By WILL WILLCOXSON
Already well into the season, Pima Community College Track and Field teams have competed in two competitions since the beginning of the year.
After two meets, the Aztecs have 13 national qualifiers, with 11 meets still left in the season.
The Aztecs hosted teams from Central Arizona Community College, Glendale Community College, Mesa Community College and Paradise Valley Community College during the Aztec Invitational on Feb. 6-7.
During the meet, the Aztecs fielded several national qualifiers in multiple events.
Sophomore David Stiles placed first in both men’s high jump and long jump. He achieved 1.83 meters in high jump during Friday’s pentathalon events and a distance of 13.29 meters on his last long jump attempt the following day.
Freshman Ahmed Mohamed set a national qualifying mark in the indoor 1000 meter race, with a time of 2:39.47.
Freshman Meghan Sweeney, improved on her national qualifying mark in the long jump competition with a distance of 1.66 meters.
Sophomore Andrew Lee set a national qualifying mark in indoor men’s pole vault with a height of 4.35 meters on his last attempt.
The Aztec track and fields teams competed at the Paradise Valley Community College meet that took place the previous weekend on Jan. 31.
Sophomore Kaysee Pilgrim and Sweeney highlighted the women’s high jump competition, with each of them taking first and second respectively. Pilgrim reached a height of 1.66 meters and Sweeney followed just below at 1.61 meters.
Danielle Spargur hit a high jump of height of 1.61 meters tying Sweeney and also earning an NJCAA qualification spot.
Freshman Jamie Holliday achieved her personal best in the long jump competition with a distance of 5.64 meters on her last attempt, as well as setting a national qualifier and taking first place.
Sophomore Rhiannon Reece received first place and set a national qualifying mark in the women’s pole vault competition at 3.05 meters on her final jump of the day.
Sophomore Cruz Rodriquez placed third in the 1000-meter race. A time of 2:32.77 places him in third place in the country.
After taking a week off of competition, the Aztecs will resume Feb. 21 with the Glendale indoor invitational.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
The Pima Community College men’s and women’s track team had a strong showing at the NJCAA Championships on May 16-17 at Mesa Arizona.
Woman’s team takes 12th place
Sophomore Brianna Rodriguez won the national championship in the long jump for the Aztecs with a jump of 18. 11 3/4.
The win marked the second time that an Aztec women’s jumper won a national title this season. Freshman Kaysee Pilgrim won in the high jump at the outdoor nationals early this semester.
Pilgrim came close to hitting her personal best in the high jump at nationals with her third-place jump of of 5 feet, 7¼ inches, earning NJCAA All-American status.
“We had a great squad this season, and I’m very proud of everyone’s effort,” head coach Greg Wenneborg said. “The women were runnersup in the region for the third year in a row and I’m very proud of that accomplishment.”
The women finished in 12th out of 21 teams competing.
Sophomore Nikki Regalado finished in seventh place in the 5,000-meters with a time of 18: 25.98. She also finished eighth place in the 1500-meters, with a time of 4:56.28.
Freshman Rhiannon Reese finished in seventh place in the pole vault event with a vault of 10-6.
In other women’s events:
- Freshman Vanessa Fox was 10th in the long jump (17-10¼),
- Sophomore Ashley Dawson took 12th in the hammer throw (141-4),
- Freshman Maggie Prillaman took 16th in the long jump (17-3¼),
- Freshman Raelene Yocupicio finished 18th in the 800 meters (2:25.14),
- Yocupicio, freshman Shanice Alchesay, sophomore Tenishia Reynolds and freshman Col’Bi Nez were 10th in the 4×800 relay (10:00.03).
Men’s team finishes in 28th place
Despite finishing 28th, the Aztec men’s track team had some strong performances at the NJCAA Championships.
Sophomore Alfonso Mejia had the best performance for the Aztecs with his fifth-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 53.50.
In other men’s events:
- Sophomore Deante Gaines took 10th in the long jump (23-6¼),
- Sophomore Eddie Wilcox tied for 11th in the high jump (6-8),
- Freshman Anfernee Alexander took 12th in the discus throw (149-10) and 16th in the shot put (46-9½),
- Freshman Kevin Snead was 14th in the 100 meter dash (10.68),
- Sophomore Khailil Hakim was 18th in the long jump (21-7¼),
- Freshman Cruz Rodriguez was 27th in the 800 meter (1:58.51),
- Freshman Anthony Spendlove finished 32nd in the 5,000 meter race (16:56.79),
- The relay team of Mejia, freshman David Stiles, Hakim and Snead took 17th in the 4×100 (41.95).
