Category Archives: High School Sports

Fencers face off in Christmas Classic


Roswell septuagenarian Dave Sourk (left) crosses sabers with Lukas, the pre-teen son of NMMI professor Aonan Tang, at the 2018 Christmas Classic Fencing Tournament.


Women’s Open Epée champion, Mary Olvera.

NMMI Sports Press

New Mexico Military Institute cadets enrolled in PHEA 1351 took up arms against former cadets and members of the local community, competing in this year’s Christmas Classic Fencing Tournament on Dec. 6, held on the NMMI campus in the Godfrey Athletic Center gym.

Participants donned their distinctive mesh helms and white fencing jackets, then wielded their weapon, vying for a chance to be the tourney’s top sword-slinger.

For this tournament, that blade was an epée, a heavier French version of the foil, designed for unarmored dueling with thrusting or piercing attacks.

“There are three types of weapons used in fencing: the saber, the foil, and the epée,” explained veteran NMMI coach Jan Olesinski. “This competition uses the epée – it is what we teach here in the class, and this tournament serves as the final exam.”

Open Epée champion, cadet Caleb Allen.

Coach ‘O’, as his students affectionately call him, has trained several Olympic athletes, including most recently, Team USA’s Nathan Schrimsher, who placed tenth in the fencing portion of the pentathlon at the 2016 Olympic Games.

“We had 25 competitors this year,” said Olesinski. “It was a diverse group: male, female, young, old. Some are students in this year’s class, a professor and his son here at NMMI, former cadets, members of the Roswell community. All-in-all, a good turnout.”

Competition began with pool play, a fun and raucous affair. Girls joined the fray against boys; kids jousted opponents who towered above them or sported ages surpassing that of their grandfather.

And once the seeds were decided, brackets were drawn up to determine the champions.

NMMI’s Caleb Allen stabbed his way to top honors in the open division, while the swordplay of Roswell’s Mary Olvera took the top spot in the female division.

Complete Results:

Open Epée
Place     Name                                    Team
1              Caleb Allen                          NMMI
2              Christopher Najar             NMMI
3              Even Staeden                     Roswell
4              Jeremy Pinion                   NMMI
5              Dr. Aonan Tang                 Roswell
6              Dylan Begay                       NMMI
7              Owen Gregory                   Roswell
8              Dave Sourk                        Roswell
9              Apodaca Ortega                NMMI
10           Collin Protzeller                 NMMI
11           Jonah Pinon                        Roswell
12           Lukas Tang                         Roswell
13           Joshua Leible                      NMMI

Women’s Epée
Place     Name                                    Team
1              Mary Olvera                       Roswell
2              Tessa Walker                     NMMI
3              Lauren Leonard                NMMI
4              Allison Langowski            NMMI
5              Kayla Sisneros                   NMMI
6              Erin Brindle                       NMMI

Third period leads to Lady Colt victory over Roswell High ‘C’

Tianna Tsosie puts up a jump shot from the free throw line during the second quarter of the Colts victory over Roswell High C team on Monday.

NMMI Sports Press

The Lady Colt basketball team will head into the holiday break with a perfect 2-0 record after downing Roswell High’s ‘C’ team, 51-35.

NMMI opened up the scoring with a shot from the top of the key by point guard Miranda Garcia, then made it 8-2 after forward Demitra Ulibarri when to the line to try and complete the ‘And-1’. She missed the free throw but got the rebound and put-back with just over four minutes to play in the first period.

The Coyotes’ full-court press helped them make a come-back, however, forcing several Colt turnovers resulting in easy lay-ups – just a three-point ballgame, 10-7, at the end of the first.

NMMI again started the scoring in the second period, this time on a jump-stop two-pointer by Tianna Tsosie.

After a six-point NMMI run, Roswell High’s Adrianna Carroll connected from long range, her first of two threes in the game, to make the score 16-10 with a little over six minutes left.

NMMI’s Garcia made a great inside pass by to forward Rilan Maloney after breaking the RHS half-court trap, to make it 20-11 at the 4:18 mark.

But that trap helped RHS to again catch up, with the Colts holding a slim three-point lead, 20-17, with 2:07 left to play in the half.

At the 1:36 mark, RHS center Maddie Francis – who tied Ana Albarez for top Coyote spot in scoring with eight- picked up her third foul and went to the bench. But her substitute, forward Lilly Mohr, made the final basket of the period to make it 22-19 at halftime.

