Category Archives: High School Sports

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.

Barron credits staff for his and NMMI Athletic Department success

NMMI Athletic Director COL Jose Barron

NMMI Sports Press

Bronco volleyball’s Kim Trauboth dives for a ball against Victoria College on Oct. 14, 2017.

By his own statement, New Mexico Military Institute’s current athletic director, Colonel Jose Barron, is lucky to have the people working for him who do.

His staff is composed of many long-time veterans. Jan Olesinski is a previous Polish Olympian who has coached multiple sports at NMMI for over 30 years. Sean Schooley has 27 years of experience at NMMI, and now leads the department’s development efforts. Women’s volleyball coach Shelby Forchtner began her NMMI career at the same year as Barron, and this season, led the Lady Broncos to a third-place finish at the NJCAA D1 National Championships. Her husband, Joe, is in his 12th season at NMMI and his 8th season as head coach of one of the largest athletic groups on campus, the Bronco football team. Andy Robertson is the men’s head golf coach. His term at NMMI includes 20 years of service, coaching everything from girls’ basketball to wrestling.

“This place really is a place of extended family,” explained Barron. “Not just in the athletics department, but also around the school. We take ownership of our roles and responsibilities and think of it not as just a job, but as serving our cadets, they are the reason we are here. I feel like in this department we’ve got the right people in the right positions and that we’re clicking on all cylinders. My job is often just to facilitate: providing general guidance, consulting with and advising the professionals we’ve already got on staff who are doing the work.”

Former Bronco and current Ole Miss quarterback Jordan Ta’amu stiff arms a TJC defender in a home game in 2016.

Barron first became familiar with NMMI when he was working at the Sprint Sports Rehabilitation Clinic, after having served as an athletic trainer in professional baseball.

He attended New Mexico State University and graduated with a B.S. in Athletic Training Education. He worked at an out-patient clinic in Las Cruces as an NMSU student and for a few months following his graduation in 2001, then accepted a job offer to serve as an athletic trainer in the Houston Astros organization.

In 2003, Lefty Stecklein, NMMI’s athletic director at the time, contacted him.

“I had lived in Roswell, moved to Albuquerque, then moved back to Roswell,” explained Barron. “Lefty Stecklein called me, saying he was in need of a full-time athletic trainer at NMMI. I still remember the interview process vividly. It was a big group, with several head coaches on the interviewing committee. Fortunately, I knew some of them due to my prior work with NMMI. But I remember stumbling on one of the questions. Colonel Stecklein wanted someone who would remain in the position for several years, to ensure stability. I told him that I just did not see myself staying here for more than a few years. At the time, I figured I’d go back to professional baseball.”

He avows he has said “never” more than once in relation to his job.  He felt he would never stay in Roswell for more than two or three years – this semester, he received his 15-year NMMI service pin.  He thought he would never be an administrator – as NMMI’s current athletic director, he now leads one of the largest mission elements on campus.

The Cahoon Armory building is the headquarters for the NMMI Athletic Department. The building is the next scheduled for a complete renovation, with construction beginning as early as this summer.

Barron’s continued stay at “Old Post” has been marked with a move up the organizational ladder, from head athletic trainer to athletic director, due to his organizational and leadership abilities. He’s also got a great business savvy, gleaned from his time spent managing and directing private companies. He served as assistant athletic director for both Dwight Burns and Reggie Franklin before being tapped to be the athletic department head, and was named the ‘Rookie Athletic Director of the Year’ in 2015 by the New Mexico Activities Association.

“We learn many things from every person we work for and with,” stated Barron. “Coach Burns encouraged me to consider becoming athletic director, and Reggie Franklin made sure I finished up my graduate degree that I had started several years earlier.”

That grad degree is a Master’s in Human Performance and Sports with a concentration in Sports Administration from New Mexico Highlands University in 2013.

One example of Barron’s leadership came early in his NMMI career and involved his vision for creating a truly top-notch Sports Medicine program at NMMI.

