Category Archives: Colt & Lady Colt Cross Country

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.

NMMI finishes third

Teslin Strecher tries to catch the leaders during Saturday’s race.

NMMI finishes third at Pecos Valley Invite

The Colt and Lady Colt Cross Country teams participated at the Pecos Valley Invite in Roswell on Saturday morning.

The Colts would have their best finish yet, as they placed third and the Lady Colts did not participate in the event.

Teslin Strecher would finish fifth with a time of 18:33.93 and help the Colts improve with a top three finish.

“He ran a really good race and will keep improving as the season goes on,” said Coach Olesinski.

NMMI will be racing at the Hobbs Invitational on Thursday at 3:00 PM at Ocotillo Park.

 

Boys, varsity team  Carlsbad, 33; Goddard, 52; NMMI, 66; Roswell High, 70; Tucumcari, 130

Individuals— 5,Teslin Strecher, 18:33.93, 14, Ryan Cuellar, 19:39.76, 15, Henry Dewy 19:49.35, 18, Emmitt Falcon, 20:07.97, 29, Spencer Mayadag, 21:52.49, 33, Nathan De La Cerda, 22:23.46

High school cross country ready for first race today in Lovington


NMMI Sports Press

With last year’s top runner Sierra Walker now competing for the NMMI junior college team, youth is the key for Colt cross country this season. And while a large crowd of early-season hopefuls has winnowed down to just 15 heading into the season opener, head coach Jan Olesinski is happy with those he has.

“Most of the new kids had never run before, so daily running was really tough. But we have 11 boys and four girls,” he said.

The four Lady Colts are led by the lone senior returner on the squad, Andrea Anchondo.

“She should be one of our strongest runners. We’ll see (at Lovington),” the coach said.

Rounding out the girls team are three sophomores, all from New Mexico: Gillian Chmielarczyk, a newcomer from Lamy.; Domniarre Notah, from Moriarty; and freshman Jay Cee Payne, out of Artesia.

The Colt squad is young as well, but Olesinski has high hopes for three returners and one newcomer.

“We have Jeremy Piñon, Nathan de la Cerda and Ryan Cuellar back from last year, so they’re supposed to be my top runners this year. We’ll see. In addition to the old cadets, I have two or three new cadets who kind of look like they’re good runners.”

De La Cerda and Piñon are both sophomores who improved each meet last season. Cuellar is a junior who also had a good season, and Olesinski is hoping that success will continue for the trio.

Two other returning sophomores hoping to better their times and finishes, are Brandon Guerrero and Laurence Miles.

“Last year they did a great job despite it being the first year of running for most of them,” the coach said of his returners. “They weren’t guys who came in as champions; they were guys who I hope as seniors will be top runners at state. They’re still young this year so they’ve got a long way to go. Running is not something you can instantly teach. It involves taking thousands of steps and takes time. So I hope they stay in school, they stay with the team and by the time they’re seniors they’ll enjoy their successes.”

Newcomers include senior Spencer Mayadag, a Roswell native; juniors Daniel Person, Austin, Texas, and Teslin Stecher, Mancos, Colo.; and freshmen Miguel Luna, Alto, N.M., and Henry Dewey IV, Tijeras, N.M.. Olesinski is especially excited about Stecher, who he thinks could lead the pack.

“He looks like he’s very strong,” the coach said. “I think he’ll be my best runner, and I think he’ll be a top runner in this area.”

That’s saying a lot, considering NMMI usually competes against 5A and 6A schools in the regular season, and how tough District 3/4-4A traditionally is. Even without powerhouse East Mountain in the mix — they moved out of the district after one year — Hope Christian, Silver, Ruidoso, Cobre, Moriarty and even Socorro always contenders.

Which makes it hard to say just how many Colts might be able to qualify for state.

“We’ll have to wait and see,” Olesinski said. “Because we qualify mostly by places, you don’t have to a great time if your district isn’t very strong. But if you have a strong district where there are good runners, it’ll be a lot tougher. I think we can qualify maybe two, one girl and one boy. Who knows? Maybe more. Because the returning runners are doing a great job so maybe they’ll step up and we’ll qualify a team.”

