By JAMIE MAESE
The Pima Community College men’s and women’s cross-country teams jumped into the national top 10 when NJCAA Division I rankings were released Sept. 15.
The men’s team was ranked No. 8 with 84 points. Pima was one of two ACCAC conference teams listed, with Mesa Community College ranked No 10 with 67 points.
On the women’s side, the Aztecs were ranked No. 10 with 54 points. Central Arizona College was No. 2 with 132 points and Mesa was tied for 13th with 44 points.
“I feel like we have been training really hard as a team over the summer, and it has helped us improve in meets and build a better bond together,” sophomore Raelene Yocupicio said.
The women’s team took eighth place out of 20 teams when the Aztecs traveled to the University of California Riverside Invitational on Sept 13. The women earned 261 points in the 3.1-mile open race.
Sophomore Sarah Boughan was the top Aztec finisher, coming in at 51st place out of 247 competitors with a time of 19 minutes, 31.2 seconds.
Other top Aztecs included sophomore Shanice Alchesay in 63rd place with a time of 19:40.3 and Mariah Zavala in 86th place at 20:06.7. Yocupicio took the 115th spot at 20:38.1 and freshman Elizabeth Deaton finished in 116th place with a time of 20:38.7.
In the men’s race, the Aztecs finished 22nd out of 29 teams with a team score of 668 points.
Sophomore Anthony Spendlove was the top finisher for Pima as he took 142nd out of 239 runners with a time of 26:46.3.
Sophomore Peter Gonzales was 150th with a time of 26:52.2 while freshman Estevan Gomez crossed the finish line in 153rd place at 26:52.5.
Freshman Mark Bennett took 154th with a finishing time of 26:53.2 and freshman Amanuel Logo rounded out the top five scoring in 169th at 27:09.0.
The teams also competed at the George Kyte Invitational in Flagstaff on Sept. 6.
The women’s team took third place out of eight teams with 79 points. The Aztecs defeated Mesa Community College and Estrella Community College from their conference.
Boughan was again the top finisher for the Aztecs. She took eighth place out of 75 competitors in the 2.67-mile race with a finishing time of 17 minutes, 33 seconds. Alchesay took ninth at 17:34.
Three freshmen rounded out Pima’s top finishers. Desire Montenegro was 21st at 18:10, Yocupicio was 23rd at 18:15 and Deaton took 33rd place at 18:33.
The men’s team finished in second place out of 11 teams with 79 points.
The Aztecs beat Mesa Community College, Glendale Community College and Estrella Mountain from their conference.
Spendlove was the top finisher for Pima in the 4.5-mile race. He took 23rd out of 102 runners with a time of 24:51.
Other top finishers: Bennet was 24th at 24:54, Gomez was 27th at 25:02, freshman Ahmed Mohammed was 30th at 25:07 and Gonzales was 35th at 25:19.
“I feel that we are going to finish this season a lot better than last season because we have gained more runners,” sophomore Jeremy Yoyetewa said. “The freshman came in really strong this year while the returning runners have really improved their performance.”
The Aztecs will participate in the Dave Murray Invitational hosted by the University of Arizona on Sept. 19 at Dell Urich Golf Course. The women’s race will start at 5 p.m. and the men’s race will follow at 5:45 p.m.
Sept. 19: @ Dave Murray Invitational, Tucson
Sept. 26: @ ACCAC conference meet, Phoenix
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