NMMI owned the third period, outscoring RHS 15-3.

Ulibarri hit a short-range two to start the offensive onslaught, and was quickly followed by a coast-to-coast lay-in by Maloney to make it 26-19.

Lady Colts extended their lead to 15, 35-20, after back-to-back buckets by forward Kiara Knowles and Tsosie, then followed-up by a pair from the paint by Ulibarri.

After a Coyote field goal, Ulibarri sunk the buzzer-beater to end the period 37-22.

Roswell High’s Christian Ellenburg drove the lane for two to start fourth, 37-24, but NMMI again won the point total for the period, 14-13, to hang on for the win.

NMMI’s Ulibarri was the top scorer of the game with 28 points. Maloney had seven points for the Lady Colts, along with 11 rebounds.

“We’re very happy with the win, but we still have a lot of work to do,” said head NMMI coach Marisha Olesinski. “We had way too many turnovers in the first half – 12 alone in the first period. I told the girls at halftime that if we wanted to win, we had to cut down on the turnovers. And in the third, we took care of the ball and it showed.”

The next game for NMMI won’t happen until after the new year, with the Lady Colts playing their first game at home, versus Lake Arthur on Jan. 15 – tipoff set for 5:00 PM in the Godfrey Athletic Center gym.

Colts fall to inside play of Warriors

Hector Reyna scores two of his 16 points of the game against Ruidoso. He also added five rebounds and three assists to his stat line. Photo by Demitra Ulibarri.

NMMI Sports Press

The first home game of the season was a tough one for the New Mexico Military Institute Colt varsity basketball team, playing up against Class 4A Ruidoso but falling, 66-44.

It was the Warriors’ inside play that paved the way to victory, with Ruidoso senior Josh Romero leading the way by putting up 27 points and pulling down 21 rebounds.

“Romero is very, very tough and we didn’t really have an answer for him tonight,” said first-year head Colt coach Connor Williamson. “But we’re definitely going to learn from this and come back stronger. I’m proud of the guys. We played hard to the end.”

NMMI had a very early led, scoring the first three points of the game. Sophomore wing Daniel Xibille sunk the back-end of a pair from the foul line, then after two consecutive missed inside shots by Ruidoso’s Romero, came back with a lay-up and easy basket on an assist from junior post Luis Silva.

But that was the last time the Colts would lead, as the Warriors went on an 11-4 run to close out the first period, 11-7.

“I think we shared the ball pretty well and our guards were attacking,” said coach Williamson, who played both high school and junior college basketball for the Institute. “But early in the game, we didn’t get many foul calls and were missing shots. Ruidoso also put on a type of press that we really weren’t ready for, which helped them go on an eight-point flurry. Those things hurt us.”

NMMI again started the scoring in the second, with senior point guard Hector Reyna slashing in for a quick two, but Ruidoso continued to pound the paint, building up an eleven-point margin at halftime, 29-18.

In the third, Ruidoso extended that lead to 19, sharing the ball with six different Warrior players, then won the fourth in a 20-17 shootout.

“All of our guards have a lot of talent – fast guys,” said the coach about their play, one of the team’s main strengths this year. “We just need to learn to make better decisions and keep getting better.”

As for the inside game, Williamson said it’s something they’ll continue to work on. “We have guys on the inside that just don’t have a lot of experience down there. We’re going to keep working with them, toughen them up. If we can clean those things up, we’ll definitely be a tough team to handle.”

Reyna and Xibille were the top scorers for the Colts with 16 and 11 points, respectively. Senior shooting guard Jesus Luy dropped in seven, soph guard Ricardo Mata contributed five, senior forward Charles Lewis had three, and Silva had two points along with the top mark in rebounds at six.

NMMI’s next game won’t come until after the Christmas break. They’ll take on the Loving Falcons at home on Jan. 15, a team they defeated on the road back on Dec. 4, 69-35, for their first win of the season.

After that, it’s five more ‘tune-up’ games prior to district play in the month of January: four road games and a final contest at home.

“We have quite a few more games before district starts, so definitely some winnable games coming up that will help us get ready for district,” said Williamson.

And with the Colts’ moving back down to Class 3A this year, in District 4 with Dexter, Tucumcari, and Tularosa, questions abound about who the district front-runner is.

“As far as district play, it’s just so early that it’s hard to tell right now. I know that Tucumcari beat Dexter, but I haven’t seen film on any of the teams yet.”

Williamson and his Colt squad won’t start sorting out the district standings until their first game in February, on the fifth, at Tucumcari.

