Category Archives: Colt & Lady Colt Track

NMMI hires second Olympic athlete to help coach

Nathan Schrimsher carries his father’s flag after he finishes his final race in the modern pentathlon at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Tim Hipps US Army/IMCOM.

NMMI Sports Press

For more than 30 years, NMMI has had an Olympic athlete on staff.

Nathan Schrimsher smiles for a picture at the opening ceremonies. Photo by Greg Rosenbaum, USA Pentathlon (USAP)Team Leader.

Cross country, swimming and track coach Jan Olesinski (1980, Moscow; 1984, Los Angeles, modern pentathlon) has been helping Institute athletes hone their skills for more than three decades. Now coach ‘O’ will get some assistance from another Olympian, Nathan Schrimsher (Rio, 2016, pentathlon), one of his former pupils.

Schrimsher’s history at NMMI goes back a long way, all because of Jan Olesinski. He and his brother Lucas were home-schooled on their ranch west of Roswell, and their parents were looking for some extracurricular activities for them to engage in. They found the Caprock swim team, coached by Jan Olesinski. Shortly after joining the community team, the pair were convinced to join Olesinski’s pentathlon program.

“They tried some of the events; the parents were kind of excited and the father was involved with us, so it made it easier for them to stick with it,” Olesinski said.

For the pair of brothers and Olesinski’s daughter, Anna, there was one goal from the very beginning: the Youth Olympics. “When we started this I told them, ‘Guys, this is our goal. In 2010 we are going to the youth Olympics’”

Nathan Schrimsher celebrates after a fencing victory over an opponent in the 2016 Olympic Games. Photo by Tim Hipps US Army/IMCOM.

The trio worked their way up through world championship events, eventually earning spots at the Singapore Youth Olympics, where Schrimsher finished 13th individually and Anna fourth.

“We started step-by-step,” coach Olesinski said. “And after 2010 we came back and I said, ‘Guys, I am done. I can’t help you anymore. Because youth is different. The real Olympics is a lot tougher. You can train here, but if you want to be an athlete you have to move to Colorado.’”

And that’s exactly what Schrimsher did.

In 2013, he joined the Army’s World Class Athlete program in Colorado Springs, where his job was strictly to train for his sport, a grueling five-event challenge that includes swimming, fencing riding, running and shooting.

“That definitely was the starting point to the next level. Our sole job was to train in our respective sports with the goal to go to the Olympics and win medals. Quite a few hours a day for quite a few years and lots of miles.” Schrimsher said.

In 2015, that hard work and training paid off: he qualified for the Rio Olympics with a third-place finish at the Pan Am Games in Toronto – the only American to qualify in the sport. His brother, Lucas, just missed qualifying. “It was almost a Schrimsher brother duo,” said Nathan.

Nathan Schrimsher and Jan Olesiński heading to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games. Photo by Greg Rosenbaum, USA Pentathlon (USAP)Team Leader.

After celebrating at home for a few days, he went back to Colorado for a final year of training.

The Roswell native didn’t come home with a medal from Rio, but placed 11th overall, only 29 points behind the gold medal winner. Russia’s Alexander Lesun had the top score of 1479, compared to Schrimsher’s 1450 – that’s just how close the completion was.

“Anybody who was competing in the Olympics, out of the 36 athletes, all of us could possibly have been the Olympic champion – because the nerves, just the atmosphere switches it up. It was close all the way through.” he said.

The 2016 Olympic pentathlon began with fencing, Schrimsher’s favorite of the five events. “It’s the only sport in the pentathlon where you are one-on-one against your opponent. Otherwise, it’s against yourself and the clock,” said Schrimsher.

Nathan did extremely well in fencings’ ‘mano a mano’ format, placing tenth overall with a score of 220.

His best event, however, was swimming. His time of 2:00.82 in the 200m freestyle earned him sixth place and another 262 points.

In the riding portion of the competition, Schrimsher drew what he termed “a difficult horse to ride.” After being penalized for three knockdowns in the 15-jump format – which lowered his score from a perfect 300 to 282 – he finished 18th in the event.

Sgt. Nathan Schrimsher of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program swims the 200-meter freestyle in 2:00.87 to earn 338 Modern Pentathlon points during the swimming portion of the men’s Modern Pentatlon on Aug. 20, 2016 at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Schrimsher was seventh-fastest in the swim. Photo by Tim Hipps US Army/IMCOM.

“The pentathlon is based off of what a 19th century cavalry soldier would be required to do in the line of duty. One of those is the ability to ride a horse you’ve never met. We only get a 20-minute warm-up before the show-jumping event. You have to make it work. Your life is on the line, so to speak.”

