Lady Bronco and former Rocket runner Kayla Sisneros will continue to grace the roads and tracks with her speed next fall when she heads to NCAA Division II Eastern New Mexico University.
The former Goddard track and cross country and NMMI Junior College runner signed with a school she feels is perfect for her needs.
“They have a very good program,” Sisneros said. “They’re one of the best teams in the Lone Star Conference. It’s very competitive and what I’m looking for.”
The Lady Greyhounds finished third in cross country in the conference last fall, behind only Midwestern State University and Tarleton University, with their top runner, graduating senior Mercy Rotich, taking the individual title. The ladies then finished 17th in the NCAA DII South Central Region championships, with Rotich earning a berth to the national championships.
Sisneros will be joining a fairly young team as a junior, and said another reason for the nearby choice is head coach Jeff Kavalunas, who, she said, brings a lot of experience with him.
After competing for Goddard at state for four years — where her best finish was 51st in 23:17.8 as a senior — she continued to improve her times at NMMI and finished 112th at the NJCAA nationals last November, with a time of 22:07.9.
And getting better every time she runs is something she thinks is her best quality.
“I like being competitive,” she said. “I like going and doing a race and knowing that I gave it my best every time I was out there.”
Her parents agree with that assessment.
“We only expect the best out of Kayla, because that’s all she has ever done, is given her best,” said mom Angie Sisneros. “She’s always been focused, always been driven, and always manages to succeed.”
“I always told the kids to do better than their best,” echoed dad Manuel Sisneros. “And in each event, each competition, each race, she always tried. And I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Both Goddard coach Vernon Dyer and NMMI coach Jan Olesinski think she has a strong future ahead of her in Portales.
“I think she’s an excellent student and excellent runner,” Dyer said. “I even picked her as a team captain for the girls, because she was always there and on time and ready to help in any way.”
“She is a great runner,” Olesinski agreed. “She’s a great example of a person who has a goal in life and dedication and understands how to get there by hard work. We saw that in high school, and after that, she came (to the Broncos) and really improved and got better and better, not just because she came to the college, but because of her personality and her discipline and dedication. And, of course, she has vision and goals which really carried her to the point where she is now.”
Sisneros will major in athletic training and kinesiology at ENMU, and had a chance to work with both John Carpenter and David Smith in the NMMI sports medicine and athletic training department.
Besides getting a jump on her future career skills, Sisneros said she “learned a lot about self-discipline and time management” while a Bronco, which will be a plus as a Greyhound.
“The key is motivating myself more and staying determined and having goals,” she said. “That’s what’s kept me going all of my time at NMMI.”
“What she learned here: the discipline; the dedication; the hard work will carry her in the new college and make her a better runner,” Olesinski said.
And, the well-spoken Sisneros said, she’s ready for the future,
“I’m excited to be a Greyhound next year.”