Editor’s note: on Oct. 14 the men’s cross country team reentered the rankings at No. 18
By Daniel Gaona
Photos by Ed Adams
With only two meets left in the regular season, the Pima Community College men’s and women’s cross country teams are in different places.
The men are currently unranked. Men’s and women’s head coach Greg Wenneborg said the squad needs to break into the top 15 within the next few weeks so it can go to nationals.
“In order to get ranked we need five guys under 27:30 for eight-kilometers but they haven’t done it yet,” Wenneborg said. “I still believe we can easily do that. Of those five, I’m sure that two can run under 26:30 on the right day.
“We just haven’t hit on all cylinders and keep having little setbacks,” he added. “It’s been a very bizarre season that way but they’re really close to popping a big one.”
Wenneborg said the only way to make it into the top 15 is to beat No. 20 Mesa Community College handily.
On the other hand, the women are the No. 9 team nationally but aren’t at 100 percent.
Injuries have been on and off with sophomores Julia Peerenboom and Annalisa Loevenguth. Peerenboom is still nursing a sore foot and Loevenguth has had issues with her calf.
Additionally, sophomore Magda Mankel is still waiting for her dual enrollment to be cleared.
“We really need her and we’re being as patient as we possibly can be,” Wenneborg said.
Wenneborg hopes to have everyone by the time Nationals roll around in the middle of November. He feels a complete women’s team would easily finish in the top five.
“If we get everyone eligible and healthy, this is a very dangerous team,” he said.
Pima will travel to Walnut, Calif., on Oct 15 for the Mt. SAC Invitational. Rather than the standard 5k for the women and 8k for the men, it will be three miles for the women and four miles for the men.
Wenneborg said since it’s an off-distance race the times won’t help in the rankings but the placings could.
“I think the guys and the girls could be top three finishers at this meet and that would help our rankings,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to go out there and run fast on a course that is challenging.”
On Oct. 21, the Aztecs will have their final regular season meet at Mesa. They will return to Mesa for the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 1 Championship meets on Nov. 2.
The Aztecs traveled to Tempe to race in the Grand Canyon University Invitational on Oct. 9. The women won the meet and the men placed second behind Mesa.
Freshman standout Heidi Lopez led the way for the women finishing fourth in 19.31.98. Sophomore Priscilla Mendoza placed fifth and freshman Rachel Whitford finished sixth.
Peerenboom and Loevenguth both missed the race. Mankel was unattached and ran 19:37.77.
The men’s team had an improved showing at the meet. Wenneborg said the team made the decision to run as a pack and the top four finished within seven spots of each other.
Sophomore Mario Portillo finished seventh in 27:12.52. Sophomore Jess Montour and freshman Humberto Bravo placed ninth and 11th respectively.
The women took second while the men were fourth at the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Championship meets on Oct. 2 in Scottsdale.
Mendoza and sophomore Julia Dittiger finished eighth and ninth respectively leading the Pima women. Freshman Andy Lacy was the top finisher for the Aztecs on the men’s side at 15th place.
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