With a majority of the roster returning next season, Wenneborg feels that next year’s Aztec team can take his program to the next level.
Women’s team takes second at regionals
Compiled from PCC press releases
The Pima Community College women’s track and field team claimed second place for the second straight year at the Region I Championships at Mesa Community College on May 8.
The women’s team beat out Mesa Community College in the last event of the day, the 4×400 relay, to finish with a team score of 156.
Mesa took third place with 155. Central Arizona College captured first place with a team score of 281.
PCC’s men’s team finished in third place with a team score of 144. Central Arizona took first place and Mesa finished second.
The Aztecs claimed five individual region championships, including four on the final day.
Freshman Anfernee Alexander won in the discus with a winning throw of 148 feet, 6 inches.
Sophomore Alfonso Mejia won the 400-meter hurdles race, taking the lead after the final hurdle. He finished with an improved qualifying and personal best time of 53.16 seconds.
Sophomore Nikki Regalado won the 1,500-meter race with an improved national qualifying and a personal best time of 4 minutes, 48.02 seconds.
Freshman Raelene Yocupicio claimed the 800-meter race region championship and set a qualifying and a personal best time of 2:20.85.
On May 6, sophomore Brianna Rodriguez won the region title in the long jump.
In other events, freshman Anthony Spendlove took third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a personal best time of 10:24.80.
The 4×100 relay team of Mejia and freshmen David Stiles, Darrius Morris and Kevin Snead set a national qualifying mark with a time of 41.70.
Freshman Cruz Rodriguez set a national qualifying mark and a personal best in the 800-meter race with a time of 1:54.71.
Sophomores Marlee Sherwood and Becca Harris took second and third respectively in the triple jump.
Sophomore Deante Gaines finished second in the triple jump.
Regalado took second in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 18:55.93.
To see complete results, visit: http://wingfootfinish.com/live/index.htm.
The Aztecs will have more than 20 athletes competing at the national championships on May 15-17 at Mesa Community College. Competition begins each day at 3 p.m.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
The Pima Community College men’s and women’s track team made big strides in the second day of the Region I track championships in Mesa on May 6.
The final day of competition took place after Aztec Press went to the printer.
Results will be posted at aztecpressonline.com as they become available.
Pima returns to Mesa May 15-17 for the NJCAA national outdoor championships.
Women take five-point lead
After two days at regionals, the women’s team had a five-point lead in the overall standings.
Sophomore Brianna Rodriguez took first place in the long jump with a jump of 18-7. Freshman Vanessa Fox took second place with a jump of 17-7.
Freshman Kaysee Pilgrim took second place in the high jump with a jump of 5-5 1/4.
The relay team of sophomore Nikki Regalado and freshmen Raelene Yocupicio, Shanice Alchesay and Col’Bi Nez set a national qualifying mark with their second-place finish in the 4×800 relay with a time of 9 minutes, 50.6 seconds.
On April 26, the Aztec women set national qualifying marks in their final meet of the regular season at the University of California Triton Invitational in San Diego.
Pima was led by Regalado and sophomore Kathy Fisher.
Regalado set a new national qualifying time and school record in the 5,000-meters with a time of 17:30.58, destroying her old record of 18:26.90.
Fisher set a new personal best in the 400 hurdles with a time of 1:03.06. She finished in third place.
Alchesay set a national qualifying time and new personal record in the 5,000 race with a time of 19:25.59.
Men sitting in second place
The men’s team was in second place with one day left in the regional championships.
They were down by three points and still had heavy hitters left to compete.
Sophomores Khalill Hakim and Eddie Wilcox tied for second place in the long jump with jumps of 6-8.
Freshman Luke Ross took fourth place in the high jump with a jump of 6-4.
At the Triton Invitational on April 26, freshman Anthony Spendlove set a national qualifying mark in the 5,000 with a time of 15:42.96.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
Pima Community College men and women’s track team went 2-2 in their second conference meet of the season in Mesa on April 18.
Women’s team qualifying
PCC women’s team improved on some existing national qualifying mark at Mesa. Sophomore Nikki Regalado took first place in the 1500-meter with a time of 4 minutes, 49.17 seconds.
Sophomores Brianna Rodriguez, and Ashley Dawson each hit national qualifying marks in their respective events. Rodriguez took first place in the long jump with a jumps of 18-11 ¾. While Dawson hit her mark in the hammer throw with a toss of 142-11.
Freshman Vanessa Fox took second place in the long jump with a jump of 18-3 ¾. Freshman Kaysee Pilgrim took second place in the high jump with a jump of 5-3 ¾.
Sophomore Kathy Fisher also set a national qualifying time in the 400-meter. Her time was 1:03.8, which was good enough for second place.
