Cross Country heads to conference championship meet with issues

By Daniel Gaona
Photo courtesy PCC

Heading into one of its biggest races of the year, the Pima Community College men’s and women’s cross country teams are loaded with question marks.

The Aztecs travel to Scottsdale on Oct. 2 for the Arizona Community College Athletic Confer-ence championship meet at a time when head coach Greg Wenneborg is very nervous about both his men’s and women’s squads.

“Both sides, we’ve got big question marks,” Wenneborg said. “We’re really nervous about this meet. I think we’ll pull through as we almost always do, but we are pretty banged up.”

The men’s team has three of 11 runners dealing with injuries. Freshman Humberto Bravo turned an ankle, freshman Andy Lacy has a recurring foot injury that he sustained in high school and sophomore Mario Portillo is nursing a tender hamstring.

The women’s team is healthier but is coping with its own issues.

Sophomore Julia Peerenboom is nursing a hurt foot and sophomore Annalisa Loevenguth is dealing with a tight hamstring. At the same time, sophomore Magda Mankel is still ineligible because of dual enrollment issues but should be cleared soon.

“Today we have a hard workout so I’m going to test the waters and see how we’re doing,” Wen-neborg said Sept 27. “We need to go into the conference meet hoping for the best.”

The men’s team is not currently ranked, but Wenneborg said it’s because the Aztecs have not yet hit on all cylinders and not everyone has raced.

“We know we are stronger than we have shown so far,” he said. “Their workouts point to them being in the top 10 but everyone has to perform on race day, which is much more difficult to do than just say it.”

It is the first time in Wenneborg’s career that he has an unranked team but he remains hopeful that will change.

“We think on a good day that we can run No. 2 in the conference but we haven’t done that in a while,” he said.

The women are No. 7 and hoping to improve after the conference meet.

“All our conference teams will be there, so it will be a big opportunity to break deeper into the national rankings,” Wenneborg said.

The Aztecs will return to the Phoenix area on Oct. 9 for the Grand Canyon University Invitational.

The week after, they will travel to Walnut, Calif. for the Mt. Sac Invitational.

Pima’s last race was the Dave Murray Invitational, hosted by the University of Arizona. The re-sults were very different between the men and women.

“It was a train wreck for the guys but we had some of them out,” Wenneborg said. “On the women’s side I wasn’t happy with the way they raced but, comparing them to the rest of the con-ference, things went pretty well.”

The men place eighth overall, only ahead of Glendale Community College. They were led by sophomore Jess Montour, who placed 32nd in 23:08.56.

Pima’s women finished third behind UA and Arizona State University. Freshman Heidi Lopez finished 22nd in 19:37.94 for a strong showing, according to Wenneborg.

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