by TRAVIS BRAASCH
Amanuel Logo is a little different than most students you encounter at Pima Community College. He was born in Africa, in the city of Barentu, Eritrea and, as a child he was already presented with challenges. He didn’t have the same opportunities growing up as many other students.
The star athlete for the Aztec track and field team is grateful for his new beginnings in Tucson. A dental hygienist major, attending Pima since 2013, he has been running his whole life. The refugee turned local Tucsonan, found his niche in sports after a trek he’ll never forget—his path from Africa to the United States.
At the age of 12, Logo’s mother Mattu Humed decided to take her five children from Eritrea to neighboring Ethiopia. It’s a common pathway to immigrate to the United States. More than 473,000 people migrated to the U.S. from Africa in 2013 alone for opportunities for a better life, according to the Pew Research Center.
“It was hard for my mother to leave her siblings and her mom,” Logo said. “I was excited to move, but I didn’t know I would be missing them this much.”
Eritrea has mandatory military service for all males after graduating from high school, but Logo’s mother didn’t want that kind of life for her children.
“We would have to walk to other cities at night because we didn’t want Eritrean soldiers to find us,” Logo said. “If they found us leaving Eritrea, they would put us in jail.”
From Eritrea, their first stop was in Sudan, where they were able to stay with a family for a few weeks before moving south. Once in Ethiopia, Logo’s family was reunited with his father who abandoned the military to be with his family and escape west. It was the first time they had seen their dad in a long time, said Logo.
“We could barely see him when he was in the army,” he said.
The reunited family spent the next three years living in Shimelba, a refugee camp located in northern Ethiopia, while they waited for their proper paperwork to process so they could make it to the U.S. in 2009.
“Now I am here, doing what I can to help my people,” said Logo.
As a child growing up in Africa, life was not easy but Logo found his passion in sports.
“Most kids in Africa love soccer. It’s considered to be the only sport there for most,” he said. “I didn’t really start track and field before moving to America because it’s not common in Africa. I like track and field, but I still love soccer.”
Since discovering his passion for sports and athletics, Logo worked hard in both school and sports while attending Catalina High School to obtain scholarships to further his education and attend school in the United States.
“I wanted to attend a university at first,” Logo said. “But I needed three language credits in order to attend a four year college. I was offered a scholarship from PCC to pay for my education, so why not go?”
Logo didn’t mind the move to Arizona because he loves the climate and year round sports that we have in the U.S. From hiking and biking to the many different public parks, Tucson has a great deal to offer those who are into outdoor activities.
“It’s different here than my home, but I like Arizona. It doesn’t snow or get too cold so you can always go out and do something,” said Logo.
Moving to a new country as a teenager has been an overwhelming challenge, but Logo loves challenges and has excelled because of his sheer determination.
“I have more opportunities here,” said Logo. “I can help make myself a better person with my education, and I can help myself, as well as my family.”
Since coming to Pima, Logo pushed himself to reach as far as he can in both cross country and track and field.
“Amanuel is always motivating us and setting the bar higher” said Anas Ali, a cross country teammate and refugee from Malaysia who has known Logo since they attended Catalina High together.
“He was the one who told me I should try running in high school, so I stopped playing as much soccer and started to run” said Ali.
After running in high school, both Logo and Ali continued their athletic progression at Pima.
“Amanuel is one of my role models. I really look up to him” said Ali. “We run together on weekends to train and he always pushes me to do better and better. He’s always there for me, in or out of school.”
Logo was the recipient of the All American Honorable Mention Award in cross country, an award given to the athletes who place top 15 overall at the NJCAA National Championships in Ft. Dodge, IA. Logo placed 11 out of 293 competitors.
“Working with Logo has been awesome,” said Aztec track and field coach Gregory Wenneborg. “He was really quiet at first and did well last year in all his times, but this year he has really come out of his shell and is doing exceptionally.”
After completing the current semester, Logo plans on transferring to a Division 1 university to continue his education in the dental hygienist field.
