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CROSS-COUNTRY: Team dashes into national top 10

CROSS-COUNTRY: Team dashes into national top 10

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.

 

On Deck

Sept. 19: @ Dave Murray Invitational, Tucson

Sept. 26: @ ACCAC conference meet, Phoenix

 

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CROSS-COUNTRY: Aztecs hold their own in Iowa

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.”

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CROSS-COUNTRY: Women lengthening strides at ideal time

CROSS-COUNTRY: Women lengthening strides at ideal time

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.

Pg16-Cross-country regionals

Runners with the PCC women’s cross-country team celebrate Oct. 28 with their first-place Region I Team Championship trophy. (Photo courtesy PCC/Peter Bernal)

 

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Aztecs finding niche on both sides

Aztecs finding niche on both sides

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.

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Pima proves to be better home for Boughan

Pima proves to be better home for Boughan

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.

Pg15-Profile-Sarrah Boughan

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Aztec women echoing expectations

Aztec women echoing expectations

By DIEGO LOZANO III

After three meets, it appears the Pima Community College’s cross country teams’ accomplishments will depend on the success of their women racers.

Mesa Community College  hosted the ACCAC Championships Sept. 27.

With lone sophomore Nikki Regalado inactive at the conference championships and Dave Murray tournament, a crew of freshmen has represented the Aztecs well.

Freshman Sarrah Boughan led the pack for Pima with a seventh-place finish. She concluded the five-kilometer (3.1 mile) trail in 19 minutes, 6 seconds.

After her performance in Mesa, Boughan was named to the First -Team All-Conference.

Freshmen Yaritza Ibarra, Colbi N’Ez, Shanice Alchesay and Raeleane Yucopicio each placed within the top-25 out of 45 racers.  They  received All-Conference Honorable Mention.

Freshman Anthony Spendlove highlighted the men’s side in the eight-kilometer (4.9 mile) run.

Spendlove pushed through the field of 57 racers and hit the trails end in 20th place. His finish earned Pima another All-Conference Honorable Mention.

PCC competed Sept. 20 at the Randolph Golf Course in the Dave Murray Cross Country Invitational, hosted by the University of Arizona.

Boughan was the top finisher with a 10th place performance after stopping the clock in 19 minutes, 33 seconds.

Her finish added to a positive team finish for the Pima women, who accumulated 93 points. That was the second highest total in the Open Division.

Aztec head coach Greg Wenneborg has uttered high sentiments about his lineup of women racers from season’s start, and his group has owned up to hopes.

Unfortunately, his male runners were unable to deliver a scoring team.

Spendlove was the solo standout on the men’s side once again with his performance in the 4.25-mile race, cementing himself as one of the conference’s upper freshman.

He concluded his race in 23:02.93 to earn an eighth-place finish.

Boughan and company have a sense of urgency with Regalado out and should fare well down the stretch before attempting a championship run in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Aztec racers will make their way into Goodyear, Ariz., for the Grand Canyon University Invitational at Estrella Mountain Regional Park on Oct. 5.

The women are penciled in to race first at 8 a.m. followed by the men at 8:45 a.m.

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CROSS-COUNTRY: Runners bask in glow of nationals success

CROSS-COUNTRY: Runners bask in glow of nationals success

By STEVE CHOICE

The Pima Community College cross-country teams finished their seasons with a strong performance at the NJCAA National Championships in Ina, Ill., on Nov. 10.

The women’s team came in seventh with 238 points. The Aztecs finished just behind sixth-place Mesa Community College, who scored 236.

The men also capped off their year impressively, turning in a 10th-place showing at nationals.

“We’re very happy with the results, and I’m very proud of both squads,” head coach Greg Wenneborg said. “We’ve always had the goal of having both teams finish in the top 10 at the national championships, and this is the first year we’ve accomplished that since I’ve been here.”

Wenneborg was also very gratified by the dramatic jump each squad made from its ranking going into the meet.

The women’s team was ranked 12th going in, while the men occupied the 20th spot.

Sophomore Jamie Shrader paced the Aztec women, placing 17th out of 295 competitors. She finished the 5-kilometer course in 19 minutes, six seconds.

Next for Pima was freshman Nikki Regalado, who clocked 19:34 to take 30th.