The women’s team performance was good enough to earn a 3-1 mark versus the other school they competed against.
PCC women’s team had a strong performance in the Mesa invitational on April 11.
Rodriguez took first place in the triple jump with a jump of 18-6.
The relay team of freshman Maggie Prillaman and sophomores Tanisha Reynolds, Rodriguez and Fisher took first place in the 4X400 with a time of 4:04.59.
Men’s team hits marks
PCC men’s team set some new national qualifying marks in their second conference meet of the season at Mesa on April 18.
Sophomore Eddie Wilcox continued his undefeated streak in the high jump with his first place jump of 6-9 ¾.
Freshman Kevin Snead set a new personal best in the 100-meter with a national qualifying time of 10.55.
While sophomore Deante Gaines set a new national qualifying mark in the long jump with a jump of 23-10 ¾.
Freshman Anthony Alexander sets two national qualifying marks at the Mesa outdoor invitational on April 11.
Alexander set new marks in the discus and shot put. In the discus event he had a throw of 1152-6 and in the shot put he had a throw of 50.¾.
Sophomore Alfonso Mejia took first place in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 53.58 that was also good enough to set a new national qualifying time.
The men’s team also took second and third place in the long jump. Sophomores Kahlil Hakim and Gains had jumps of 22-2 and 22-11 ¾ respectively.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
Pima Community College athlete Kevin Lamont Snead has played football his entire life. It wasn’t until this spring that Snead decided to apply his talents to the track.
He had no idea that he could get this good so fast in a sport in which he’s never competed.
In only his second race, he ran the 100-meters in 10.61 seconds, which was good enough for fifth place all time in PCC history.
Snead’s hard work and positive attitude haven’t gone unnoticed.
“He’s a great teammate and person,” head track coach Greg Wenneborg said. “He has done some great things in such a short time. He has run a 10.6 in the 100-meters and will very likely run under 10.5 by the end of the year.”
A native of Richmond, Va., Snead has played football since he was 8 years old. He went on to become a football star at Clover Hill and George Wythe high schools in Virginia.
Snead didn’t accomplish everything he wanted to do while in high school, so he was forced to take the junior college route after graduation to continue his athletic career.
“The game speed is a lot faster and guys are a lot bigger than they were in high school,” he said.
When Snead came to PCC, he had to try out for the football team. He quickly got noticed when he clocked a 4.3 40-yard dash.
“ They’re aren’t that many kids that can run that fast,” head football coach Jim Monaco said.
“We tried to have special packages for him so we could maximize his talents and abilities,” the coach added.
Monaco quickly realized that Snead’s talents could also be used on the track team.
“Snead is blazing fast and I’m glad he’s found his niche with track because he’s very, very good,” Monaco said.
When times get hard, Snead turns to the support of his mother and grandmother.
They have always have been there for him in times of need, and give him the confidence and strength he needs to move forward.
The oldest of three, Snead feels the added pressure of being a positive role model for his two younger siblings.
“My brother right now is a starting slot receiver at Hermitage High School in Richmond, and my sister is in cheer,” he said. “They both look up to me a lot.”
Snead hopes to eventually earn a degree in sports medicine. It’s something he has always been interested in and something he feels he can be good at.
For now, however, he’s focusing on being the best runner he can be to help the Aztecs continue their success on the track.
Five universities are looking to give him a chance to continue his athletic career, three for football and two for track. Snead wants to keep the names of the schools to himself for now, so he doesn’t jinx anything.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
Pima Community College men’s and women’s track teams failed to provide a national qualifier during competition at the Glendale Community College Outdoor Invitational on April 5, but did have several first-place finishes.
To date, 14 Aztecs have national qualifying marks.
Women jumpers dominate
On the women’s side, four Aztec jumpers finished with top marks for the day.
Sophomores Marlee Sherwood and Becca Harris finished in the top two in the triple jump. Sherwood took first place with a jump of 36-4, while Harris had a jump of 35-7.
Freshman Maggie Prillaman took first place in the long jump with a jump of 17-4. Freshman Vanessa Fox finished right behind Prillaman with a jump of 16-5, which was good enough for second place.
At the March 29 Puma meet, sophomore Nikki Regalado finished first in the 10,000-meter race and set a qualifying time of 40 minutes, 35.1 seconds. She also qualified in the 5,000-meter with a time of 18:26.9.
Harris and Sherwood once again finished in the top two of the triple jump, but this time their roles reversed. Harris had a jump of 36-9 and Sherwood’s jump was 36-2.
