Ruidoso defender.

The Colt boys’ varsity soccer team kicked off NMMI’s fall athletic campaign by dominating Ruidoso at home, 5-1.

The Institute needed just over six minutes to get on the scoreboard, beginning with a goal by new-to-NMMI sophomore Jordany Bayonne-Kenol, off an assist by veteran junior Andres Bleizeffer.

Ruidoso tied the score 1-1 with a penalty kick  at the 19-minute mark, but less than a minute later the Colts were back on top, Luis Tzintzun with the cross  to Francisco Vazquez for the kick and score.

That’s all the points NMMI would need for the win, but they kept the offensive pressure on in the second half, breaking through the Warrior defense thrice more: Bayonne-Kenol got his second score with 22 minutes left; Francisco Perez hit net with a little over 4 minutes remaining; and Vazquez got his second goal on an assist from the sole female on the Colt team, Miranda Garcia, with less than 2  minutes remaining to play.

Luis Tzintzun crosses the ball to the box in the second half.

“It’s always great to get a win in your first game and start things off on the right foot,” said head coach John Barbour. “We’re still trying to learn each other’s names and figure everyone out, so coming away with a win today is a good thing, but we’ve got a lot to work on.”

“We put five balls into the back of the net, so we were able to finish at times, but we had a lot of shots on goal,” continued the coach. “That’s also a positive, but we were out of position at times, and could have done better to capitalize on cross kicks and set plays such as corner kicks.”

Barbour also said his team needs a lot of work on the defensive side of the ball, but he’s glad they’ve got a full week of practice before their next match, against Portales at home at 3 pm on Saturday, August 25th.


Diego Monteverde makes a save in the second half of the Colts 5-1 victory.

Turnout could be key to success for Colt soccer in 2018 campaign

The chance to play for the Colt soccer team drew 85 cadets to the first official day of practice. Photo courtesy John Barbour

NMMI Sports Press

On the first day of fall practice this year, head Colt soccer coach John Barbour had a wealth of riches on the pitch: 85 athletes vying for the 44 roster positions allowed by the NMAA on varsity and JV combined.

“Any time you’ve got a player pool that size you’re definitely bound to find some good players,” Barbour said. “And we’re pretty confident we’ve got a good side. It’ll be how well they can gel together; how quickly they can come together; and just like every year I’ve been doing this, it’s going to take them a little while to learn each other’s names.”

That’s an ongoing problem for fall sports at NMMI. Because the students come from all over the world, they don’t spend time together in the summers. And with new students coming in every year, it takes time for both the players and coaches to learn just who everybody is and what they can do.

But with opening day very close on the horizon, Barbour has four returners he’s confident about.

Mario Camou dribbles past a Wildcat defender in a match vs. Clovis in last season’s Coyote Classic Tournament. Photo courtesy Tanner Hightower-Wilson

Senior forward Mario Camou “provides stability up top when we need it,” the coach said.

Camou will be joined by seniors Luis Tzintzun — “He’s just a remarkable player and does some amazing things on the field” — and Francisco Vasquez, who’s “a good playmaker in the midfield  so we’ll be looking to get a lot out of him.”

Junior Andres Bleizeffer rounds out the returners Barbour knows will see action.

“He’s another really good one. He’s a solid rock in the midfield role.”

Beyond that, the coach said, who will play when and where is up in the air.

“We’ve got a lot of new kids and they’re going to step in and take over where everybody left off last year,” he said.

Andres Bleizeffer with the header in a match vs. Roswell High on Sept. 2, 2017. Photo courtesy Tanner Hightower-Wilson

But another problem with the far-flung student body is a lack of conditioning.

“Coming back from the summer, we’ve only had them for this week,” Barbour said. “So we’re trying to get them in shape. We don’t have the luxury of doing off-season training like the other schools all summer long. We’re hoping to play with everybody for the first portion of the halves, but I know we’re going to trail off at the end because we’re so out of shape. So we’re just going to have to really try to get through these first few matches and try to get ourselves into match fitness.”

And those matches start already Saturday. The Colts will host former district rival Ruidoso, and Barbour said it should be a good game.

“We’ve always had an even match when we’ve been 4A,” he said. “They’ve won a bunch. We’ve beaten them a few times. So I don’t think it’ll be easy by any means, but we’re really looking forward to getting our season underway and hoping that we can get a good result against them.”

Corner kick by Luis Tzintzun, match vs. Santa Fe Capital on Sept. 2, 2017. Photo courtesy Tanner Hightower-Wilson

With NMMI moved down a classification to 3A during redistricting, they’ll see very different set of teams comes district, including East Mountain, Hatch and Socorro.