“When I took the job as head athletic trainer, we were, back then, a department of one,” laughed Barron. “Over the course of several years, we were able to incorporate another full-time position, greatly expand and improve the sports medicine facilities, and develop an education curriculum where cadets could earn college credit towards degrees in athletic training. The department was also able to implement the first corps physical training program, and refine the academic offerings in HPER classes (Health Physical Education and Recreation).

Part of that facilities expansion was a 2006 remodel of the basement area in the Godfrey Athletic Center, turning it from mostly unused space into a state-of-the-art athletic training center, complete with office space for Barron and his new full-time assistant.

As athletic director, he was also intricately involved in the 2014 reconstruction of NMMI’s 12 tennis courts, along with several upgrades to the NMMI Ballpark in 2016, including synthetic turf for the infield, a suspension netting system to replace the old chain-link backstop, and locker rooms for both coaches and umpires.

Current projects include a complete renovation of the Cahoon Armory building. Cahoon is the headquarters for the NMMI athletic department, housing the main gymnasium, a weight room, and most of the offices and locker rooms facilities. Initial steps in the remodeling effort have already begun. Construction is expected to begin this summer and could continue for well over a year.

“I definitely didn’t do this by myself,” explained Barron of the projects. “This was the work of many, many people, all pulling in the same direction for a desired result, all to help improve the services for our cadet population.”

Barron feels his most important skill in his position is his talent as a multi-tasker.  As a joint four-year high school and two-year junior college, the NMMI Athletic Department oversees 24 sanctioned sport teams: eight at the junior college level and 16 at the high school level. As such, Barron has to organize his thinking in a way that allows him to track the myriad activities and teams on campus and how they utilize the limited time and facilities available to them.

He considers himself fortunate to have Randy Montoya handling the NMAA compliance on the high school side and Shelby Fortchner handling the same job on the junior college side.

He is also proud of the support programs NMMI has continued to develop during his term, such the Athletic Training and Sports Medicine Program and the Strength & Conditioning program. The S&C program now also has two full-time certified coaches. In addition to training NMMI’s athletes, S&C also implements the physical training program for the entire corps of cadets, with the high school Corps PT recently winning a national fitness award from the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States.

NMMI also boasts a Sports Information program, headed by Geoff Gunn, who’s been at NMMI for 10 years. Their mission is to get the word out about NMMI Athletics, using a wide variety of mediums and media outlets.

On the personal side, Barron is most always jovial and pleasant, ready to open his office and his heart as needed.  He trusts his people implicitly.  He makes himself available at all hours of the day, for both the good and the bad news.  When a game is going, Barron is there, no matter the sport.

In additional to giving thanks to his departmental staff, Barron also wanted to express his gratitude in having been given the chance to serve as athletic director. “I am very grateful that General Grizzle gave me the opportunity to lead this department. I also appreciate the confidence he shows by setting the direction and allowing our department to execute the mission.”

“It’s all about our cadets,” finished and reiterated Barron. “We are entrusted to running this school as best we can, doing the most with our available resources.  We owe them our best, from the newest of the RATs [Recruits At Training] to the regimental commander, all while honoring the legacy of the alumni that came before them.”

“I believe that NMMI has done a lot for me and I aspire give back just as much. I hope to build upon the foundations that my predecessors have laid, and set the NMMI Athletic Department on a path towards continued success.”

Colts take trio from Warriors, move into second place for district

Alejandro Lopez prepares to throw to first against Ruidoso.

NMMI Sports Press

Alejandro Barcenas rounds third base and scores in Game One.

The Colt baseball team completed their three-game district sweep over visiting Ruidoso, taking both ends of a doubleheader on Friday, 12-2  and 15-5.

In Game 1, NMMI started off the scoring in the bottom of the first inning with three runs. Andres Bleizeffer drove in two of those on a fly ball single to center field which scored Alejandro Barcenas and Gavin Maloney. Bleizeffer later crossed the plate thanks to a hard ground ball by Gunnar Schwab.

Ruidoso was unable to respond in the top of the second, despite a leadoff walk.