Sophomore Briana Rodriguez took first place in the long jump with a jump of 17-7. Fox finished second with a jump of 17-3 1/4.
Sophomore Ericha Edwards took first place in the 400-meter with a time of 1:03.75.
Snead takes top 100-meter spot
The men’s team had one top finisher at the Glendale meet. Freshman Kevin Snead took first place in the 100-meters with a time of 10.67.
At the March 29 Puma Multi-Meet, freshman Anfernee Alexander set a national qualifying mark in the discus throw with a distance of 152-2. The throw won him third place.
Sophomores Eddie Wilcox and Deante Gaines and freshman Luke Ross finished in the top three spots in the high jump. Wilcox took first place with a jump of 6-6 while Ross and Gaines both had jumps of 6-4.
Sophomore Justin Garms took first place in the triple jump with a jump of 39-7 1/4.
PCC next competes at the Mesa Classic Invitational on April 11.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
The Pima Community College men’s and women’s track teams set five national marks in the Willie Williams Classic at the University of Arizona on March 21-22.
Women set national marks
The women’s team continued a strong start to the season by setting national marks at the Willie Williams Classic.
Sophomore Nikki Regalado finished fifth behind four UA runners in the 5,000-meter race. Her time of 18:26.95 was the No. 1 qualifying JUCO time in the nation.
Sophomore Kathy Fisher finished second in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:03.23, which was the second-best qualifying time in the nation.
The 4×400 relay team of freshman Maggie Prillaman and sophomores Brianna Rodriguez, Tenishia Reynolds and Fisher earned a national qualifying mark with a time of 3:59.27.
The women started conference competition March 15 with a second-place finish at Paradise Valley. They lost to Central Arizona College, but defeated Paradise Valley, Mesa and Glendale community colleges.
Fisher qualified for outdoor nationals with a second-place finish in the 400-meter. Her time was 1:03.52.
Freshman Kaysee Pilgrim took second place in the outdoor high jump with a jump of 5-5.
Rodriguez took first place in the long jump with a jump of 17-8 and finished third in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.54.
She also competed in the 4×400 with Reynolds, Prillaman and freshman Aimee Yocupicio. The relay team took second place with a time of 4:06.67.
Yocupicio also finished second in the 800-meter race with a time of 2:29.42 Men continue strong start
The men’s team also set national marks in the Willie Williams Classic.
Sophomore Alfonso Mejia had the nation’s best qualifying time in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 53.59.
Sophomore Eddie Wilcox improved his national qualifying mark in the high jump with a jump of 6-10 3/4.
The men finished in third place at Paradise Valley on March 15. They defeated Paradise Valley and Glendale but lost to Central Arizona and Mesa.
Three athletes set outdoor national qualifying marks at the meet.
Wilcox qualified in the high jump with a first-place jump of 6-8.
Freshman Kevin Snead finished second in the 100-meter dash with a qualifying time of 10.61, the fifth-fastest in PCC history.
Sophomore Deante Gaines qualified in the long jump with a fourth-place finish of 23-10, the eighth-longest in school history.
He also took second place in the high jump with a jump of 6-6.
Freshman Anthony Spendlove took second place in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:46.48.
Freshman Khalil Hakim placed second in the triple jump at 42-6.
The Aztecs have six national qualifying marks after two events in the outdoor season. They will next compete at the Puma Outdoor Distance and Multi-Meet March 27-29 in Phoenix.
By NICK MEYERS
Mexico native Sandra Araiza left Hermosillo, Sonora, with dreams of becoming a biomedical engineer.
The 19-year-old international student is now in her second semester at Pima Community College, on her way to doing just that.
Araiza’s interest in medicine began in high school. During her senior year, her class visited hospitals to learn more about the medical environment.
“We went to hospitals and we’d see how they work and the environment, and I liked it,” she said.
Her choice in studies brought Araiza to the United States. With aspirations of practicing medicine, she obtained a scholarship from the Arizona-Mexico Commission to attend college in Arizona.
The commission, which aims to improve Arizona-Mexico relationships, offers scholarships to provide in-state tuition for international students. Araiza’s career choice made her a prime candidate.
“It is difficult if you choose a career that is also available in Sonora, but if you choose a career like biomedical engineering they will give it to you because there’s no career there,” Araiza said.
Despite opportunities to attend a university in Mexico, Araiza took advantage of the scholarship to obtain the education she wanted.
Araiza’s family has encouraged her to attend college from a young age. Her parents both obtained law degrees from the Universidad de Sonora. Although Araiza is not the first member of her family to go to college, she is the first to choose to attend school in the United States.
“When I told my family that I was going to school in America, many of them told my mom, ‘No! Don’t let her go,’” Araiza said.