“No one that we haven’t played before, but it’s been a while since we’ve played Hatch and Socorro multiple times during the course of a season,” Barbour said. “Socorro we did have two games with and East Mountain we had at least one if not two games with them last year. So we’re pretty familiar with them. Hatch, though, we haven’t played in a few years so that’ll be kind of a new thing. So we’re just going to have to see how we do and hopefully by district we’ll be ready.”

Last season, the Colts were in the same district as powerhouse Hope Christian, which went on to win the 4A state title, beating the Institute 4-0 in the first round of state. So anything else will be easier.

Francisco Vasquez trying to keep possession against an oncoming Ruidoso defender; Sept. 23, 2017. Photo courtesy Tanner Hightower-Wilson

“Hope Christian had a remarkable side last year; having them in our district really was rough,” Barbour said. “But everybody else I thought we could play with. So we’ll just have to wait and see how this rolls out. But we’re going to play some big schools this year and we’re hoping to get a bunch of wins along the way.”

Playing up is a constant of Barbour’s teams, and this year they’ve got 5A Clovis and Roswell (the redistricting got rid of the 6A classification except in football) and 4A Goddard, Artesia, Portales and Lovington.”

“We’re going up against the big 5A schools again. That’s OK. We don’t shy away from it,” the coach said. “That’s only going to make us better and that competition is what’s going to make us improve. We just have to rise up to the occasion.”

Also new this year to Colt soccer is assistant coach David Sifuentes.

Sifuentes isn’t new to NMMI or soccer — he’s the Food Services Director for Sodexo and Bates Dining Hall and has coached several youth teams in Roswell, while playing himself.

“He’s got a wealth of knowledge about the game,” Barbour said. “He’s stepped right in and done a fantastic job; so very impressed with him. It’s good to have somebody who can handle himself even if I’m not around. My assistant last year was the same way. It’s good to have somebody who’s even caliber.”

And last year’s assistant has gone on to coach girls volleyball at Goddard.

“Dewayne (Roberts) decided he’d go do girls volleyball, and good for him,” Barbour said. “When there’s a sport that you truly love, you just can’t stay away from it. And he was missing that so I wish him the best of luck with his girls and his season. Goddard’s always had a reputation for having a good volleyball team, so I wish them the best of luck and him as well.”

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.

Colt baseball’s Maloney and Rivera represent well at North-South All-Star games

As has become tradition at the annual All-Star games, players exchange uniforms. Francisco Rivera (left) in a Texico Wolverines jersey and cap; Gavin Maloney in a Cobre Indians top and Wolverines hat.

NMMI Sports Press

Two Colt baseball players wrapped up their high school careers in style — making both the All North-South (A-4A) and 4A All Star teams — and both are headed off to play college ball as Broncos. But they’ll play for different schools: one at NMMI and the other in California.

Outfielder/pitcher Gavin Maloney and infielder Francisco Rivera were both picked as first team players on the North-South squad — an annual tradition for the best seniors in the state. Colt outfielder Connor Roe was also chosen as an alternate.

The games were held June 8-9 at the UNM Stadium in Albuquerque, and included a trio of games as well as lots of fun, food and hoopla.

“It was a great time,” said Colt coach Charlie Ward. “Great memories for our kids. We were very proud.”

Gavin Maloney awaits a pitch during a game at Dexter’s Hal Bogle Classic.

Prior to the actual All-Star games, Maloney was chosen as one of six players to compete in the home run derby. He was the only one able to lift anything out of the massive park (338 feet down the lines, 408 in left and right and 430 in center) during the competition, tallying four dingers over the outer walls.

“They were shots. Two of them were lasers,” Ward said.

Both Maloney and Rivera had key roles to play in the opening game between the two teams, which the South won 4-3.

“Our boys represented our school and district well,” the coach said.

Maloney played right field, and after walking twice early in the game, stepped up to the plate with a 3-3 tie in the seventh and tripled to center. He then scored on an RBI double by Hatch catcher James Gimler, bringing home the winning run.

Francisco Rivera pitching in a home game for the Colts.

Rivera played third in second half of that game, and kept the score tied with stellar fielding in the bottom of the sixth. With the bases loaded and two outs, he made a great back-hand catch at third base and then stepped on the bag to end the inning. He also made the final out in the bottom of seventh to give the South the one-run win.

Game 2 was a pitchers’ duel, what Ward called “the fastest high school game in a long time.”

Pitching for the South, Maloney, and his counterpart on the North, both sat batters down in order, and heading into the fifth the game was scoreless. The North side then managed a single run thanks to a dropped pop-fly, and the relief pitchers for both sides kept the batters off base with the North winning 1-0.

Game 3 was both lots of fun and a blowout for the South, which won 17-2.

The players all swapped uniforms, with Rivera wearing a Texico Wolverine jersey and Maloney a Cobre Indian jersey and Texico hat.

“They had a blast,” Ward said.

