By MICKEY LAMB
Pima Community College cross country head coach Greg Wenneborg has left no doubts in his runner’s minds as to what he expects of them for the upcoming 2015 season.
“I love to see top ten finishes, “Wenneborg said. “We have some good returning athletes, this is an achievable goal.”
The men’s team had its best finish since 2003 with a sixth place standing in the NCJAA National Championship, with the top five runners for the college placing in the top 60 of 256 participants, also earning them Division 1 Regional runner-up for the season.
Looking to build off that success, returning sophomores Ahmed Mohamed, Estevan Gomez, Hugo Nieves and Chris Leach will be accompanied by freshman Anas Ali, Armando Antonio, Nick Hald, Fernando Molina, Rj Schlagel and incoming sophomore Jeremy Yoyetowa.
“The challenge for these incoming freshmen is that they need to nearly double their load from a 5K race to an 8K race.” Wenneborg said. “Most of these men have never raced this distance before.”
The 2014 season also marked the first time in almost a decade that the women’s team did not finish in the top ten, placing 11th to end the season.
“I was a little disappointed with how the season ended,” Wenneborg said. ”We had some chemistry issues, but sometimes these things happen.”
Returning for the women’s team are sophomores Edith Arvizu, Elizabeth Deaton, Desire Montenegro and Mariah Zavala, with freshmen Samantha Felzien, Katy Loyd, Hannah Painter, Valeria Rascon, Hajael Zacarias, and incoming sophomore Kelsey Montano rounding out the team.
“Top ten finishes are attainable,” Wenneborg said “ But with runners, you never know. It’s easy of them to get these nagging injuries.”
The 2015 cross country season officially starts with the George Kyte Invitational on Sept. 5 at Buffalo Park in Flagstaff. The men’s races start at 1:30 p.m., and the women’s events begin at 2:15 p.m.