She went anyway, but still makes time for family Skype updates and visits often.
Araiza has participated in both basketball and track and field in state-sponsored and high school leagues since age 8. She received a basketball scholarship to an Hermosillo-based private school, Tecnologico de Monterrey.
“I’ve always had a basketball scholarship, since the year after I started,” Araiza said. “At 9 or 10 I got the scholarship for elementary, then middle school and all throughout high school.”
The Tecnologico de Monterrey offers education at many levels ranging from high school to post graduate studies. The school focuses on science, technology, engineering and math subjects, which heavily supported Araiza’s interests.
At PCC, Araiza participates in track and field and is a member of the engineering, math and drama clubs.
She plans to transfer to the University of Arizona in Fall 2015 to earn a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering.
Her only concern is that she won’t be able to continue her athletic career down the road.
“Since I’ve been in a sport since 8 years old, it is very difficult, the idea of there will be a point that I have to leave,” she said.
Araiza may know her major, but doesn’t yet know where she wants her career to take her.
“You could be the one who makes equipment for medicine or you could build robotic hands or you could invent a procedure for surgeries to not be so risky,” she said. “I could do it all!”
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
Pima Community College men’s and women’s track team put on an impressive performance at the Indoor National Championships at the Armory in New York City on March 7-8.
Women’s track team takes home 10th place
The women’s team showed their muscle with two top-three finishers.
The top finisher was freshman Kaysee Pilgrim, who won the national championship in the high jump. Her first-place jump of 5 feet 7 inches also set a Pima indoor record.
“I knew I had it in me,” Pilgrim said. “I just had to push myself to show everyone else I could do it.”
“She is my first jumper to win a national championship in the seven years since I’ve been at Pima,” jumpers coach Chad Harrison said.
Sophomore Nikki Regalado broke two school records in the distance medley relay and 3000-meter race.
Regalado took second place in the 3000-meter with a time of 10 minutes 17:32 seconds. Her finish earned her All-American status.
She also finished in third place in the distance medley relay with sophomores Heidi Lopez and Kathy Fisher and freshman Raelene Yocupicio. They finished with a time of 12:24:29, which was also a Pima record.
Lopez broke her own Pima indoor school record in the one-mile run, finishing in seventh place with a time of 5 minutes, 19.79 seconds.
Sophomore Brianna Rodriguez took seventh place in the long jump with a jump of 18 feet, 3¼ inches.
“It’s was a fabulous performance, it exceeded our performance in so many way,” head coach Greg Wenneborg said.
The women finished with a team score of 28 points, which put them in 10th place out of 27 teams. They were also the top finishing team from Arizona.
Men’s team finishes in 25th place
The men’s team didn’t fare as well as the women, but still had a strong showing.
Sophomore Eddie Wilcox took fourth place in the high jump with a jump of 6 feet 8 inches and 13th place in the long jump with a jump of 19 feet 11 inches.
Sophomore Khalil Hakim took eighth place in the long jump with a jump of 22 feet 11 inches.
The men’s team finished with a team score of 5.5 points, which put them in 25th place out of 28 teams.
“I’m confident that our men’s team will achieve the goal of having numerous National Championships qualifiers for outdoors,” Wenneborg said.
Wenneborg also feels that both teams have a real shot of winning regionals this year, the main team that stands in their way is Central Arizona College.
The Aztecs open conference play at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix on March 15.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
Pima Community College had two athletes finish in the top 10 nationally during the Glendale Last Chance meet on Feb. 22.
Freshman Rhiannon Reece set her pole-vaulting mark at 10 feet 6 inches, which placed her ninth nationally.
Sophomore Kathy Fisher finished the 600-meter race with a time of 1:37.73, which also ranked ninth nationally.
The records qualify the two to compete at the NJCAA National Championships in New York on March 7-8.
“This year, that’s good enough to just qualify,” head coach Greg Wenneborg said.
Other Aztecs hit qualifying marks, but will not advance to nationals because Pima has a rule that they must be ranked in the top 12 to 15, Wenneborg said.
Pima will compete at the Arizona Relays at Central Arizona College on March 1 before sending qualifiers to the national championships.
On Feb. 15, PCC athletes achieved several national marks during the Pima Indoor Invitational.
On the men’s side, freshman Kevin Snead took first place in the 60-meter race with a time of 6.89 seconds. In the 200 meters, Snead set a national qualifying time of 21.96 seconds.
Freshman Cruz Rodriguez took first place in the 800 meters. Sophomore Eddie Wilcox set another national qualifying mark in the high jump with a jump of six feet eight and three-fourth inches.