With Texico pitcher Ben Crist — who pitched on last three Class A state championship teams — the South made it look easy, as Crist shut the North batters down and the South hitters stung the ball.

Maloney played center and pitched the final inning, getting a single at the plate.

Moriarty Pinto Ben Lipke, who dropped the fly ball in Game 2, hit a 3-run home run to left and had a 2-RBI double, easily making up for his mistake earlier.

“They told me they had a great time. They had a lot of fun,” Ward said. And, he added, Hope Christian coach Glen Copeland, who helmed the South, was “very impressed with NMMI players and how they handled themselves.”

“The most fun part of the weekend was meeting all the players from the teams we used to play against and making all the new friends,” Maloney said.

“The All-Star series weekend was a really fun experience that I will never forget,” Rivera said. “Having the honor to represent the Dirty South was really cool, and getting to play with Gavin for three more high school games made it more fun and an experience that I will never forget. Meeting the players from other teams and having the opportunity to know them more and create new friendships is also one of the best parts of that weekend. I’m really thankful that I got the chance to play in the All-Star game.”

The pair continued to rack up honors as the Class 4A All-State teams were announced. Maloney was picked as a first-team All State outfielder and second team pitcher; Rivera was named to the second team as a shortstop, just beaten out by a Hope player who also won player of the year honors.

Maloney, who signed earlier in the year with the DI Santa Clara University Broncos, was also recently named as a first-team member of USA Today’s All-USA New Mexico baseball team.

“I’m really excited to get there and compete at a high level and I’m just going to focus on getting better every day and being the best ball player I can be,” he said.

Calling the Roswell native “one of the top three players out of the 20 years I’ve been here,” Ward said he’s certain he’ll see Maloney on the field as a freshman.

“I believe Gavin is going to do exceptionally well. He has a great work ethic. He understands the game. He will do the extra things. He will be one who will do the little things. He understands what it takes, and I know he’ll compete for a starting spot right away.”

And while he’s pretty sure Maloney has seen his last action on the mound, he thinks there’s nothing else the Colt turned Bronco can’t do.

“He’s just a player,” Ward said. “He can swing a bat. He can play the outfield. He’s got a great jump. For as tall as he is, that boy can run. He’s got good speed. He tells me he wants to steal bases. Gavin also has that leadership ability that’s going to carry over with him.

“I think what’s going to carryover for him in his next opportunity is how he swings the bat. He’s got great bat speed. Swings with power. He’ll have that opportunity.”

Rivera became the latest Colt to move on to the next level when he signed in June to play for head coach Chris Cook and the NMMI Broncos, where he’ll rejoin with two former Colt teammates, Jake Guerrero and Michel Hinojos, both of whom saw significant playing time last season as freshman.

“Francisco’s parents are very proud he is going to get an opportunity,” Ward said. “Coach (Chris) Cook is going to give him a chance.”

“I’m planning to continue with my baseball career at the Institute playing for the Broncos,” Rivera said. “Having the opportunity to be part of the team is an honor to me. I look forward to working hard to gain a spot in the team with the help of coach Cook.”

Ward said Rivera’s quickness in the field will carry over, and he’ll learn a lot at the college level.

“His best attribute is his quickness at short,” the coach said. “Nice glove. His arm. His bat will come. College coaches will teach him how to swing.

“They’re going to find a guy with a heart who’s a true competitor and will be here for this team. He’ll be a team player, and he’ll get better. I’m looking forward to seeing him get bigger, stronger, faster and play at the next level.

And in the Corps, Rivera will also be a leader, as he’s been picked to be a troop commander.

“We have enjoyed the opportunity to work with the Colt baseball players who have moved on to becoming Bronco’s over the past couple of years,” said head Bronco coach Chris Cook. “Rivera is a great kid, a hard worker, and his energy will immediately make him a positive influence in our program. With more baseball development time being available at the college level, I believe he has a chance to really take off in our program.”

Caleb Newman clinches final leg

Camden Cox and Caleb Newman tee off on the fourth and seventh hole in the Last Chance Open.

NMMI Sports Press

On Thursday afternoon the Colt Golf team participated in the Last Chance Open held at the NMMI Golf Course.

Caleb Newman shot a 76 and punched his ticket to the NMAA State championships, which will be held in May up in Albuquerque.

“We got really lucky that the wind didn’t start until 2 o’clock and Caleb performed well under those circumstances,” said head coach Crae Fields. “he has continued to show major improvements throughout the season.”

Camden Cox, who is a freshman, was unable to get a leg to qualify for the state tournament as he shot an 82 on the day. He still has several chances in the upcoming week to qualify.

“Camden is academically focused and making tons of improvements on the course,” said Fields. ”

Up next for the Colts is the District 4/5 1A-4A Championships on Monday at the NMMI Golf Course.