Other Aztec finishers by place and time were sophomore Lucia Hernandez, 58th in 20:05, sophomore Esther Estrada, 78th in 20:27, freshman Jackie Valencia, 107th in 20:56, sophomore Shelby Slocum, 122nd in 21:07 and freshman Ashley Dorado, 150th in 21:30.

Freshman Tyler Stamp was Pima’s top placer on the men’s side. Stamp covered the 8-kilometer circuit in 26:51, good for 21st out of 280 runners.

The next Aztec finisher was sophomore John Prillaman, whose 27:57 put him in 66th position.

Also crossing the line for PCC were sophomore Aren Maxwell, 77th in 28:02, freshman Cruz Rodriguez, 84th in 28:09, freshman Jose Rojas, 103rd in 28:27 and sophomore Arcenio Trujillo, 138th in 29:06.

Wenneborg and his squads had been wary of the late fall weather in Illinois, where temps had been consistently chilly leading up to the meet.

But the weather gods smiled on Pima on race day, as the mercury soared about 15 degrees above normal.

Illinois native Prillaman was especially appreciative of the climatic good fortune.

“I’m from there, so I was expecting the coldest weather possible,” he said. “It was windy, but it wasn’t one of those winds that’s just unbearable to run in.

“I was tracking the temps up until the day we left, and it was stuck in like the 40 to 50 degree range. Then we get there, and it’s like 70 degrees or something. It was amazing.”

Hernandez called the weather “perfect, just like a miracle.”

Following the meet, she had yet another reason to be happy.

“We rewarded ourselves by getting burgers afterwards,” she said. “I haven’t had that in such a long time. After the race, having that option was just the icing on the cake.”

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CROSS-COUNTRY: Runners looking to catch fire at nationals

CROSS-COUNTRY: Runners looking to catch fire at nationals

By STEVE CHOICE

The Pima Community College men’s and women’s cross-country squads competed in the NJCAA Region 1 Championships in Gilbert on Oct. 30, qualifying both squads for nationals.

The women’s team placed second at regionals, while the men came in fifth.

The national championship meet will be held in Ina, Ill., on Nov. 10, and both teams are looking forward to the challenge.

“We were just talking yesterday on our run about how excited we are to be there,” sophomore Jamie Shrader said. “Our team was struggling a little in the beginning of the year, but now we’re where we need to be.”

Freshman Tyler Stamp felt similarly.

“I feel pretty confident,” he said. “I think if we all run our best, we should do really well as a team, because we have a lot of talented guys on this team.”

The Aztecs will contend with more than just their opponents at the meet, as cooler temps await them in southern Illinois.

The runners aren’t the only ones watching the thermometer.

“It was 31 degrees at 9 o’clock in the morning there the other day,” head coach Greg Wenneborg told Stamp after overhearing a question about the Midwestern weather.

Stamp paused.

“Yeah … I didn’t know it was that cold.”

But then he shrugged it off.

“If we warm up good, I think we should be all right,” he said. “The beginning of the race might be cold, but by the first mile or mile and a half, I bet we’ll be warm by then.

“If we focus on our race, I bet we won’t even notice it.”

Shrader was equally unfazed by the prospect of falling mercury. On the contrary, the Flagstaff native seemed to relish the opportunity for a change of pace.

“It’s exciting, because we haven’t ever run in this type of weather,” she said. “It’ll be fun to see what it’s like, and I think it’s going to be really pretty.”

Both runners said their teams are capable of big things at nationals.

“Greg’s goal is top 10, so that’s what we’re shooting for,” Shrader said. “I think if we all have our best day, we could even get top six.”

Stamp also felt the men were capable of finishing in the top 10.

“Hopefully we can achieve that goal,” he said. “No one’s expecting anything of us, so we don’t have any pressure. We’re just going in to try and do our best.”

ON DECK

Nov. 10:  NJCAA National Championships, Ina, Ill., TBA

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CROSS-COUNTRY: Harriers place in top eight at Calif. meet

CROSS-COUNTRY: Harriers place in top eight at Calif. meet

By CLYNISHA STEVENS

The Pima Community College men’s and women’s cross-country teams competed in the Mount Sac Invitational in Walnut, Calif., on Oct. 12.

In the women’s three-mile race, PCC came in sixth place out of 26 teams, scoring 164 points. Cerritos College (Calif.) won the women’s division.

Freshman Nikki Regalado was the top Pima finisher, placing 12th out of 200 runners. She completed the course in 19 minutes, two seconds.