All-District and All-Academic accolades for Colt Football

NMMI Sports Press

For the fifth time in six years, the Colt football team made the state playoffs.

Under eighth-year head coach Randy Montoya, NMMI ended the regular season with a 6-4 overall record and earned the No. 10 seed, before being upended on the road in the first round of the Class 3A State Championships by seventh-seeded Hatch Valley, 44-21.

As part of that solid regular-season performance, 20 different Colt players earned 28 slots on this year’s All-District Team: five players and six spots on the first team; eight selections and 11 spaces on the second team; and 10 athletes and 11 places as Honorable Mentions.

“I thought we were represented very well on the first and second teams, especially considering we were third in our district and just how tough our district was,” said coach Montoya. “I’m just very pleased with how our kids performed and that they were recognized for their efforts.”

Of special note was the respect given to NMMI’s offensive line, with all five starters making the All-District squad. Juniors Colton Claypool and Riley Robertson were tapped to the first team, senior Zachary Martin and junior Andrew Oldfield made second team, and junior Aaron Gonzales garnered HM accolades.

“Our offensive line was definitely the backbone of our team this year,” explained Montoya. “Most of them started last season as sophomores, did the same again this year as juniors, and hopefully will all come back and start for us again next year. It’s so important because it all starts up front.”

Montoya also talked about the play and prowess of the Colts’ other first-team selections.

“[Senior] Jalil Brown made first team running back. When he was able to get loose into the secondary, he sure made things happen. [Junior linebacker] Arturo Cuen was the mainstay and leader of our defense this year. And [junior] Roberto Laporte made first team as defensive end, leading the team in sacks.”

In addition to the All-District honors, the Colts also had 18 players make the All-Academic team.

“I think this might be the most we’ve ever had on the All-Academic team.” said Montoya. “When a kid can take care of business in the corps, on the field, and in the classroom, that’s pretty special. It’s not easy earning academic accolades here at the Institute – I’m just very pleased with all of them.”

Colts fall to Bears in first round of State

Senior running back Jalil Brown breaks a tackle enroute to his first of two rushing TDs against Hatch Valley in the first round of the NMAA Class 3A State Playoffs.

NMMI Sports Press

The NMMI football team put up 21 points in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a slow start, as the Hatch Valley Bears bested the Colts in the opening round of the NMAA’s Class 3A State Playoffs, 44-21.

The Bears posted touchdown drives on their first two offensive possessions, then added a third TD right before the end of the half on a 60-yard interception return, giving Hatch a 20-0 lead going into the locker rooms.

After giving up another score to the Bears at the start of the second half, NMMI’s offense finally got on-track, putting together a 10-play 68 drive, capped by a 28-yard TD rush by senior running back Jalil Brown.

A 38-yard Hatch field goal made the score 29-7 in the fourth quarter with 11:55 remaining.

The Colts’ next drive stalled out at the Hatch 42 with a pass attempt from quarterback Jasper Best to Charles Lewis falling incomplete on a fourth-and-six. But linebacker Arturo Cuen forced a Bear fumble, recovered by defensive end Roberto Laporte, getting the ball back to the NMMI offense. The next play, Brown again led the Colts into the end zone, this time with a 41-yard rush, making it a 29-14 game with 9:42 still left to play.

Two more Bear TDs – at the 6:52 and 2:25 marks – put the game out of reach, with NMMI’s final scoring drive coming with less than 2 minutes remaining. Halfback Charles Lewis ran in for NMMI’s final touchdown, a 9-yard rush finishing a 6-play, 55-yard drive.

The Colts tallied 272 total yards of offense in the contest –  just 30 yards shy of the Bears’ output – led by Brown’s 14 carries for 134 yards. Lewis gained 63 yards on 9 attempts, Best was 11 for 39 on the ground, and Cuen as fullback ground out 22 yards up the middle on 4 rushes.

Cuen also had a stellar night on defense for the Colts, leading the team with 19 tackles: 10 solo and 9 assists.

Although head Colt coach Randy Montoya was disappointed with the loss – NMMI’s third to Hatch in the first round of the playoffs since 2014 – he was pleased with the play of his seniors and happy with how the team responded to the ups and downs over the course of the season.

“I’m just grateful our seniors got to play in this game and of all the obstacles we overcame to get here,” said Montoya. “Our kids showed heart, didn’t quit, and played a much better game in the second half. I’m proud of that.”