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Otero Junior College
1802 Colorado Ave.
La Junta CO 81050

PH: 719-384-6859
FX: 719-384-6933

Jim Rizzuto

Athletic Director
Gary Addington

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College News
OJC Men's Soccer team shows pre-season promise
August 28, 2014

The OJC Men's Soccer team begins the 2014-15 season ranked number 17 in the nation by NJCAA and had an extremely promising performance last weekend with scrimmages against Division II teams Colorado Mesa University and Adams State College.

The Rattlers have a strong sophomore class, with six returning from the Region IX-winning team of last year. Coach Mike Bielski has been impressed with the discipline that the team brings.

"The guys have done everything that we've asked,” said Bielski. “As a coach, that makes your job much easier. The team has a bright outlook and is planning to continue last year’s success and build upon it.”

The Rattlers continue their pre-season this weekend on the road with a scrimmage at Colorado State University-Pueblo and their season-opening game at 1st-ranked Iowa Western, the defending National Champions.

The men will play their first home game on Friday, September 5 at 7:00 p.m. against Central Nebraska.

Lady Rattler Soccer opens against nationally ranked teams
August 28, 2014

The Otero Junior College Women’s Soccer team has established a very high standard of success since its inaugural season in 2012. The program reached the NJCAA Region IX Tournament final two years in a row and finished second place in Region IX in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Coming off an impressive 13-4-1 overall record in 2013, the Lady Rattlers are hungry and primed for another successful season ahead.

The team will be led this year by a core group of sophomores that includes the team’s five captains; Vanessa Gallegos (Mountain Range HS, Denver), Megan Chandler (Walmer Science College, Deal Kent, England ), Maira De Campos (Dom Heldes Camara, Sao Joncalo, Brazil), Jasmine Brewster (John Madeiski Academy, Berkshire, England) and McKenna Schmitt (Chaparral HS, Parker). These sophomores along with a very large freshmen class will be directed by Coach Jamie Hutchison in his second year at the helm.

“We have set the highest standards for our team, both on and off the field this season. For the most part the student-athletes have committed to our philosophy of becoming the best people we can be. This will allow us to be successful with our families, friends, in the community, as well as in the classroom and on the soccer field,” said Coach Hutchison.

“The OJC Women’s Soccer Team got off to a good start during our pre-season time together. Lots of new freshmen have been welcomed by our returning sophomores, and this has provided encouraging signs for the coaching staff,” continued Coach Hutchison.

The Lady Rattlers were tested in their opening weekend in Council Bluffs, Iowa as they faced two of the top teams in the nation. On August 23, with a pair of goals by freshman Thalya Dwyer (Highlands Ranch HS), the Lady Rattlers proved they meant business. They came out on top with a 2-1 win against nationally ranked Butler Community College (#3).

On August 24 the Lady Rattlers fell short to the 2013 NJCAA national champions from Iowa Western Community College with a 0-4 loss. Otero held the Reivers to one goal in the first half and had plenty of good opportunities, but gave up three goals in the second half to finish the game.

The Lady Rattler soccer team has grown tremendously in the first month of season and remains motivated to continue to improve as a team. “We’re excited to set high goals this year, including winning the NJCAA Region IX Championship, and we’ll do what it takes to achieve our targets,” said Coach Hutchison. 

The Lady Rattlers open Region IX play at home against their regional rivals from Laramie County Community College on Friday, September 5 at Tiger Stadium at 4:30 p.m.

OJC Softball wins Region IX title
May 13, 2014

Despite all the end of the year festivities, the Lady Rattlers had their focus on one specific goal: defending their Region IX title.

Last Thursday, Otero started their region tournament play by defeating Lamar CC 14-0 in five innings. They then played Lamar CC the following day, winning 9-0 in five innings to move into the championship round of games.

On Saturday, graduation morning, our sophomores literally walked across the stage received their diplomas and jumped on the bus to head back to Lamar to face Western Nebraska for the best 2 out of 3 series championship games.  Otero beat Western 4-2 the first game and won 1-0 to be the Region IX Champions. 

“We are extremely proud of our girls for being able to take care of business not only on the field, but more importantly finishing their finals week and graduating, all while winning four games and becoming Region IX Champions for the second year in a row,” said OJC Softball Head Coach Ben Garcia.

Tayler Hall, Anna Jean Souza, Nalani Hernandez, and Jacque Solis were selected to First Team All-Region IX team. Cierra Cosslet, Mia Gautron, and Nicole Montoya were selected to the Second Team All-Region team.

Hall was also selected Region IX Defensive player of the year and is currently in the top three in the nation (NJCAA) for wins, with 29, and second in the nation (NJCAA) for strikeouts, with 239.

Hernadez was selected Region IX Offensive player of the year. She is currently 12th in the nation (NJCAA) with a batting average of .489 and 5th in the nation (NJCAA) with 24 doubles. 

The Lady Rattlers head to El Dorado, Kan. to play Butler Community College on Wednesday, May 7, at 4 and 6 p.m. central time.  These games are a best 2 out of 3 series and the winner advances to the national tournament in St. George, Utah.

 Photo by Tracy Edgar Photography.