The last portion of the modern pentathlon is a combination of running and shooting. The competing athletes must complete four 800 meter runs, each run prefaced by hitting five targets from 10 meters away with a laser pistol. No penalty is assessed for missing a target, but it must be hit all five times (or 50 seconds has passed) before the athlete is allowed to start their 800m run.

“My shooting was exceptional, and that helped me stay in almost the top 10,” said Schrimsher. “Running is my least favorite part of the pentathlon or at least the most difficult for me. If my shooting had been sub-par, I might have slipped out of the top 20.”

“I left everything I could on that last lap. It was a difficult course, twisty, but I ran as hard as I could and when I crossed the line I was done and happy with where I finished.

“It was one of my best competitions, so having done it there at the Olympics, there was a lot of emotion, thankfulness, especially of finishing what I started.”

Nathan Schrimsher participates in the Equestrian portion of the modern pentathlon in the 2016 Olympic games. Photo by Tim Hipps US Army/IMCOM.

And he said two keys that were invaluable in him getting to the top echelon of his sport were Olesinski and the Army.

“Without Jan I would have never made it to where I got,” he said. “And if I’d never had the Army, I never would have gotten where I was as well. You can’t take credit for just yourself doing this. There’s so many people and things along the way that get you to where you’re going – it wasn’t just me.”

So when the NMMI coach asked him to come back to NMMI and help out, he couldn’t say no.

“NMMI is where it all started,” Schrimsher said. “I definitely think there’s all sorts of reasons, but that’s one of them. Giving back. Seeing it full circle. That’s just as important. Everyone hangs up their shoes one day, so there’s got to be something to keep on going.”

The young athlete came in at the end of the winter sports season and helped as an assistant coach for Olesinski, and this spring he’ll be working with the Colt and Lady Colt sprinters on the track team. He’s also helping with the corps physical training program and with the pentathlon program.

“All these sports are something that I was involved with in some degree as an athlete myself, and getting to work under Jan and his tutelage is really cool,” he said. “The next generation’s coming – the shoe’s gotta be replaced – and I get to help show and teach them.”

Sgt. Nathan Schrimsher of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program finishes 11th in the men’s Modern Pentathlon event Aug. 20, 2016, at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Tim Hipps US Army/IMCOM.

What’s up next for the 25-year old is still up in the air. He’s back home helping around the family ranch, and is planning on going back to school to get a degree in communications. He likes coaching, though, and said that could be in his future as well.

“I never thought I could be a coach. Never thought that time would come,” he said. “Time keeps on rolling and I think coaching will be a good way to give back.”

As to the 2020 Olympics, that’s really not on his radar right now but Olesinski thinks Schrimsher could change his mind.

“He needs time to rest and who knows? Maybe he’ll come back in,” the coach said.

In the meantime, the NMMI cadets will get the advantage of his expertise, and he’ll pull for his brother to maybe try for Tokoyo.

“It’s an interesting time right now. We’re just kind of figuring it out. I’m kind of writing it off. I’m kind of done and ready to move on to the next step, but Lucas, we’ll see. There’s a lot of time still, and he’s young, too, so there’s plenty of chances in the future if he decides.”

And who knows? Maybe Schrimsher will find a youngster who wants to follow in his footsteps, just as he did Olesinski’s.

Nathan Schrimsher’s Olympic ring that he wears every day. Photo by Tanner Hightower-Wilson.

Early graduation for Eight Colts headed to state

From left to right: Jose Carlos Baranzini Rebeil, Fausto Baranzini Rogel, Octavio Lopez, Jake Parker Guerrero, Aaron Guadalupe Sanchez, Michel Alejandro Hinojos Chavez, Sierra Jane Walker and Emilio Maldonado Zuzuarregui

From left to right: Jose Carlos Baranzini Rebeil, Fausto Baranzini Rogel, Octavio Lopez, Jake Parker Guerrero, Aaron Guadalupe Sanchez, Michel Alejandro Hinojos Chavez, Sierra Jane Walker and Emilio Maldonado Zuzuarregui

Eight high school cadet student athletes were honored with an early graduation ceremony on Wednesday afternoon at the Mabee Auditorium in the Toles Leaning Center on the NMMI campus: seven members of the Colt baseball team and one member of the Lady Colt track and field team.

Both NMMI teams qualified and will compete in the NMAA’s Class 4A State Championships this weekend, and might otherwise miss the Institute’s normal high school graduation ceremony scheduled for Saturday.

The Colt baseball team takes on top-seeded Hope Chrisitian in the quarterfinals at 1:00 pm on Thursday at Rio Rancho High School.

Sierra Walker, along with her sophomore sister Mia Walker, will compete in several events – including the 800m, 1600m and 3200m runs – on Friday and Saturday at UNM’s track and field complex in Albuquerque.