“I think he has a really good chance of getting a scholarship to a Division 1 school and doing really well in the future,” said Wenneborg. “He has the skills to become a school record holder.”
Logo said he’s proud of his first cross country win in Mesa last year and making it to nationals with the team.
“Keep going and never stop, keep going to school and take advantage of every opportunity you get,” said Logo. “Don’t let them pass you by, because they can change your life.”
by MICKEY LAMB
In college sports, the character of a team is showcased not by how a team manages its successes but through its resolve as it struggles with disappointment.
The 2014 season saw the women’s cross country team falling below the top ten positions for the first time in almost a decade. Head coach Greg Wenneborg predicted that not only would the women’s team be in the top ten this season but for his 11th season as coach for the Aztecs, both the men’s and women’s teams would have runners placing in the top ten positions every race and would close out the season in the top ten.
PCC entered the NJCAA National Championships in Fort Dodge, Iowa on Saturday, Nov. 14. The women’s team ranked 6th and the men’s team ranked 11th.
In the women’s 5k, the Aztecs placed 6th out of 42 teams with a score of 271 points.
Sophomore Kelsey Montano finished first for Pima, coming in 17th place with a time of 19.09.08.
Freshman Katy Loyd placed in 45th coming in at 19:55.3.
Sophomore Mariah Zavalah placed 47th finishing in 19:57.7. Freshman Samantha Felzien took 65th closing with a time 20:03.9, and sophomore Desire Montenegro placed 124th 21:03.9.
In the men’s 8k, Pima finished 9th out of 39 teams competing with 321 points overall.
Amanuel Logo received All-American honors for his 25:37.80 performance finishing the race in 11th place.
“It was my goal to get it before I transfer from Pima, but it was amazing and I’ve never seen my coach so proud of me,” Logo said.“It is a nice feeling standing on the podium.”
Sophomore Mark Bennett placed 35th with a final time of 26:27.4, while Ahmed Mohammed came in 63rd closing in at 27:12.7.
Freshman Anas Ali came in 92nd, clocking in at 27:28.4, with fellow freshman Armando Antonio closing the race for the Aztecs placing 142nd with a time of 28:42.0.
Pima ended the season boasting six All-Region athletes. Representing the men’s team, Bennett and Mohammed made the 3rd team All-Region. While Logo received 2nd team All-Regions and All-American honors at the NJCAA National Championship.
For the women’s team Felzien made 3rd team All-Region, Lloyd 2nd team All-Region and Montano received 1st team All-Region honors. Now that the season has come to an end, Montano shared her perspective throughout her last year as an Aztec. “I came back in this season with a goal and finished each race like it was my last.” Montano said.
by MICKEY LAMB
The Pima Community College men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the 2015 Region 1 Championships held at Villago Community Park in Casa Grande on Saturday, Oct. 31
The men’s 8K race began at 9 a.m. with Pima coming into the event ranked 13th in the country. The Aztecs placed third with a score of 80 points beating out conference rival Mesa Community College who placed fifth with 108.
“We struggled at the regional championships and came up short of our goals,” said head coach Greg Wenneborg. “We are planning on going after it at the national meet.”
Placing eighth overall out of 37 athletes Sophomore Amanuel Logo finished the race with a time of 26:01.6, earning him second team All Region honors.
Sophomore Mark Bennett came in 11th at 26:21.7 earning himself third team All-Region honors.
Sophomore Ahmed Mohamed placed 15th with a final time of 26:46.5, also earning himself third- team All Region Honors.
“It was a decent performance, my best one for the year,” said Mohamed.
The No. 5 ranked women’s team placed third with a combined score of 62 points.
Sophomore Kelsey Montano placed third out of 38 competitors with a final time of 19:05 earning her first team All Region honors.
Freshman Katy Loyd took 10th crossing the finish at 19:40.9 earning her second team All Region Honors.
Placing 12th and being named to the third All Region team Samantha Felzien came in at 19:42.8.
Sophomore Elizabeth Deaton and Mariah Zavala closed out the top five for the Aztecs with Deaton placing 17th and Zavala placing 20th.