NMMI then scored again: with one out in the bottom of the second, the Colts tapped two back-to-back singles by Connor Roe and Francisco Rivera, and then a walk by Barcenas, to load the bases for Gavin Maloney. On the fourth pitch of the at bat, Maloney hit a triple to right field, clearing the bases.

Ruidoso’s first runs came in the top of the third. They plated two runs sans a hit, thanks to one walk and pair of Colt errors.

After a scoreless fourth inning by both sides, NMMI added a single spot in the bottom of the fifth thanks to an RBI single by Diego Salido, scoring Alejandro Lopez from second. Lopez got on base with a walk and took second on a sac bunt by Gunnar Schwab.

The Warriors were set down with three straight outs in the top of the sixth, and NMMI ended the contest early via the 10-run rule, thanks to an outburst of five runs in their final at bat. An error, walk and hit-by-pitch loaded the bases. Barcenas then scored from third on a wild pitch, Lopez walked to again fill the sacks, and Salido hit a fielder’s choice to second. The throw to the plate was in time, but the catcher failed to step on the plate before making a throw to first to try and get an out at first. The throw went sailing over the first baseman’s head and downthe right field line, scoring three NMMI runs and placing Salido safe at third. Salido then crossed home on a ground out by Jake Lieble for the mercy-rule win, 12-2.

Alejandro Barcenas rounds third base and scores in Game One.

Rivera went all six innings on the mound for the Colts to get the complete-game win. He threw just 99 pitches and allowed just one Ruidoso hit while collecting four strikeouts.

Game 2 was also shortened by the run-rule, with the Colts again winning in walk-off style in the bottom of the sixth.

NMMI posted three runs in the first, six more in the second, and a pair of in the fourth, all while holding the Warriors scoreless. The Colts had a chance to end the game after five, but Ruidoso refused to go down, plating four runs in the top of the fifth, off of three hits, a Colt error, and a walk.

Ruidoso then blanked NMMI in the bottom of the fifth, and posted another solo run in the top of the sixth to tighten up the ballgame, 11-5.

The Colts came back with four during their at-bat to end the game. Roe lead off and reached via an error; Rivera singled up the middle; and Barcenas also got on due to a Warrior miscue. That again brought Maloney up to the plate with bases loaded. He again went opposite field, driving in two with a single. Bleizeffer hit a ‘grounder-with-eyes’ up the middle for the Colts’ three run of the stanza, and NMMI’s final run came on Texas-league single by pinch-hitter Esteban Delgado.

Lopez got credit for the Game 2 win, hurling five complete innings before turning the ball over to Barcenas for the final three outs. Lopez allowed five hits and three earned runs, with one strikeout and zero free passes. Barcena gave up one run, one hit and one walk.

At the plate, Maloney was the Colts’ main weapon. He hit the cycle during the twinbill, going 5 for 6 with two singles, a double, a triple anda legitimate in-the-park homerun. He also had 11 RBIs and scored five runs.

Connor Roe fields a ground ball and prepares to throw to first base.

With the sweep, NMMI moves into second place in the District 4-4A standings with a 6-3 record, and an impressive 17-5 overall mark.

The Colts are off all next week – their next game won’t be until Monday, April 23 at Texico.

“We have three big games in Portales, which could determine playoff implications for seeding,” said head Colt coach Charlie Ward. “Hopefully we put ourselves in a position to host a first round playoff game.”

Those games vs. Portales will also be on the road, with a single contest on Friday, April 27 at 4:30 pm, followed by a pair on Saturday at 10 am and 12 pm.

Colts down Ruidoso

Francisco Rivera congratulates Jake Leible on scoring a run.

NMMI Sports Press

Gavin Maloney throws a pitch in the second inning on Thursday.

The Colt baseball team topped Ruidoso 5-2 in the first of a three-game District 4-4A series at home vs. the Warriors.

“For us it was a special moment,” said head coach Charlie Ward on earning their fourth district win.  ”First of all, assistant coach Steve Rogers is sick right now. He’s getting well, but he won’t be back in the dugout until our next series on Monday. And all the players were rooting for his health and a speedy recovery. We wish him the best.”