They’ll get to see just how well they’ll do beginning today at Lovington, followed by the NMMI Invitational Sept. 9, then meets in Capitan and Artesia before returning to Roswell for the Pecos Valley Invite Oct. 7. After that it’s the Hobbs Invitational, a very late-season city meet Oct. 21 and the district meet in Moriarty Oct. 27.

This season, Olesinski and first-time assistant coach and wife Marisha Olesinski — she’s coached track and basketball, but never XC before — will be splitting the coaching duties. Several conflicts with the Lady Bronco schedule will have Marisha on the road with the Colts while Jan is with the college squad.

But no matter who’s at the helm, the coaching duo only want one thing from their team: a strong effort.

“I hope everyone will stay healthy and do their best,” Jan Olesinski said. “If they stay healthy and do their best they will be great. They’ll have great results. And winning is not the most important thing. It’s important to have a great team.”

Walker takes fourth at state cross country

Sierra Walker paces herself along the Rio Rancho course that saw her take fourth at state.

Sierra Walker paces herself along the Rio Rancho course that saw her take fourth at state. Photo courtesy David Sanchez

NMMI Sports Press

Sierra Walker is just steps away from crossing the finish line at the state cross country meet Saturday. Photo courtesy David Sanchez

Sierra Walker is just steps away from crossing the finish line at the state cross country meet Saturday. Photo courtesy David Sanchez

RIO RANCHO — It wasn’t gold, but Colt senior Sierra Walker was happy with the fourth-place finish she earned at the state cross country meet in Rio Rancho Saturday.

“I was pretty happy because last year I finished 39th, so I moved up 35 places,” the Roswell native said. “I think I did well. It was a pretty good ending to my season overall.”

The senior has competed at the state meet since she was a freshman, with her highest finish before Saturday 33rd as a freshman in Class AA.

Walker’s fourth-place finish was the best state placing for a NMMI runner in a number of years, with only East Mountain’s Aubri Wrye and two Taos runners ahead of her. And, early in the race, the Colt was out in front, despite running on a muddy course.

Sierra Walker was all alone, in front, for the first mile of the state cross country race. Photo courtesy David Sanchez

Sierra Walker was all alone, in front, for the first mile of the state cross country race. Photo courtesy David Sanchez

“I led the race for the first mile,” she said. “I thought for a second I was not going the right way because I was the only person up there and I didn’t see anyone else behind me. So I was like, ‘Am I going the wrong way or something?’ But I just kept going, then coming up on the 1-mile mark three girls passed me. They stayed together pretty much the whole race and I kind of fell behind.”

But not that far behind. Walker’s time was 19:54.05, just 44 seconds behind Wrye.

While Sierra Walker was the only NMMI runner to qualify for the state XC meet, she had lots of family and friends there to cheer her on.

While Sierra Walker was the only NMMI runner to qualify for the state XC meet, she had lots of family and friends there to cheer her on. Photo courtesy David Sanchez

The state meet capped a season that saw Walker get six first-place finishes, including a district title and while she couldn’t get a season sweep in the No. 1 slot, she did get one final time on the podium.

“I always like being there because you know you accomplished something, standing there with everybody looking at you and taking pictures. It’s a good feeling.”

Next up for Walker is Lady Colt basketball, then she’ll close out her senior year running the distance races with the track team.

Sierra Walker on the podium after taking fourth place at state.

Sierra Walker on the podium after taking fourth place at state. Photo courtesy Katie Dollahon

Walker wins district XC title; headed to state

The three Lady Colts running in the district meet — Sierra Walker, Mia Walker and Abigail Valadez — head out at the start of the race.

The three Lady Colts running in the district meet — Sierra Walker, Mia Walker and Abigail Valadez — head out at the start of the race.

Karen Boehler
NMMI Sports Press

Senior Sierra Walker took home her first district title Friday.

Senior Sierra Walker took home her first district title Friday.

SANTA CLARA — The bright orange, smiling pumpkins that lined the course at the District 4-4A cross country meet in Santa Clara couldn’t disguise the fact that the three-mile route was anything but cheery.