Other Aztec competitors were sophomore Jamie Shrader, who placed 18th in 19:11, sophomore Esther Estrada, 31st in 19:36, freshman Lucia Hernandez, 55th in 20:28, freshman Jackie Valencia, 57th in 20:31, sophomore Shelby Slocum, 71st in 20:57, freshman Ashley Dorado, 105th in 22:03 and freshman Alanna Canez, 145th in 23:29.

The Aztec men placed seventh out of 21 teams, with a total of 202 points. Cerritos also won the men’s team competition.

PCC’s top male finisher was freshman Tyler Stamp, who placed 18th out of 207 runners. He clocked 21 minutes, 40 seconds over the four-mile course.

Other Aztec finishers were freshman Cruz Rodriguez, who placed 27th in 21:49, sophomore Aren Maxwell, 35th in 22:02, sophomore John Prillaman, 55th in 22:24, sophomore Arcenio Trujillo, 77th in 22:52 and freshman Jose Rojas, 110th in 23:29.

Next up for both teams will be the NJCAA Region 1 championship meet on Nov. 1 in Gilbert.

ON DECK

Nov. 1:  NJCAA Region 1 Championships, Gilbert, 10 a.m.

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Cross Country 2011

CROSS-COUNTRY: Pima runners compete in Dave Murray Invitational

By GRETCHEN PATZE

The Pima Community College women’s cross-country team finished in 4th place at the Dell Urich Golf Course in Tucson on Friday, Sept. 14. The men’s team came in 7th in their 4.25-mile race.

The women totaled 107 points, behind third-place finisher Mesa Community College. The University of Arizona placed first in the women’s division with 15 points.

Freshman Nikki Regalado was the Aztecs’ top runner. She crossed the finish line in 19 minutes, 27 seconds and finished in 14th place out of 52 competitors. Sophomore Esther Estrada came in next for Pima, taking 20th with a time of 20:09.

Other Pima competitors were sophomore Lucia Hernandez, in 25th, freshman Jackie Valencia, who placed 37th, sophomore Shelby Slocum, in 43rd, freshman Ashley Dorado, the 46th-place finisher and freshman Alanna Canez, in 51st.

The Aztec men scored 179 points, placing last in the seven-team field.

Freshman Tyler Stamp was the top Pima finisher. He completed the race in 23:23, good enough for 30th place out of 81 runners.

Other Pima runners were sophomore Aren Maxwell, who finished 42nd, sophomore Arcenio Trujillo, in 49th, freshman Cruz Rodriguez, the 55th-place finisher and sophomore John Prillaman, in 59th.

Both teams will compete in the ACCAC Championship in Glendale on Friday, Sept. 21. The women’s race will begin at 8 a.m., followed by the men at 8:45.

 

On Deck

 

Sept. 28:  ACCAC Championships, Glendale, 8 a.m.

Oct. 6:  Grand Canyon University Invitational, Estrella Mountain Regional Park, Goodyear, 8 a.m.

 

Cross Country 2011

Cross Country 2011

 

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CROSS-COUNTRY: PCC runners capture first place at Flagstaff meet

CROSS-COUNTRY: PCC runners capture first place at Flagstaff meet

By GRETCHEN PATZE

Pima Community College cross-country runners posted first-place individual finishes, and the women’s team earned the top overall spot during their first meet of the season.

Competing at the George Kyte Invitational in Flagstaff on Sept. 1, the women’s team scored 15 points to defeat Scottsdale and Estrella Mountain community colleges.

Aztec freshman Nikki Regalado took first place among community college women, finishing her 5km (3.1 mile) race in 19 minutes, 32 seconds. Sophomore teammate Jamie Shrader posted a time of 19:44.

Tendinitis and inflammation injuries left five male runners unable to compete, but Pima competitors enjoyed individual success.

Sophomore Aren Maxwell was the top community college finisher in the men’s five-mile race. He ran a 28:11, which averages 5:38 per mile. Freshman Tyler Stamp finished in 28:49.

Head coach Greg Wenneborg said the injuries to the male runners came during training runs totaling about 60 miles a week. He decided to have them sit out the Flagstaff meet to allow them time to rest up and refuel for following competitions.

Nine men and nine women make up the Pima cross-country teams this season. Even though the squads are much smaller than usual, Wenneborg believes the runners will have a great chance during the regional and conference championships.