On the women’s side, freshman Heidi Lopez nearly broke a Pima record in the 1500 meters, finishing in first place with a time of 4:55.77.
Sophomores Kathy Fisher and Brianna Rodriguez each took first place in their respective events.
Fisher won the 400 meters with a time of 58.92, while Rodriguez won the long jump with a jump of 18 feet 6 inches.
Sophomore Lucas Ruiz running in the 1,500-meter race on Feb. 15.
Compiled by Katie Stewart
Six members of Pima Community College’s track and field team qualified for nationals during the first meet of the season at the Paradise Valley Community College Indoor Invitational Jan. 24-25.
In men’s competition, Eddie Wilcox became an indoor national qualifier with a high jump of 6 feet, 10¾ inches.
Anfernee Alexander qualified in the shot put, finishing second with a 15.01-meter throw.
Alfonso Mejia set a qualifying mark in the 600-meter race with a time of 1 minute, 23.45 seconds. Kevin Snead qualified with a second-place finish of 7.02 in the 60-meter race.
Cristian Gutierrez took first place in the 35-pound weight throw with a toss of more than 46 feet.
In the women’s competition, Rhiannon Reece and Kaysee Pilgrim set indoor national qualifying marks.
Reece pole-vaulted at 10 feet for her qualifier and Pilgrim completed a high jump at 5-1¼.
Kathy Fisher took first place and tied her own school record in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 9.33. Ericah Edwards took first place in the 400-meter race with a time of 62.83.
The Aztecs will host the Aztec Indoor Invitational at West Campus on Feb. 1 at 11 a.m.
By STEVE CHOICE
Pima Community College’s track and field teams closed out a successful campaign at the NJCAA national outdoor meet on May 18. The three-day competition was held at Gowans Stadium, the home track of Hutchinson Community College (Kan.).
The women came in 16th out of 29 teams, scoring 19 points. The men tallied nine points to claim 22nd out of 36 squads.
Freshmen Brianna Rodriguez and Nikki Regalado earned All-American honors for Pima. Rodriguez soared to a third-place finish in the long jump, going 18-7 on the final day of the meet. Regalado placed fifth in the 10,000-meter run on day one, clocking 18 minutes, 46.72 seconds.
“Although we came up short on the team placing at the national meet this weekend, we achieved all of our goals,” head coach Greg Wenneborg said. “All in all, I think we should be very proud of our Aztec track and field squad for all their accomplishments.”
Freshman Kathy Fisher crossed the finish line in sixth position in the finals of the 400 hurdles with a time of 1:03.29. Fisher broke the school record for the event on day two, running 1:02.77.
Sophomores Esther Estrada and Lucia Hernandez also competed in the 10,000. Estrada placed 13th in 42:17.37 and Hernandez claimed 15th with a time of 43:01.85.
On the men’s side, freshman Alejandro Valencia took fifth place in the 3,000 steeplechase, completing the circuit in 9:33.40.
Freshman Eddie Wilcox leapt to seventh in the high jump, clearing 6-9 3/4.
In the 1,500, sophomore Lucas Ruiz placed seventh in 3:59.76, while fellow sophomore Luis Gonzalez was one spot behind him, crossing in 4:01.40.
At the regional meet, held in Mesa on successive weekends in late April and early May, the Aztecs totaled nine champions for the four-day event.
The men’s team finished second with 178 points behind front-runner Central Arizona College. The women also came in second, scoring 187 points, with Central again as champion.
For the men, Ruiz won the 1,500 for the second straight year, clocking 3:54.79.
Freshman Deante Gaines claimed the triple jump title with a leap of 47-4 7/8. He also placed first in the long jump.
Wilcox cleared 6-9 7/8 to win the high jump, while sophomore Aaron Orduno took the crown in the hammer throw with a heave of 160-11 1/8.
The men’s 4×400 relay team of sophomores Ruben Canastillo, Lance Ross and Labriel Leach and freshman Alfonso Mejia posted a nationals-qualifying mark, finishing third in 3:17.01.
Regalado broke the tape in the 5,000 in 18:59.87. Sophomore Aly Haskell took top honors in the 400 with a 56.88 effort, and freshman Marlee Sherwood won the triple jump by soaring 37-9 7/8.
On day three in Mesa, Rodriguez leapt to a first-place finish in the long jump with a leap of 18-8 5/8.
The ACCAC released its all-conference teams on May 8. Below are the Pima athletes who made the first and second teams, respectively.