NMMI started off the scoring in the bottom of the first inning with a pair of runs. Francisco Rivera crossed home plate on a passed ball and Alejandro Barcenas later scored on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch with two outs; designated hitter Gus Curnutt got credit for the RBI.

Ruidoso responded with a two-out triple by Gabe Dorame, followed up with a single by Ian McClure, to score Dorame and make it 2-1 after the top of the second.

“We had several key hits in the right inning, which allowed us to put up multiple two spots on them,” said Ward.

Alejandro Lopez rounds second base against Ruidoso.

After a scoreless bottom of the second and top of the third, NMMI had runners on first and second. Back to back wild pitches allowed Alejandro Lopez to advance to third and then home, giving the Colts a 3-1 advantage heading into the top of the fourth inning.

In the top of the fourth, the Warriors managed to get another runner into scoring position, but the Colts dodged the bullet, as Ruidoso wasn’t able to bring their player home for the run, despite there being just one out.

In the bottom half, the NMMI offense came through for another pair of runs. With a runner on second, Gavin Maloney started a two out rally, doubling to center field and scoring Barcenas. Andres Bleizeffer then singled on a line drive over second base, scoring Maloney to give the Institute a 5-1 lead.

The Warriors’ final run in the top of the sixth. Maloney struck out the side, but two walks and two errors gifted Ruidoso a single-spot in the stanza.

Joshua Lopez slides safely into home in the fourth inning against Ruidoso.

Maloney got the complete-game victory on the mound, lasting all seven innings, allowing just three hits and two runs while striking out seven.

” We also had coach Greg Maloney calling pitches for his son,  a senior, Gavin and I felt like that was a special moment for both of them,” said Ward.

Both teams will square off again tomorrow at the NMMI Ballpark beginning at 4 P.M. with another pair of games to complete a three-game series.

The Colts were led by Rivera at the plate. He went 2-4.

NMMI high school Corps PT Program takes third in national AMSCUS Fitness Challenge

NMMI’s five finalists for the 2018 AMSCUS Fitness Challenge are pictured along with Strength & Conditioning coaches Daniel Ford (top left) and Tyrell Curtis (top right), and Athletic Director Jose Barron (top center). Second row: cadet Maximo Robles and cadet Marcelo Cantu. Bottom row: cadet Gavin Yates, cadet Mark Pralat, and cadet Peyton Hightower.

NMMI Sports Press

Roswell residents are used to seeing NMMI cadets running through the streets of the town as part of their regular physical fitness programs – often known as ‘Corps PT’.

Physical fitness is one of the three pillars of the Institute’s mission: To educate train, and prepare young men and women to be leaders capable of critical thinking and sound analysis, leaders who possess uncompromising character, and leaders able to meet challenging physical demands.

For cadets not participating in one of NMMI’s 24 sports programs, it can be one of the more challenging pillars to teach and develop.

But the corps PT program garnered some national accolades last February, when the high school won third place in the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States (AMSCUS) first-ever Fitness Challenge.

“NMMI won this award on the merits of the outstanding physical performance of a group of high school students,” said athletic director Jose Barron.

“This was the first time our cadets have participated in this event,” said school president/superintendent Major General Jerry Grizzle.  “And for us to take third place, it shows the overall physical fitness of the corps, particularly at the high school division, and each year we hope to get better.”

Two of NMMI’s cadet finalists were awarded during a quick recognition ceremony prior to a supper at the Bates Mess Hall. Left to right: Strength & Conditioning coach Dan Ford, cadet finalist Maximo Robles, President/Superintendent MG Jerry Grizzle, cadet finalist Marcelo Cantu, Athletic Director Jose Barron.

NMMI competed against about 35 military high schools across the nation. Ten cadets competed in a rigorous three-event challenge: two minutes of push ups; two minutes of sit ups; and a 1.5 mile run, all under the standards mandated by the Coast Guard.