Coach Wenneborg stated that both the 12th ranked men and the 6th ranked women will be ready for the National Championship in Fort Dodge, Iowa on Nov. 14.
“Every athlete is shooting for the best race of their life,” said Wenneborg. “We are very excited about the possibilities.”
by STEVEN FOWLER
Coming off an impressive first place finish at the Mesa Community College Thunderbird Classic, the Pima Community College Aztecs looked to carry the momentum.
The Pima men’s and women’s cross-country teams competed in the Mount San Antonio College Invitational on Friday Oct.16 in Walnut, California.
The No. 4 ranked Aztecs women’s team took fourth out of 18 teams in the invitational. Samantha Felzien finished 18th out of 143 runners in the 3.0-mile race with 19 minutes, 43 seconds. Sophomore Elizabeth Deaton finished behind her for 19th place at 19:45.
The No. 13 ranked Aztecs men’s team were also successful receiving fifth place out of 18 teams. Sophomore Amanuel Logo finished fourth in the 4.0-mile 20:55. Fellow sophomore Mark Bennett finished with a time of 21:17. Logo and Bennett received medals for their finishes.
The Aztecs have a bye week and will compete in the NJCAA Region I Championship on Friday, Oct. 30 at Villago Park in Casa Grande. The men’s race will be at 9 a.m. followed by the women’s race at 9:45.
by DEANNA SHERMAN
On Sept. 25 Pima Community College’s mens and womens cross country teams took third place in the ACCAC Conference Championship at El Rio Golf Course in Tucson.
In the womens 3.11-mile race, sophomore Kelsey Montano finished third of 37 at 19 minutes, 41.7 seconds and was named to the first team All-ACCAC conference.
Sophomores Elizabeth Deaton and Mariah Zavala made the second team All-ACCAC conference.
Amanuel Logo (sophomore) finished fourth of 54 in the mens 4.97-mile race, with a time of 25 minutes, 52.0 seconds. Also earning first-team All-ACCAC conference.
Fellow sophomore Ahmed Mohamed was named second-team All-ACCAC conference after placing 13th.
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.
BY JAMIE MAESE
The Pima Community College men’s and women’s cross-country teams closed out their season Nov. 8 at the NJCAA National Championships in Lubbock, Texas.
The men’s team took sixth place out of 33 teams with a team score of 243 points. It was the best finish for the Aztecs since 2004, when they placed fourth at the national tournament
Central Arizona was the only ACCAC team to have a better finish, placing second with 68 points.
Pima placed its top five runners in the top 60 in a field of 256 competitors.
Freshman Ahmed Mohamed was the top finisher for the Aztecs. He took 42nd place in the 4.97-mile race with a time of 26 minutes, 31 seconds.
Other top Pima finishers were:
- Sophomore Anthony Spendlove finished 49th with time of 26:41.
- Sophomore Estevan Gomez finished right behind in 50th place with a time of 26:41.
- Freshman Mark Bennett finished in 52nd place, crossing the finish line at 26:42.
- Freshman Amanuel Logo rounded out the top five in 60th place with a time of 26:53.
In the women’s 3.1-mile race, the Aztecs finished in 11th place out of 36 teams with a team score of 355 points.
Central Arizona took second place with 110 points and Paradise Valley Community College placed eighth with 277 points.
Sophomore Shanice Alchesay was the top finisher for the Aztecs, placing 23rd out of 274 competitors with a time of 18:44.51.
Other top Pima finishers were:
- Freshman Mariah Zavala took 70th with a time of 19:50.06.
- Freshman Elizabeth Deaton placed 101st at 20:15.79.
- Sophomore Sarrah Boughan took 106th with a time of 20:17.52.
- Freshman Raelene Yocupicio placed 129th after crossing the line at 20:35.97.
By JAMIE MAESE
Most student-athletes are sucked into a world of nonstop practices, conditioning, games, interviews, homework and spending time in the learning center.
