NMMI runners solid at state cross country meet
November 10, 2013New Mexico Military Institute
RIO RANCHO — Both the Colts and Lady Colts had solid showings at the state cross country meet in Rio Rancho Saturday.
The AA girls race started everything off on a cool but sunny morning, and for NMMI, Amira Hindi crossed the finish line 23rd, with teammate Sierra Walker just 10 spots back.
On the boys side, Juan Carlos “Amigo” Estremango broke into the top 20 in his first time on the tough course, finishing 19th while leading his team to an 11th place finish.
NMMI coach Jan Olesinski was pleased with all his runners.
“I think they were awesome. It was a good race,” he said. “Everybody ran good, I can say that. It’s really hard to say time-wise, because the course is hard and it’s windy and high altitude, about 6,000 feet. Twice as high as we have. But we placed top 20. So I think we all did very good.”
Estremango’s top 20 finish was in his first time on the state course, which he described as “Fast. They started really fast. They sprinted all the way. There were some hills.”
Estremango himself had enough energy left at the finish to sprint past several runners just ahead of him, coming home in 19th place.
“I wanted to take some places,” the sophomore runner said of the last-second push.
Hindi finished 23rd, quite a bit better than last year, which she felt good about.
“It feels pretty good. Better than last time,” she said. “It was better than last year so improvement’s always nice.”
Freshman Walker also had energy at the end of the race and tried to push past some runners as she neared the line.
“The ending was coming up, so I just decided to like sprint, and I was going too fast, because I like almost fell,” she said. “I felt like I was in a dream or something. My body started tingling up. And then all of a sudden those two girls in front of me just started speeding up, so that kind of made me mad. i was like, ‘Really? Why would you speed up?’ I was trying to speed up. So I thought I was going to pass them. I had the mentality to pass them, but I didn’t.”
She did pass one of those runners on the way to 32nd place, not bad in a race that included 120 competitors.
And that “give it your all at the end” mentality carried through to most of the Colts. Even though the next highest boy, Alex Kivela, finished 60th, every Institute runner who came into the Rio Rancho stadium close to another competitor tried — and many succeeded — to move up a few spots.
“It wasn’t like they come, they try too hard then they die,” Olesinski said. “Everybody passed people at the end. Usually you lose in the first mile.”
And the fact the Colts had energy left at the end of this year’s race means there’s potential to move up next year.
“Everybody competed. They said, ‘We are not very tired,’ so there’s a lot of potential,” Olesinski said.
The 40-place gap between Estremango and Kivela meant the Colts finished just under the top 10 as a team, but they again beat district rivals Cobre, as well as three northern New Mexico schools. Olesinski said had some of his faster runners made it through the season, they might have finished higher as a team, but that wan’t what mattered.
“I’m very happy with everybody. Everybody who came here I am happy with them, because this means they finished the season,” he said.
He had high praise for Jack Esposito, who, despite starting the season as only the 22nd fastest runner on the team, worked the entire season and earned his spot on the squad.
“He worked all season,” the coach said.
State Cross Country tournament results
Boys, team — 1, Zuni, 39; 2, Laguna Acoma, 97; 3, East Mountain, 107; 4, Pecos, 112; 5, Navajo Prep, 131; 6, Santa Fe Prep, 139; 7, Rehoboth, 202; 8, Navajo Pine, 242; 9, Bosque School, 255; 10, Estancia, 282; 11, NMMI, 298; 12, Cobre, 322; 13, Tucumcari, 334; 14, Cottonwood Classical Prep, 357; 15, Peñasco, 353
NMMI individuals, boys — 19, Juan Carlos Estremango, 17;41.70; 60, Alex Kivela, 19:16.25; 65, Jake Pinon, 19:32.90; 75, Josh Pinon, 20:07.70; 80, John Graff, 20:38.50; 84, Daniel Marquez, 20:48.80; 98, Jack Esposito, 24:11.60
NMMI individuals, girls — 23, Amira Hindi, 21:18.20; 33, Sierra Walker, 21:46.75