Leach — 400 hurdles
Caleb Herrera (SO) — 5,000
Canastillo — 4×100 relay
Gaines — 4×100 relay, long jump
Orduno — hammer throw, discus, shot put
Ross — 4×100 relay
Ruiz — 1,500
Khalil Hakim (FR) — 4×100 relay
Stuart Landis (FR) — javelin
Jose Rojas (SO) — 3,000 steeplechase
Regalado — 1,500
Sherwood — triple jump
Estrada — 5,000
Haskell — 4×100 relay, 400
Fisher — 400 hurdles, 4×100 relay
Diona Johnson (FR) — 4×100 relay
Makaela Pratt (FR) — 4×100 relay
Pima Community College will have more than 20 athletes competing at the NJCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Hutchinson, Kan., on May 16-18.
On April 29-30, Pima looked to its multi-event athletes to place among the region’s best at the meet in Mesa.
Sophomore decathlete Jarrell Betton did so emphatically by racking up a total of 5,847 points to place third overall.
With the performance, Betton is now ranked eighth in the nation. As long as Betton can maintain a top-16 position, he will make his way to Hutchinson for a taste of championship competition.
The women’s heptathlon was also contested, with two Aztecs holding it down for Pima.
Sophomore Kami Humphrey and freshman Becca Harris had strong showings, finishing third and fourth, respectively.
Humphrey totaled 3,670 points in her best effort of the year, while Harris scored 3,357. Both women are seeded in the top 16 of the event.
The squads’ other athletes participated in the Triton Invitational at the University of California-San Diego on April 26-27. The meet drew young talent from across the nation.
Pima added four new entrants to its list of 5,000-meter run competitors at nationals.
Freshman Nikki Regalado reinforced her status as an elite competitor by crushing her own school record by nearly six seconds in the 5,000, winning in 17 minutes, 46 seconds.
Not far behind her were sophomore teammates Jamie Shrader, Heidi Lopez, Lucia Hernandez and Esther Estrada, who all easily clocked national-qualifying times in the event.
Sophomore Luis Gonzalez turned in a personal-best 4:00.32 in the 1,500 to move on to the roster of championship-bound runners.
On April 20, the Aztecs made an impressive showing at the second ACCAC Conference Meet in Glendale.
The men’s squad kissed its sister by equaling Central Arizona Community College with 92 points for a first-place tie, while handing defeat to the Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley and Scottsdale community college teams.
On the women’s side, PCC tallied 78 points to place second.
Freshman triple jumper Marlee Sherwood has ascended the ranks to add her name to the list of Hutchinson-bound competitors. Sherwood leaped 38-3 in Glendale, snatching a first-place finish in the process.
Sophomore sprinter Aly Haskell, a future University of Colorado Buffalo, blazed down the track in the 400-meter dash, winning in 56.73. Haskell will compete with both the 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams in Kansas.
The 4×100 team of Haskell and freshmen Diona Johnson, Kathy Fisher and Makaela Pratt had a national-qualifying performance in San Diego, crossing the finish line in 48.39.
Sophomore Aaron Orduno completed the trifecta of throwing events, placing second in all three.
In the hammer throw, Orduno launched the 16-pound hammer 153-7. He also tossed the shot put 46-6 and the discus 142-3, wrapping up a superb outing. He will be participating in the shot put and hammer throw at nationals.
Sophomore Labriel Leach took first place and posted a national-qualifying time in the 400 hurdles, finishing in 52.86.
The teams have exhibited consistency and turned in top-tier performances all season.
With the men holding an 8-1-1 record in conference competition and the women in similarly good standing at 8-2, neither squad should be overlooked in Hutchinson.
Pima’s full squads will journey to Mesa for the Region 1 championships on May 7 and May 9, in hopes of placing several Aztecs among the region’s finest. Competition is set to begin at 5 p.m. on both days.
By DIEGO LOZANO III
With the NJCAA Outdoor Championships nearly a month away, the Pima Community College track and field teams are starting to get hot at just the right time.
At the Glendale Last Gasp Meet on April 13, Pima increased its list of national-qualifying athletes after sophomore Lucas Ruiz broke the tape in the 1,500-meter run in 3 minutes, 58 seconds to claim his spot for national championship action in Hutchinson, Kan., on May 16-18.
The Aztecs made their presence known as sophomore Luis Gonzalez also took the top spot in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, clocking 10:01.10.
Freshmen jumpers Brianna Rodriguez and Marlee Sherwood each had impressive showings down in the sand pits, as each accumulated a top-3 finish.
Rodriguez leaped to 16-2 in the long jump on her best effort to finish third. Sherwood’s best series of jumps put her at 37-3, just inches behind the top finisher.
Before Glendale, the squads traveled north for the Mesa Classic Invitational and the Sun Angel Classic at Arizona State University on the weekend of April 5-6.