Pima Community College sophomore cross-country runner Sarrah Boughan juggles all that while maintaining a 4.0 GPA, managing an internship and having a social life.
“It gets kind of crazy trying to balance everything, I definitely have to prioritize at times,” Boughan said. “The stress gets to me but as long as I still have some time to have fun, I think balancing work, school and athletics builds me into a stronger individual.”
Boughan works in a paid internship at an engineering company, has a full school schedule and has placed at almost every cross-country meet.
Her major is mechanical engineering and she would like to find a career in an engineering firm. She chose mechanical because it will allow her to work at many different places.
When she isn’t so busy, she enjoys hanging out with friends and playing basketball or any other active pursuit. She sometimes draws, and enjoys eating one of her favorite foods — ice cream.
She also has a secret talent for hula hooping.
“I sucked at it when I was a kid, then in high school I picked it up again,” she said. “I would mess around with it and learned some cool tricks.”
Many of her teammates speak very highly of Boughan, calling her a team player.
“She is a devoted runner and always trying to improve after every meet,” freshman Raelene Yocuppicio said. “Somehow she manages to juggle everything going on.”
Boughan wasn’t always a top runner.
“I wasn’t great at running in middle school but because my coach made me feel like I was, I continued to work hard,” she said. “I have improved tremendously over the years.”
She wants to continue improving as an athlete and as an individual.
The women’s team placed third in the NJCAA Region I Championships in Glendale on Oct. 27. Boughan earned all-region honorable mention after finishing 14th with a time of 20 minutes, 46.1 seconds.
The next race will the NJCAA national cross-country championship on Nov. 8 in Lubbock, Texas.
“I really want this team to perform as one of the best at nationals,” Boughan said. “To do that, I have to step my game up as an individual or my teammates need to push past me.”
Her teammates sometimes seem to find a comfortable position racing behind her, she said, and she knows they can do better.
“I don’t have any superstitions that I believe in, like lucky underwear,” Boughan said, “but I do like to eat pasta the night before and drink a lot of water to prepare myself.”
Once the season finishes, Boughan wants to transfer to a four-year college and continue running in her future.
She advises incoming runners to put in the work and always look for ways to improve.
“Every little thing adds up, whether it’s choosing to bike to work or saying ‘no’ to a doughnut being offered to you,” she said. “All choices have consequences, including laziness.”
By JAMIE MAESE
The Pima Community College cross-country teams head to South Plains College in Lubbock, Texas, on Nov. 8 for the NJCAA national cross-country championships.
During the regional championships in Glendale on Oct. 27, the men’s team placed second and the women’s team took third place.
The men finished with a team score of 72 points, their best finish at the region championships since 2003.
Central Arizona College took first place. The Aztecs beat Paradise Valley Community College, Mesa Community College, Glendale Community College and Estrella Mountain Community College.
Freshman Mark Bennett was Pima’s top finisher, taking eighth place among 40 runners with a time of 26 minutes, 44.3 seconds. He earned second team all-region honors.
Freshman Amanuel Logo was also named second team all-region after he took 10th place with a time of 26:57.
Sophomore Estevan Gomez finished 14th with a time of 27:08.4, and was awarded all-region honorable mention.
Other top finishers for the Aztecs were:
- Freshman Cruz Rodriguez took 19th place at 27:30.7.
- Sophomore Anthony Spendlove had a 21st place finish at 28:03.8.
The women had a team score of 67 points.
Central Arizona College took first and Paradise Valley finished in second place. The Aztecs beat Mesa, Glendale and Estrella Mountain.
Sophomore Shanice Alchesay was the top finisher for Pima, placing seventh of 38 competitors with a time of 19:47.6. She earned second-team all-region honors.
Freshman Mariah Zavala took 13th with a time of 20:36.9 and earned all-region honorable mention.
Sophomore Sarrah Boughan also earned honorable mention as she took 14th at 20:46.1.
Other top Pima finishers were:
- Freshman Desire Montenegro finished 16th with a time of 20:54.7.
- Freshman Elizabeth Deaton 17th place finish at 20:56.3.
