Yotuel Garcia (left) and Kate Brockman (right) during in their record setting runs at the Vaquero "CAMPY" Invitational. (Photo by Dylan Kessler courtesy MCC Athletics)

Cross country runners Kate Brockman and Yotuel Garcia named athlete of the week

On every successful team, there is always at least one or two stars that lead their team into battle no matter the sport. The Lakers had Kobe and Shaq, the Bulls had Jordan and Pippen, and the Thunderbirds appear to have Brockman and Garcia.

Kate Brockman and Yotuel Garcia have picked up where they left off last season as they were named male and female athletes of the week for the week of Sept. 12. 

Brockman and Garcia both won the NJCAA DII West Region Athlete of the Year, for the men’s and women’s category respectively, last year. This was the first time either a male or female MCC Cross Country runner had won such an award.

Though the cross country season is just getting into full swing, Brockman and Garcia are putting up both personal and course records, respectively. 

So far this season, Brockman placed 9th in the George Kyte Classic, recorded a new personal best time in the 5,000 meter race (18:29), and in doing so, set a new course record by shattering the old mark by 34 seconds.

Brockman also set a new course record at the CAMPY Invitational by running a personal best time (18:29), beating the old record. set last season by former Thunderbird Makayla Engelhardt, by over 33 seconds.

Preparing for the season has been a long journey. Brockman specifically has been practicing since early summer, while official practices began in the beginning of August. Through a tough and heavy offseason of training and preparation, Brockman is happy to see the hard work paying off so quickly this year.

“It was so reinforcing for me that all the sacrifices and practices and waking up at five a.m. it’s what I need to do to get where I want to be,” said Brockman. 

With all of these amazing marks already set, lesser athletes could be satisfied with their accomplishments, but Brockman continues to set the bar higher for herself at every race.

“Getting second, you’re right there but you didn’t get it, I don’t want to be second,” said Brockman.

Even with her mentality to strive for better, Brockman does still understand to stop and appreciate your achievements at times.

“It’s so exciting, of course getting first and everyone knows it but then for future races there I hope people will see it,” Brockamn said, “I want them to break it too after a couple years of course, I want other people to push for that standard as well.”

As for Yotuel Garcia, he has been hard at work this season as well and is already seeing results. 

He also finished 9th in the George Kyte Classic before setting a new personal best time for the 8,000 meter (25:24) at the CAMPY Invitational on his way to winning the race. Garcia is happy to see such good results so early in the season. 

“It feels amazing, last year it was hard because of the competition, it was my first time doing cross country. It was difficult, but now since I’m used to it I’ve improved over the summer so I’m pretty happy,” Said Garcia.

Garcia is dedicated to his craft as he practices nearly everyday and has been working hard this past summer to get his body ready for his sophomore season.

Just like Brockman, even though Garcia is seeing results early, he still wants to continue to perform at a top level and achieve new records and accomplishments. 

“I keep looking at the times, and I feel like I can do better this time than I did that time,” Garcia said, “I keep looking forward to every meet to break my own record or the school record.”

In his freshman year last season, Garcia had some pretty impressive accomplishments as he earned All-ACCAC honors in the 5,000 meters and set a personal best in the 1,500 and 800 meter. 

With the season so young it is fair to say that both Garcia and Brockman have room to fly as they soar to new heights and look to lead their teams to a National Championship this season.