“We test according to the Army standards, typically, and the Coast Guard test is quite different and something that they’re not very used to,” Barron said. “So the fact that our high school students were able to make the adjustment with really no additional training – except for what they received from our overall strength program – shows that we have a high level of fitness in that population.”

The ten NMMI high school cadets who competed were: senior Marcelo Cantu, Coahuila, Mexico; Mark Pralat, Alexandria, Va.; Maximo Robles, Sonora, Mexico; Martin Ahumada, Sinaloa, Mexico; juniors Peyton Hightower, Alamogordo; Gavin Yates, Weatherford, Texas; Felix Adhemur, Sinaloa, Mexico; Alex Lee, Albuquerque; Eliana Ward, Albuquerque; and freshman Luke Anders, Corrales.

The scores from all ten were calculated with the top five scores averaged for NMMI’s final rating.

“It’s an honor for us to place, particularly when we have so many military high schools out there that compete for this,” Barron said. “To be among the most elite, I think validates what we’re doing and it’s a testament to the dedication of our cadets and of our coaches.”

Robles, who was one of the top five finishers and hopes to get an ROTC scholarship for college, said the test was hard but that he used mind over matter to finish.

“I just go after it,” he said. “I try not to associate myself with the pain, but I have to say I’m grateful for all the teachers I’ve had and all the trainers who supported me all the way through.”

Cantu, another top five finisher, played soccer for the Colts in the fall and will head back to Mexico when he’s done at the Institute.

“It’s all about discipline and never giving up, when you think you can’t keep going,” he said. “It’s about discipline and motivation and also exercise and practice. They say ‘practice makes perfect,’ so that’s what I think it was.”

The award also says a lot about NMMI strength and conditioning instructors Daniel Ford and Tyrell Curtis, who set up the training program the cadets participate in three times a week.

“I think that those two do an outstanding job training large groups of cadets,” Barron said. “It is also important to note that the people who train all our varsity athletes, they’re the same ones who are out there in the corps physical fitness program, developing and improving it to help our cadets, even those who are not in athletics.”

“It was pretty cool to see the high school was in the top three, and a lot of credit goes to not just us, but to all of our cadet PT coaches,” Ford said. ‘We have five different things going on at 3:45 p.m. I can only be one place. Coach Curtis can only be one place. We have a lot of PT coaches who help run the program.”

Those coaches include Joseph Strickler and Gavin Yates, who help with the training which varies each day to include push ups, pull ups, a modified row, runinng and ab exercises.

“On a weekly basis we’ll change the stresses we put on them, in terms of rest times, work times and what kind of effort we’re looking for,” Ford said.

“Every day involves some sort of pushup, some sort of situp and an attempt to run,” Curtis said. “The run is the hardest part, and in the test that they took the run was by far the hardest part of the test.”

Every student who’s not on an in-season athletic team, the prep program, or ROTC is required to participate in the corps PT program.

The junior college also competed in the contest. They didn’t fare quite as well as the high school, failing to place in the top 3. But there was a reason for that, Barron said.

“They go up against both four-year and two-year institutions,” he said. “Obviously, our goal is to get up there whether it’s two-year or four-year institutions, but the reality is that the training is a little bit different.”

And all three top finishers in the college contest — Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets; the Citadel; and Norwich University — are four-year schools.

But Barron is sure the Broncos will do better next time.

“I think our college students did very well, they just didn’t place this time,” he said. “I’ll put that challenge to coach Ford and coach Curtis: those two men are very professional and very deliberate in how they set up the program, having taken the program from others in the past and having tweaked the program to the place where it is now.”

And win or lose, Barron was pleased with how the cadets did.

“Testament to our cadets,” he said. “We put in front of them something they had never done. They met the challenge and received accolades for doing so well. I’m proud of those cadets. This is just one small part of what is done to help teach life-long physical fitness, health and wellness. The cadets who take this program seriously gain tremendous benefits from it. Those benefits include not only tangible awards like this, but in many intangibiles that will come to them in the years beyond NMMI.”