On Oct. 17, Pima competed in Walnut, Calif., at the Mount SAC Community College Invitational.
The women finished in seventh place out of 14 teams with a team score of 196 points.
Alchesay was the top finisher for the Aztecs, taking 23rd place out of 140 runners with a time of 19 minutes, 35.2 seconds in the three-mile race.
Other top Pima finishers were:
- Boughan took 45th place with a time of 20:20.1.
- Montenegro finished 49th at 20:27.2.
- Deaton crossed the finish line in 55th with a time of 20:33.4.
- Freshman Col’Bi Nez was 61st with a time of 20:53.5.
The Aztec men finished seventh out of 19 teams with a score of 175.
Spendlove was the top Pima finisher in 19th place out of 183 runners with a time of 21:42.8 in the four-mile race.
Other top finishers were:
- Bennett finished 32nd in the race with a time of 22:04.9.
- Sophomore Peter Gonzales crossed the finish line in 37th at 22:13.5.
- Gomez took 42nd with a time of 22:20.9.
- Logo finished in 53rd after being clocked at 22:37.8.
By JAMIE MAESE
The Pima Community College men’s team claimed first place at the Mesa Thunderbird Classic at Mesa Community College on Oct. 11, and the women’s team placed third.
The men’s team topped the team standings with 43 points. The top five Pima runners placed in the top 20 in a field of 80 runners.
Ahmed Mohamed was the top Pima finisher in the 4.97-mile race with a 12th place finish and a time of 26 minutes, 27.7 seconds.
Other top Aztec finishers were:
- Sophomore Estevan Gomez in 13th place at 26:28.8.
- Freshman Mark Bennett was 16th at 26:42.3
- Sophomore Anthony Spendlove finished in 17th place at 26:53.6.
- Freshman Amanuel Logo in 18th place at 26:54.6.
The Aztecs defeated Central Arizona College, Arizona Christian University, Mesa Community College, Grand Canyon University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Navajo Tech University and Estrella Mountain Community College.
The Pima women’s team took third place overall but was the top junior college in the team standings with a score of 64 points.
Arizona Christian took first place with 42 points and Grand Canyon finished second with 56. The Aztecs defeated Central Arizona, Mesa, Navajo Tech and Estrella Mountain.
Sophomore Shanice Alchesay was the top Pima finisher, placing 15th out of 67 competitors in the 3.1-mile race with a time of 19:29.2.
Other top finishers for the Aztecs were:
- Sophomore Sarrah Boughan was 19th with a time of 19:53.6
- Freshman Mariah Zavala placed 22nd at 20:08.
- Freshman Raelene Yocupicio took 25th with a time of 20:16.1.
- Freshman Elizabeth Deaton finished in 27th place at 20:22.1.
The Aztecs will compete in the Mount SAC Invitational in Walnut, Calif., on Oct. 17. The women’s race will be at 10 a.m. and the men’s race will follow at 10:45 a.m.
Oct. 17: @ Mount SAC Invitational, Walnut, Calif.
Oct. 27: @ NJCAA regional women’s championships, Avondale, Ariz.
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
By DIEGO LOZANO III
The Pima Community College cross-country teams wrapped up their seasons at the NJCAA National Championships in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on Nov. 9.
The women’s team totaled 277 team points and came home with an eighth place showing in the championship standings.
Sophomore Nikki Regalado ran away with top honors, finishing 22ndout of 277 runners in the women’s five-kilometer race with a time of 19 minutes, 13.8 seconds, and
Her finish earned her honors as a NJCAA Cross Country Coaches Association All-American. Regalado placed 30th at the 2012 championships.
Freshman Sarrah Boughan placed 31st with a time of 19:26.8. Fellow freshman Shanice Alchesay was 56th, finishing in 20:02.3.
The women’s team was ranked sixth in the country before the championship contention.
“The women had a tough day with nobody having a big breakthrough race,” coach Greg Wenneborg said in a press release.
After a rough early-season stretch, the men’s squad raced above expectations in Iowa.