“We are going to continue to be strong, and keep that goal as one of our main focuses,” he said. “I think this team can pull it off.”

He noted that the women have placed in the top 10 at the national championships for the past six years.

Both teams will next compete at the Dave Murray Invitational in Tucson on Sept. 14.

For more information on the meet, visit the Pima athletics website at pima.edu/current-students/athletics or the University of Arizona athletics website at arizonawildcats.com.

On Deck

Sept. 14: Dave Murray Invitational, Randolph Golf Course at Reid Park in Tucson, 4 p.m.

Sept. 21: ACCAC Championship, TBA, 9 a.m.

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Pima Olympic hopeful Curley fails to place

Pima Olympic hopeful Curley fails to place

By MYLO ERICKSON

 

The Olympics had tryouts in Houston for the marathon on Saturday, Jan. 14. There were about 156 men racing on a 26.2 mile course, and only the top three qualified for the team.

Craig Curley is from Kinlichee, a Navajo reservation in northeast Arizona. He also happens to be a Pima Community College alumnus.

Curley also holds the PCC school record in the 5,000-meter run, which he completed in 14 minutes, 21.03 seconds.

Curley qualified to compete in the Houston tryouts by running in a half-marathon championship in 2010. He ran it in one hour, 4 minutes and 14 seconds.

Curley and his coach, Greg Wenneborg, who is the head coach for PCC’s cross country and track and field teams.

The two of them were fairly confident about Curley’s chances going into the race.

“He’s here to make the team,” Wenneborg said the Friday before the race.

Wenneborg felt Curley’s biggest challenge would be to hold back and not try to run and get into the lead right away.

However, they were still being realistic about Curley’s chances, as he has never run in a marathon before and that distance can present numerous problems for any runner.

“If nothing else, we’re hoping for at least a top-five or top-10 finish,” Wenneborg said.

Curley has spent the past year training for the race in Houston and fully committed himself to trying to make the 2012 U.S. Olympic marathon team.

The day before the race Curley spent his time relaxing and hanging out with the other athletes.

When it came time for the race to start that Saturday morning, only 120 runners took the line, instead of the projected 156.

Curley started out the race fairly strong, with his mile times ranging between 5:05 to 5:08.

This was the pace that both Wenneborg and Curley wanted to keep up, and Curley was in 50th place around the eight-mile mark.

Unfortunately, somewhere between the 20th and 23rd-mile marker, Curley began to struggle, as his energy steadily dissipated.

“It was an off day,” Wenneborg said.

Curley ended up finishing 84th, with a time of 2:39:53.

“Pretty shocking for him to finish as bad as he did,” Wenneborg said. “He’s handling it well.”

Only 85 of the 120 runners actually finished the race, as the distance took a toll on the athletes.

Curley ended up walking parts of the last two to three miles. Curley was also the youngest runner in the group, at 23.

Coming back home, the duo, are now thinking about their options for the future. They are going to take about a two-week break and then decide where they are going to go from there.

“It’s a humble beginning,” Wenneborg said.

Aztec Press File Photo

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From the archives: Cross country first PCC sport to bring national recognition

From the archives: Cross country first PCC sport to bring national recognition

BY AMY ZAMBRANO

Thirty-five years ago, the Pima Community College cross country “great pumpkins” headed to Farmingdale, N.Y., to represent Arizona and PCC at the junior college cross country national competition.

The national competition came after PCC won a state championship and a regional title with an undefeated record of 10-0.

The 1976 cross country team was the first major Pima team to compete at a national level.

PCC President Irwin Spector and coach Jim Mielke had high hopes for the team to bring home a trophy with No. 1 engraved on it.

The very experienced team was headed for a tense and challenging competition. But why the “great pumpkins” name?

Mielke awarded the name “pumpkins” because of the orange shirts the team wore.

Spectators who watched the team win the state championship added the “great” description.

During the 1976 state championship, Pima runners captured the first three places.

Art Menchaca was the first runner to cross the finish line, setting a course record time of 24:02.

Larry Martinez finished second in 24:19 and Frank Canez took third with a time of 24:22.

Mielke told reporters the Pima team had fulfilled its mission, and had an “honest shot at the national championship title.”

On Nov. 13, 1976, Mielke took seven athletes to compete for the national title, hoping to bring home that first place trophy. Unfortunately, they had to settle for second place behind a Virginia team.

