PVCC’s men’s and women’s cross country teams have qualified to compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championships in Ida, Ill., on Saturday, Nov. 10. The Puma men, who are the defending National Champions, finished second to No. 2-ranked Central Arizona College in the region finals on Oct. 30 during the Region I championships at Freestone Park in Gilbert .
“I am excited, and I expect that we’ll do well,” said Head Coach David Barney. “Our goal all year has been for the men to return and win National Championship, and the women are shooting to be in the top five. They are now ranked 20th, so they’ll really have to run great to reach that goal.”
In the Region 1 Championships men’s 8 kilometer race, CAC scored 26 points to PV’s 37 with team point totals computed by the cumulative of the finishes by each team’s first five competitors. Alejandro Valencia (2nd place), Nicolas Montanez (6th), John Winfield (8th), Matt Whitlach (9th), Ruganza Mugisha (12th) and Luis Gonzales (15th) earned All-Region honors.
“We were also beat at the region meet last year, but we came back and brought home the national title,” Barney said. “We have to go back again and win the national championship.”
The Puma women finished fourth but qualified for the NJCAA Nationals meet by virtue of their No. 20 national ranking. Fellow Maricopa college Mesa, upset pre-race favorite CAC to win the 5 kilometer women’s race. Callie Clark finished 6th and Emily Wilkinson 11th to earn All-Region honors for the Pumas.