Ruiz and freshmen Caleb Herrera and Tyler Stamp each eclipsed the national-qualifying time for the 5,000 at Mesa by at least 10 seconds to punch their tickets to Hutchinson.
The Pima women were on fire at Mesa, as sophomore Jamie Shrader also added her name to the national-qualifying list with her third-place finish in the 1,500 in 4:57.78.
Freshman Kathy Fisher stepped up to the plate at Mesa, blazing down the track in the 400 hurdles for the first time this season. She earned a spot to Hutchinson after her qualifying time of 1:05.24 gave her a fourth-place finish.
Sophomore speedster Aly Haskell, who recently signed a letter of intent to compete at the University of Colorado next season, sprinted to a fourth-place finish in the 400 after clocking her final time of 56.83.
Pima found a bright spot in the javelin throw after freshman Stuart Landis launched the spear 184-10, tallying his best mark of the season.
Freshmen Deante Gaines and Khalil Hakim and sophomore Antonio Jeter also combined for three top-10 finishes in the long jump. Gaines and Jeter finished second and third respectively, while Hakim took seventh.
Gaines also stretched out to 47-4 in the triple jump, racking up a third-place finish, while Hakim jumped 42-9 to finish a few spots below at eighth.
Wilcox has been in beast mode throughout the season, and jumped to second place at Mesa. His highest mark was 6-7.
Wilcox also took fifth place at the Sun Angel meet with a two-inch improvement of 6-9, competing against top-tier athletes.
Freshman Nikki Regalado, who has already qualified in the 5,000, battled to 14th at Sun Angel against heavy competition, while of shattering the school record for the event with her time of 17:52.85.
Sophomore Labriel Leach continued to showcase his talents in the 400 hurdles in front of national scouts at the Sun Angel Classic with his third-place finish in 53.34 seconds, placing above many Division I athletes.
With 19 athletes already booked to compete in national championship action, the Aztecs have been a model of consistency throughout the outdoor season.
PCC will return to Glendale for the second ACCAC Conference Meet on April 20 to attempt to add to their already stellar roster of championship competitors.
By DIEGO LOZANO III
Former Pima Community College track athlete Jason Holley considers himself very fortunate to still be involved with the sport he loves.
Holley, a 2002 graduate of Santa Rita High School, had many prolific performances during his two-year stint at PCC. They ultimately landed him an athletic scholarship to Adams State University (Colo.).
An injury-filled season at Adams State eventually marked the end of Holley’s days as a competitive jumper. He came back to Tucson to further pursue his education at the University of Arizona.
With his competing days as an athlete far behind him, Holley admitted the adjustment of solely committing his time and effort to school wasn’t a feasible task.
“All I was doing was working and going to school five or six days a week, and it just wasn’t fun,” he said. “One day I just wasn’t feeling it anymore.”
Holley said being out on the track was all he had known since junior high, and he felt a void in his life. The feeling eventually led to him temporarily dropping out of school.
“I look at it as a bad decision, but it kind of helped me out in a way,” he said. “I had to find something.”
That came in the form of a former Pima teammate, who caught up with Holley in a class at UA before his decision to drop out.
Marcos Blanco, then an assistant track coach at Sunnyside High School, strongly urged Holley to join the staff as a jumps coach. From there, Holley was introduced to a whole different life on the track.
“I liked it, you know. It filled the void of when I wasn’t going to practice,” he said. “I was able to go help people out, but at the same time it was hard for me to tell these kids to go to college when I dropped out, so that made me go back and finish up.”
From there, Holley adopted a new role on and off the track, and he hasn’t looked back.
After coaching at Sunnyside for six years, he moved to his current position training kids at Tucson High Magnet School.
Holley also credits the lack of a coaching figure during his high school days as a stimulus for him guiding younger athletes through their everyday tribulations.
“I was used to not having coaches around; nothing went through my head,” he said. “I was just lucky I was naturally gifted. I got by on athleticism alone.”
Holley doesn’t only aim for his athletes to improve on the track. More importantly, he places emphasis on developing their character away from the sport.
“You want them to come out of the season a better person, not just an athlete. I mean, anyone can develop an athlete,” he said. “Having them the same person as the beginning of the season, in my head, that’s not making much progress.”
Holley attributes his personal development to his coaching experiences.
“It helped me learn to deal with different people,” he said. “I can’t just be set on my ways and expect everyone to jump on-board with me.”
Coaching or not, Holley says his passion for the sport will never die. That serves as a testament to his character and his genuine, heartfelt dedication to teaching the young athletes of tomorrow.