Best of luck to our eight early grads this week at state and at the next level!

Padilla takes gold in 800 at state track

Christian Padilla stands on the top rung of the ladder after winning the 800-meter run at the AAAA state track tournament.

Christian Padilla stands on the top rung of the ladder after winning the 800-meter run at the AAAA state track tournament.

NMMI Sports Press

Christian Padilla stands at the end of the 800-meter run as his winning time is flashed on the screen behind him.

Christian Padilla stands at the end of the 800-meter run as his winning time is flashed on the screen behind him.

ALBUQUERQUE — Colt track athletes brought home three more medals Saturday at the AAAA state track meet in Albuquerque, led by sophomore Christian Padilla, who took gold in the 800-meter run and fourth in the 400-meter dash. And Sierra Walker got her second medal of the weekend with a third in the 800.

“We did very good today,” said coach Jan Olesinski. “One gold medal, one bronze medal, one fourth place and one eighth place. So we did excellent.”

Both Walker ad Padilla ran in the 800, with Walker taking home third behind East Mountain and Robertson runners.

“It wasn’t the best race for her, but she did well,” Olesinski said. “She competed very well.”

Sierra WAlker runs in the 1,600-meter medley. She took home a bronze medal in the 800-meter run.

Sierra Walker runs in the 1,600-meter medley. She took home a bronze medal in the 800-meter run.

Walker’s little sister, eighth-grader Mia, took 14th in the half-mile race.

Padilla then continued to improve from his eighth-place seeding, edging East Mountain’s Alex Heffelfinger, the defending state champ, by mere 10ths of a second to claim the title.

“He ran a great race. He competed well,” the coach said.

Only an hour and a half later, the sophomore ran in the 400, getting a slightly slower time than in Friday’s preliminaries. He ran a great 300 meters, Olesinski said, but slowed down a bit in the final 100, most likely because he was tired from the 800.

The girls 1,600-meter medley relay also ran a bit slower than Friday, finishing eighth. Olesinski said 100-meter runners Alexandria Rivera and Grace Tompkins ran faster than the day before and Mia Walker matched her time, but Sierra walker ran a bit slower, again because of running the 800 earlier in the day.

And despite the few Colt athletes competing, the high finishes gave each team a respectable finish: the boys took 12th of 19 and the girls 14th out of 18.

“Overall, they competed very well,” Olesinski said. “We had five runners and everybody competed.”

NMMI Individual results
Boys

800-meter run — 1, Christian Padilla, 1:57.25
400-meter dash — 4, Christian Padilla, 50.69

Girls
800-meter run — 3, Sierra Walker, 2:25.17
1,600-meter medley relay — 8, NMMI (Alexandria Rivera, Grace Tompkins, Mia Walker, Sierra Walker, 4:38.62

AAAA Boys, team — 1, Taos, 97; 2, Silver, 74.33; 3, Portales, 48.33; 4, Bloomfield, 32; 5, East Mountain; 29; 6, West Las Vegas, 27; 7, Kirtland Central, 26.33; 8, Hope Christian, 24; 9, St. Michael’s, 22; 10, Ruidoso; 13; 11, Robertson, 12; 12, NMMI, 10; 13, Bosque School, 9; 14, Hot Springs, 8; 15 (tie), Santa Fe Indian School; Shiprock, 7; 17, Pojoaque, 4; 18, Cobre, 3; 19, Zuni, 1

AAAA Girls, team — 1, Hope Christian, 79.50; 2, Silver, 47; 3, St. Michael’s, 38; 4, Sandia Prep, 37; 5, Robertson, 36.50; 6, Ruidoso, 35; 7, Bosque School, 32; 8 (tie), Taos; East Mountain, 31; 10, Portales, 26.50; 11, Bloomfield, 13; 12 (tie), Kirtland Central; Pojoaque, 10; 14, NMMI, 9; 15, West Las Vegas, 6; 16, Hot Springs, 5.50; 17, Shiprock; 4; 18, Cobre, 3

Christian Padilla in the 800

Grace Tompkins ran the second leg in the 1,600-meter run.

Grace Tompkins ran the second leg in the 1,600-meter run.

Mia WAlker competed in the 800-meter run and medley relay.

Mia Walker competed in the 800-meter run and medley relay.

Sierra Walker on the podium after her third-place finish in the 800.

Sierra Walker on the podium after her third-place finish in the 800.

The Colt athletes with their medals.

The Colt athletes with their medals.

Colt tracksters have “outstanding” day

Sierra Walker just missed the top spot on the podium in the 1,600-meter run, finishing second by less than two seconds.

Sierra Walker just missed the top spot on the podium in the 1,600-meter run, finishing second by less than two seconds.