They finished in 20th place, with a team score of 557 points. The Aztecs owned a 23th national ranking heading into their final eight-kilometer trail.
Freshman Anthony Spendlove has carried the men’s pack all season, and did so in Fort Dodge with a 68th place performance.
Spendlove hit the finish line at 27:07 in the herd of 298 racers.
Sophomores Jose Rojas and Lucas Ruiz placed 64th and 66th. Rojas finished in 27:07.3 and Ruiz completed the race in 27:13.7.
“I’m happy the men’s team beat their ranking but we have a lot of work to do in the future,” Wenneborg said in the press release. “These guys worked hard to get to the big race.”
By DIEGO LOZANO III
One week away from the NJCAA National Championships being held in Fort Dodge, Iowa, the Pima Community College cross country teams will need to be at maximum strength and depth to put forth competitive efforts on Nov. 9.
They took a step in that direction on Oct. 28, when Pima hosted the NJCAA Region I Championships at the El Rio Golf Course.
The women’s team claimed the prized first-place trophy.
Super sophomore Nikki Regalado placed second out of 34 competitors in the five-kilometer (3.1 mile) race with a time of 19 minutes, 17.1 seconds.
Rising freshman Sarrah Boughan registered a fourth-place finish. Her time was 19:43.7.
“We’ve been working hard all season,” Boughan said.
As top finishers, Regalado and Boughan were named First-Team All-Region.
“Regionals was a good example of how much we are improving and still have left to improve before nationals,” Boughan said.
Freshman Shanice Alchesay was named Second-Team All-Region with her 10th place finish.Supporting freshmen Col’Bi Nez and Jessey Tenorio were each named All-Region Honorable Mention as they placed 12th and 14th respectively.
On the men’s side, sophomores Jose Rojas and Lucas Ruiz finished in 14th and 15th place in the eight-kilometer (4.9 mile) run. Both were named Honorable Mention All-Region.
Their performances anchored a fifth-place finish for the men.
On Oct. 18, PCC competed in the Mount San-Antonio College Invitational in Walnut, Calif.
The women scored 148 team points to claim third place out of 25 teams.
Regalado returned to the trails after a nagging leg injury left her sidelined for more than a month.
In a jam-packed field of 182 racers, Regalado didn’t lose a step. She ran away with sixth place in the 3K with a time of 18:53.
Boughan placed 24th with a time of 19:57. Nez rounded out the group in 35th place with a 20:23 finishing time.
In the men’s race, the Aztecs placed sixth out of 22 teams.
Freshman Anthony Spendlove led the charge with a 15th place finish in the 8K run, in another crowded field of 186 competitors.
Fellow freshman Peter Gonzalez finished in 46th place with a time of 22:42.
By DIEGO LOZANO III
With Pima Community College’s cross country teams looking to improve at every meet, the women have certainly held their end of the bargain thus far.
Now, the men’s team has began to hit strides midway through a tumultuous season.
Both squads made their way to Mesa on Oct. 12 for the Mesa Thunderbird Invitational at Mesa Community College.
Stellar freshman Sarrah Boughan set the tempo in the five-kilometer (3-mile) run with an eighth place overall finish in a crowded field of 79 competitors.
She finished in 18 minutes, 51 seconds, setting a new season best.
Her Aztec teammates were not far behind the pack, as Pima tallied four racers in the top 30. Freshmen Shanice Alchesay, Col’Bi Nez and Aimee Yocupicio all had strong showings.
The Pima women’s team finished third overall after compiling 94 team points.
Alchesay placed 23rd, Nez finished in 24th and Yocucipio came in at 27th.
With sophomore Nikki Regalado still inactive due to a hamstring injury, Alchesay and Nez have demonstrated the depth of their roster while their top runner recovers.
On the men’s side, freshman Anthony Spendlove led Pima with a 17th place performance in the eight-kilometer (5-mile) race. The field had 88 runners.
Spendlove’s time was 25:52.
Sophomore Jose Rojas had a time of 26:06 to earn 18th place.
