Aztec Men’s Cross Country Wins First Region I Team Championship Since 1981

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Raymond Suarez

Pima Community College

The Pima Community College Men’s Cross Country made history at the NJCAA Region I, Division I Championships on Friday at Heroes Regional Park in Glendale.

The Aztecs finished in first place and won the program’s first NJCAA Region I Tag Team Championship since the 1981-82 season (according to Pima Records) after edging Central Arizona College by one point. The Aztecs had 28 team points and the Vaqueros 29.

Freshman Emmanuel Corral (Pusch Ridge Christian HS) took third place in the 8 km (4.97 mile) race with a time of 26 minutes and 57.5 seconds.

Player quote: “I was proud of my run for beating 27 minutes, but also of the progress I made throughout the season,” Corral said. The course was long, flat and straight and always along a channel with multiple bends. The whole team was ready to run hard on it.

Freshman Joel Gardner (Ironwood Ridge HS) finished in fourth place with a time of 27:22.2 while freshman Avery Dylla (Ironwood Ridge HS) took sixth place with a final time of 27:47.2.

Freshman Caleb Rayman (Cienega HS) crossed the finish line in seventh place in 28:01.3 and freshman Chalen Lozano (Marana HS) finished eighth with a time of 28 : 43.7. Freshman Brendan Torres (Empire HS) finished in ninth place and clocked 29:02.0 and freshman Gabriel Puelo finished 13th at 30:51.1.

All of the Pima men’s cross country runners earned honors from all regions.

Player quote: “The whole team has come a long way since the start of the season. Our goal was to win the region and there were times when we weren’t sure we could achieve that,” Corral said. “We had weak points, but we trusted our coaches and our training. The seven runners played a major role.

The Aztecs will compete in the NJCAA Division I National Championships on Saturday, Nov. 13 at Pole Green Park in Richmond, Va.

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