For Mielke, second place recognition was enough to prove his team’s value.

“The athletes have gained the feeling that they are among the best athletes in the nation,” he said.

The Pima athletes competing were: Brian Denker, who finished in fourth place; Larry Martinez, sixth; Ruben Ruiz, seventh; Art Menchaca, eighth; Frank Canez, 20th place; David Duffy, 45th place, and Nick Ortega, 107th place.

The athletes were “pleased but not content” with their national title, Mielke said. Finishing in second place brought “the fulfillment of a dream and another goal to dream for.”

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Kelsey Montano running at nationals.

Aztecs finish season in top 20

By MEGYN FITZGERALD

In the final meet of the 2011 season, the Pima Community College cross country teams finished in the national top 20.

PCC competed at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division 1 Cross Country Championships on Nov. 12 in Hobbs, N. M.

“The goal was to have both teams in the top 10 and we just missed that,” head coach Greg Wenneborg said. “I think it will make the team hungry to achieve their goals in the coming seasons.”

Pima finished eighth of 34 teams in the women’s 5-K race losing out to Iowa Central College who won the women’s championship title.

Due to a persistent hip injury, star Pima freshman Jamie Shrader was unable to run.

“I was actually planning on running, I warmed up and got on the line,” Schrader said. “I started the race but then I could start to feel some of the pain again, and I wasn’t in a scoring position for my team so I decided to step off.”

On a windy 5 km course, the top Aztec was freshman Kelsey Montano who finished 20:19 earning her 19th place overall.

Freshman Lucia Hernandez finished 48th with a time of 20:54. Sophomore Heidi Lopez rounded out the top three with a time of 21:09, 60th place overall.

“I’m proud that the women stepped up and held it together for the championship meet and finished in the top 10,” Wenneborg said.

The men’s team finished in 13th place out of 38 teams in the 8-K race behind Paradise Valley Community College who took the men’s championship title.

Freshman Caleb Herrera led the way for the men on the 8 km course, finishing in 38th place with a time of 28:00.

Freshmen Aren Maxwell and Fabian Romero finished in 48th and 95th places with times of 28:09 and 28:45 respectively.

Pima’s women’s team finished 189 points behind race winner ICC and the men’s team finished 328 points behind men’s champion PVCC.

 

Kelsey Montano running at nationals.

Kelsey Montano running at nationals in Hobbs, New Mexico.

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Cross Country 2011

Aztecs qualify for national championships

By MEGYN FITZGERALD

 The Pima Community College women’s and men’s cross country teams qualified for the NJCAA National Championships after finishing second and third in the regional championships.

At the NJCAA Region I Championships in Gilbert, Ariz. on Nov. 1, the women earned the Region Runner-up title behind Central Arizona College while the men finished behind Central Arizona and Paradise Valley colleges.

The Aztec women finished second in a field of six teams despite being without their top runner, freshman Jamie Shrader.

 Sophomore Heidi Lopez finished first for the Aztecs, in seventh place overall, with a time of 19 minutes, 24 seconds on the 5-kilometer course. Freshman Lucia Hernandez finished in 10th place with a time of 19:40.
 Both women earned Second Team All-Region honors.
 Freshmen Kelsey Montano and Mary Cozby and sophomore Jodine Steemers finished in the top 15, earning Third Team All-Region honors.
 “We had some big breakthroughs on the women’s side with Lucia Hernandez and Mary Cozby both running lifetime PRs for the distance,” head coach Greg Wenneborg said.

 On the men’s side, freshman David-Michael Scott led the way with a 12th place finish and a time of 26:22 on the 8-kilometer course. Freshman Fabian Romero finished 15th with a time of 26:35.
 Both men earned Third Team All-Region honors.
 Other top finishers were freshman Caleb Herrera, who finished 16th, and freshman Austin Stone, who finished in the 18th spot.
 The running Aztecs will lace their sneakers one final time this season on Nov. 12 for the national championships in Hobbs, NM.
 “It’s going to be a very exciting national championship,” Wenneborg said. “We are now sharpening as we get closer and working on being rested and mentally prepared for a great race.”
 The Pima women will enter the national competition seeded No. 6 while the men are seeded No. 8, according to NJCAA rankings.
Cross Country 2011

Cross Country 2011

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