Spendlove also made headlines on Oct. 5 when the Pima teams traveled to Goodyear, Ariz., for the Grand Canyon University Invitational.
He placed first overall in a field of 57 runners in the eight-kilometer (5-mile) race. No other PCC runner has accomplished a first-place finish this season.
Spendlove’s winning time of 26 minutes, 52 seconds on the hill-filled route equaled a pace of 5:25 minutes per mile.
On the women’s side, the Aztecs registered four freshmen runners within the top-20 finishing times in the five-kilometer (3-mile), led by Boughan.
After being named First-Team All-Conference at the ACCAC Championships on Sept. 27, Boughan validated that status by finishing fifth out of 57 runners in 20:38.6.
Alchesay, Nez and freshman Yaritza Ibarra placed 13th, 15th and 19th respectively, which capped a third-place team finish for the Pima women.
PCC racing will journey across the state on Oct. 18 for the Mount San Antonio College Invitational in Walnut, Calif., one of the nation’s largest cross-country events.
By DIEGO LOZANO III
Before her high school graduation from Canyon Del Oro High School in 2013, Sarrah Boughan was focused on attending and competing for Grand Canyon University.
Ultimately, Grand Canyon passed her by.
The 18-year old freshman at Pima Community College and a rising runner for the cross-country team wasn’t initially sold on switching to PCC.
“I was a bit disappointed because I had been planning to go to GCU for a year, but I was really glad about my decision to go to Pima,” she said. “I don’t need to pay for schooling and the programs they have here are just the same quality.”
She’s making GCU repent for overlooking her talent. At the Dave Murray Invitational on Sept. 20, Boughan raced with determination in the open division over a three-mile course.
Boughan concluded her performance with a 10th place finish. More importantly, her time of 19 minutes, 33 seconds surpassed all Grand Canyon runners by at least 0.6 tenths of a second.
She admits the GCU setback provides motivation.
“I realized by going for the Pima team, they’re a lot better for me than the GCU team,” Boughan said. “I feel like I would’ve proved a lot more here than at Grand Canyon.”
Boughan is grateful for the opportunity to compete at a collegiate level and could never take it for granted.
“I would miss running, it’s definitely the reason I chose Pima,” she said.
In addition to succeeding on the trail, head cross-country coach Greg Wenneborg mentioned Boughan’s excellence in the classroom as an illustration of her work ethic and ambition.
Boughan hopes to utilize PCC as a gateway into the University of Arizona in years to come.
“I just want to get into something that I feel I could make a difference in the world in,” she said.
That difference, she believes, could stem from a career in biomedical engineering.
Boughan reflected on her senior year at CDO, where she was a member of the women’s 4×800-meter relay team. The squad shattered the school’s former record at the state championships en route to her crew placing second.
Their performance is one of her most cherished memories.
“It just felt awesome to be runners-up there at state and do so well,” she said. “We were all really good friends.”
That kind of team-first mentality is what her teammates adore most about her.
She confessed that a promise of dairy delights led her into the sport in sixth grade.
“I was told that cross-country people ran to Dairy Queen every Friday, so I wanted to go get ice cream,” she said with a chuckle.
When the Tucson native isn’t treading miles in practice or excelling in the classroom, she explores her interest in the arts.
Before settling into her current goals, she aspired to channel her inner creativity as an artist or sketcher.
She also likes braiding cornrows and taking time to accompany her grandmother bird watching.
Boughan has swung from a trapeze, an adventure not many people experience.
In a what-if world, Boughan imagines she could’ve been equally successful on the hardwood as a basketball player.
Over the course of seven years, Boughan credits cross-country for helping her develop two essential life qualities: responsibility and persistence.
“Running is all about who has put in the most work,” she said.
Boughan’s work is paying dividends for her and her team. The women have made a home in the top 10 rankings in the NJCAA Division 1 since the season’s beginning.
Boughan praised Pima and the community for consistently supporting her as both a student and an athlete.
“Everyone here is pushing you to where you want to go,” she said.