Focused and determined Central Arizona College garners NJCAA National Championship
Central Arizona College’s men’s and women’s cross-country teams continue to be top programs in the United States.
A well prepared and confident Central Arizona men’s cross-country squad garnered the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I National Championship, while the women’s team finished as national runner-up.
The cross-country national championships were held at Prairie Trails Golf Course in El Dorado, Kansas.
Central Arizona chalked up an impressive 49 points for top honors en route to the men’s title, while national runner-up Iowa Central Community College collected 62 points among 40 full teams.
“We were confident in our chances to win the National Championship,” Central Arizona College head coach Paul Tavares said. “We had a very deep squad of talented runners. But more importantly, it was one of my hardest working team that I have been involved with. They were focused and determined all year long. They knew our goal was to win the National Championship this year. They worked very hard to complete that goal.”
Central Arizona’s women’s team netted 106 points and were edged by two-time National Champion Lansing Community College of Michigan, who tallied 103 points, among 37 teams.
Taveras said he is extremely proud of the fact that ever year since Central Arizona’s cross-country program began in 1969, Native American runners have been an integral part of the team. Taveras said he has begun recruiting Native American runners for both squads next year.
“The men’s and women’s teams are cross-country powerhouses,” Taveras said. “We want to continue being a powerhouse. Native American runners that come through our program have transferred to four-year programs. Former Central Arizona runner Jackson Thomas won the 2016 NAIA National Championship, while competing for Bacone College. Last year, Jackson won the indoor mile national championship.”