The Lady Rattlers will defend their Region IX title as the #1 seed
April 24, 2014

The Otero Lady Rattlers started off the season in early February in Scottsdale, Ariz. then traveled to Texas the following weekend.  They played nationally ranked teams both weekends. Prior to travel, the weather had not been conducive to outside practice in La Junta. Playing teams that had been able to practice outside, the girls had the chance to benefit from the learning experiences and prepare for the games ahead.

In the month of February, the Lady Rattlers played 25 games. They played very well towards the end of February and into March. After time off at spring break, the team hit a bump in the road and split the next five dates of games.

In April, there were fewer games, but this gave the Lady Rattlers an opportunity to get back to the fundamentals of the game in quality practices. On April 23, the Lady Rattlers had sophomore day and played their last regular season game at home against Dodge City Community College. The girls played outstanding softball, run ruling Dodge City both games, 8-0, with one being a perfect game.

Despite the ups and downs experienced along the way, the Otero Softball team won the Region IX league and will be the number 1 seed in the Region IX tournament starting April 30 in Lamar.

“The girls are all healthy, playing good softball and ready to move forward,” said OJC’s Head Softball Coach, Ben Garcia.  “The Lady Rattlers are currently 41-15 and are ready to defend their Region IX Title.”

Otero Baseball wins series against Western Nebraska
April 24, 2014

As conference play winds down in Region IX, the Otero Junior College Rattlers are now holding down third place going into the last weekend of conference play.  This past weekend, the Rattlers were on the road playing Western Nebraska in a huge conference series.

Both clubs entered the series knowing that their playoff berths were on the line, with the Rattlers sitting in fourth place and the Cougars sitting in fifth place in conference play.  Knowing that this series could determine whether or not they would be playing in the playoffs had emotions on both sides running high.  

“It was definitely a post season atmosphere this past weekend,” said Rattler Head Coach Chris Carrillo.  “Anytime you have two teams competing for a possible playoff berth, you are going to see a few fireworks.”

The Rattlers didn’t get off to a great start in game one behind right hander Matt Smith.  The Rattlers put themselves in a hole early by giving up 3 runs in the first inning as a result of a walk and an error then a timely double by Western Nebraska.  Smith went five innings, faced 26 hitters, gave up 7 hits, 4 earned runs and finished with 5 strike outs. 

The Rattlers responded offensively in the top of the 2nd with 2 runs of their own as the result of back to back doubles with 1 out by Anthony Boyle and Kevin Barnes, followed by a single by Juandy Mendoza.  The Rattlers settled in defensively after the first inning putting up zeros in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings.  In the 5th inning Western Nebraska put up 3 runs off a few timely hits which sealed the Rattlers fate in a losing effort.  The final score in game one was 8-4, but the Rattlers would bounce back.

In game two, the Rattlers sent freshman right hander Brandon Feldman to the mound.  Feldman came up big for the Rattlers throwing a complete game shutout.  Feldman went 7 innings giving up only 3 hits, and collected two strike outs. “Feldman did a great job of attacking hitters early in the count and letting our defense work behind him” stated Carrillo. 

The Rattlers struggled offensively early in the game to push a run across.  The game went scoreless until the top of the 5th inning.  Keith Huntington started the inning with a leadoff double, followed by a walk by Mendoza.  With runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs, Neiko Martinez executed the sacrifice bunt for the Rattlers, advancing both runners into scoring position. 

With 1 out and runners on 2nd and 3rd, Alex Flores executed a great push bunt to the right side of the infield to score the first run of the game.   After the RBI from Flores, the Rattlers offense came alive and they compiled 9 runs in the last 3 innings of the game.  The final score of game two was 9-0 in favor of the Rattlers.

Sunday also favored the Rattlers, with solid pitching performances in both games.  In game three, Oquist went 5.2 innings for the Rattlers only giving up 1 run in the third.  Oquist fanned 3 Cougars, gave up only 3 hits on the day and collected his 5th win of the season.  “Oquist did a great job of pitching out of a few jams and made pitches when he needed to,” Carrillo said. 

Offensively, runs were hard to come by in game one on Sunday.  The Rattlers managed to push one across in the 2nd, another in the 5th and two more in the 7th.  The final score in game three was 4-1.

In game four of the series, the Rattlers had momentum early and jumped out on the Cougars with 2 runs in the 1st inning.  This gave right hander Jarrett Bott the ability to pitch with a lead and attack the strike zone early in the game.  Bott went 4.1 innings for the Rattlers giving up 3 earned runs and 5 hits.  Bott collected 7 strikeouts and only allowed 1 walk.  The Rattlers hit through the lineup and put up 5 more runs in the 5th inning and 3 more in the 4th inning.  The final score in game four was 10-5. 

As a result of the Rattlers winning this series against Western Nebraska, they moved into third place in the conference entering the last weekend of conference play.  The Rattlers are at home this upcoming weekend against the Cougars again for another four game set.  The games are scheduled for Saturday starting at 11 a.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

“We just need to continue to focus on executing the little things at this point in the season and we feel we will be in good shape entering the last week of the regular season” Carrillo.  

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