By DIEGO LOZANO III
At the beginning of the indoor track season for the Pima Community College Aztecs, head coach Greg Wenneborg was looking for both of his crews to turn in some early national-caliber performances.
After five weeks of competition, both teams have done so and been nothing short of sensational in the process.
With the indoor championships right around the corner, Pima returned to Tucson with more national qualifiers after competing in the Arizona Relays at Central Arizona Community College on Feb.16.
Wenneborg looked to sophomore weight thrower Aaron Orduno at season’s beginning to serve as a positive example for his peers. Orduno has done so emphatically by qualifying for three events in the championships, to be held in Lubbock, Texas on March 1-2.
Many underclassmen have exhibited signs of promise as the conclusion of the indoor season inches closer. Freshmen Nikki Regalado and Makaela Pratt both raced their way into the Pima archives after their performances at Central.
Regalado, who broke the school record for the 3,000-meter race on Feb. 9, set the record for the 5,000-meter with a time of 19 minutes, 42.38 seconds to take first place.
Pratt qualified in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.44 seconds and broke sophomore teammate Aly Haskell’s previous school record in the event.
Sophomore Alejandro Valencia also stamped his name into the record books in the 1,500-meter after he finished in third place with a time of 3:58.92.
Two more Aztec jumpers will compete in Lubbock, as freshman Khalil Hakim qualified in the long jump, finishing in first place with a jump of 23-7.
Sophomore Antonio Jeter also placed second in the triple jump with his jump of 49-11.
The Aztecs previously competed in the Glendale Community College Indoor Invitational on February 9.
Sophomore Lance Ross earned a nationals-qualifying time in the 200-meter with a time of 22.02, while finishing in second place.
Pima will compete in the Glendale Last Chance meet on Feb. 22-23.
March 1-2: NJCAA Indoor National Championships, Lubbock, Texas, TBA