NMMI Sports Press

ALBUQUERQUE — The quality of the NMMI track athletes showed through Friday at the AAAA state meet in Albuquerque as everyone who ran either came home with a medal, or qualified for Saturday’s medal round.

Sierra Walker started off the day by earning a second-place medal in the 1,600-meter run. The junior shaved almost 17 seconds off her best time of the year, trailing winner Aubri Wrye of East Mountain by a mere two seconds.

“It was a good race. She competed very well,” said coach Jan Olesinski.

Christian Padilla then ran in the 400-meters, a race where he was seeded eighth. He shaved 1.6 seconds off his best time of the year to finish second less than a second behind a runner from Silver.

The Lady Colt 1,600-meter medley relay — Alexandria Rivera, Grace Tompkins, Mia Walker and Sierra Walker — didn’t quite match their seeded time, but they still made it to the finals.

“Sierra was a little bit tired after her run and the 200 girl had a little bit of trouble with her handoff, but overall they qualified for the final and are looking forward for tomorrow,” Olesinski said.

Both Sierra Walker and Padilla will compete in the 800-meter run Saturday; Padilla will try to medal in the 400; and the relay team will try to pick up their pace and bring home some hardware as well.

“Everybody did very good. Everybody made the finals and everybody is still competing,” Olesinski said.“The team did outstanding.”

NMMI results
Girls

1,600-meter run — 2, Sierra Walker, 5:15.50
1,600-meter medley relay — 7, N.M.M.I. (Alexandria Rivera, Grace Tompkins, Mia Walker, Sierra Walker), 4:37.20

Boys
400-meter run — 2, Christian Padilla, 50.30

Christian Padilla ran a personal best in the 400-meter dash, qualifying for the finals with a second-best time.

Christian Padilla ran a personal best in the 400-meter dash, qualifying for the finals with a second-best time.

Sierra Walker in 1,600-meter run

Quality Colt runners could bring home medals

NMMI Sports Press

Sierra Walker, 800m Run

Sierra Walker in the 800m Run at the Warrior Invitational on Apr. 16.

There won’t be many Colts headed to the state track tournament in Albuquerque this weekend, but as the saying goes, it’s quality before quantity. And quality is what NMMI will be bringing.

Because the Institute graduation is the same day as the tourney, the seniors on the squad opted for ceremony rather than competition. But juniors Sierra Walker, Alexandria Rivera and Christian Padilla; sophomores Grace Tompkins and Abby Valadez and eighth-grader Mia Walker will be trying to bring home hardware, and coach Jan Olesinski thinks that could happen.

“I think they’ll do well,” he said. “I think they look good. They’re motivated. They’re ready. State is state, the weather can change or anything can happen, but overall, I think they’re ready and will do well.”

Christian Padilla with the second place finish in the 800m.

Christian Padilla with the second place finish in the 800m Run at the RISD Early Bird Meet on Mar. 3.

Walker has the first and most chances to take home a medal. She has the fourth fastest time in the 1,600-meter run, 5:32.64, and will run in the finals of that race just after noon Friday.

The junior will also run in the preliminary heat of the 1,600-meter medley relay, along with Rivera, Tompkins and little sister Mia Walker. That relay team, which will run Friday about 3:30 p.m., has the second fastest time in the state, 4:29.84.

Padilla will also run in a preliminary heat Friday, trying to make the top eight in the 400-meter dash to get to Saturday’s finals. Padilla’s 51.97 is currently the eighth fastest time in the state, but is only 10ths of a second behind the No. 4-7 runners.

Grace Tompkins in the 100m Dash at the Artesia Invitational on Apr. 22.

Grace Tompkins in the 100m Dash at the Artesia Invitational on Apr. 22.

Saturday, both Walkers and Padilla will compete in the 800-meter finals.

Sierra is leading the state in that race with a time of 2:19.57, more than a second ahead of her closest rival. Eighth-grader Mia is down in the pack, but at state, anything can happen, and Padilla sits in eighth in the boys race.

The Lady Colts are set to run that race about 12:30 p.m. Saturday, with the boys starting about 12:45.

Mia Walker in the 800m Run.

Mia Walker in the 800m Run at the District Championship Meet on May 6.

And, if Padilla or the Lady Colt relay qualify for the finals, they’ll have Saturday races as well: Padilla’s race is scheduled for 11:09 a.m., while the girls will compete at 3:23.

The state track meet takes place at the University of New Mexico track and field complex, on Cesar Chavez Blvd. just east of University.

Abigail Valadez in the 3200m Run.

Abigail Valadez in the 3200m Run at the District Championship Meet on May 6.

 

Alexandria Rivera, 100m Dash

Alexandria Rivera in the 100m Dash at the Artesia Invitational on Apr. 22.