“It was just really awful,” said Colt Sierra Waker. “A lot of sharp turns, uphill, and a lot of rocks popping out of the ground. It was terrible.”

Despite that — and Walker was in the majority in describing the course as brutal — the senior won her sixth-straight race this season, earning her first district title. And again, despite the toughness of the course, she made it look easy, coming in 36 seconds ahead of Cobre’s Skylar Jones, who was running on her home course.

Byron Mitchell sprinted past two runners at the end of the race to finish in 19th.

Byron Mitchell sprinted past two runners at the end of the race to finish in 19th.

“It’s a great accomplishment for her,” said Colt coach Jan Olesinski. “She ran great. She started strong, she kept going and she never quit.”

Walker finished the race in 20:30.32, starting in front and never looking back.

“Coach told me to just start out hard and that’s what I did,” she said. “I just sprinted out of the box and kept ahead the whole time.”

Ryan Cuellar celebrated his 16th birthday by finishing 35, the second fastest Colt.

Ryan Cuellar celebrated his 16th birthday by finishing 35, the second fastest Colt.

But with the hills and rocks — even the few spectators who ventured out on the course were having a hard time navigating — how did she make it look so easy?

“When it’s flat, I just stretch my legs out and stride out. So that’s the only way I can gain some distance,” she said.

The rest of the girls race was dominated by Hope Christian, which had five runners in the top 10 and eight in the top 20. They easily won the team crown, with Silver and Cobre — both local schools — coming in second and third.

Freshman Mia Walker finished 19th, just missing a slot at state, while Abigail Valadez struggled with the hills but finished a respectable 36th.

Junior Joel Suro had a steady race on the steep, rocky course, finishing 38th.

Junior Joel Suro had a steady race on the steep, rocky course, finishing 38th.

The Colt boys were sixth as a team, with the Huskies taking the boys’ district title as well. Silver High took second. Moriarty and Ruidoso tied for third in points, but the the Pintos edged out the Warriors on the strength of their sixth runner. Host school Cobre placed fifth.

Individually, senior Byron Mitchell finished 19th in 20:31, despite missing several races in the middle of the season with an injury. He picked up two places late in the race when he passed runners from Moriarty and Silver just before the line.

“He ran a very good race,” Olesinski said. “I think if it hadn’t been for his injury, he might have qualified for state.”

Ryan Cuellar, who was celebrating his 16th birthday, finished 35th; Joel Suro 38th and senior Michael Warungi 42nd. The final three Colts — Miles Laurence, Jeremy Piñon, and Nathan De La Cerda — fell prey to another problem on the course: unmarked turns. They, along with two runners from Socorro and one from Moriarty, took a wrong turn, and ended up going an extra mile and a half before they got back on course.

Senior Michael Warungi finished up his high school cross-country career in 42nd.

Senior Michael Warungi finished up his high school cross-country career in 42nd.

Walker is the only NMMI runner to qualify for next week’s state meet, but both she and her coach think she could win it all.

“I’m starting to believe I’m going for a state championship. I’m going to try for it,” she said.

“State is state. You never know,” Olesinski said. “If she’s smart and has a good race, I think she has a chance.”

Walker will run on the state course in Rio Rancho beginning at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 5.

District 4-4A cross country results

Boys, team — 1, Hope Christian, 36; 2, Silver, 51; 3, Moriarty, 79; 4, Ruidoso, 79; 5, Cobre, 96; 6, NMMI, 170; 7, Socorro, 186

NMMI individual — 19, Byron Mitchell, 20:31; 35, Ryan Cuellar, 22:47; 38, Joel Suro, 23:22; 42, Michael Warungi, 24:40; 47, Miles Laurence, 42:25*; 48, Jeremy Piñon, 42:27*; 50, Nathan De La Cerda, 42:52*
* extra time due to course mistake

Girls, team — 1, Hope Christian, 32; 2, Silver, 68; 3, Cobre, 89; 4, Ruidoso, 102; 5, Moriarty, 147

NMMI individual — 1, Sierra Walker, 20:30.32; 19, Mia Walker, 24:32; 36, Abigail Valadez, 26:40.