Mesa Community College Cross Country has continued its historic start into October, with both men and women’s teams ranking top ten nationally as they enter this week.
But the rankings aren’t the only things looking up for the T-Birds. History was made as the team won their first state cross country title behind freshman standout Caden Resendez.
Sixth-year head coach Daniel Pescador said the success his team has all goes back to the commitment of his student athletes throughout the season.
“They’ve really stepped up to the challenge,” said Pescador. “We talked about it at the beginning of the year, and they’ve embraced it. They’ve got big goals, so I’m very, very proud of what we’ve done up until this point.”
The men’s team is currently ranked second in the national polls, and the women’s team is following suit as they’ve jumped into the eighth spot in the top ten national rankings.
It marks the first time since 2012 that both men’s and women’s teams have been ranked in the top ten coming into the national competitions.
“I don’t think the rankings don’t matter if we do everything perfect in training,” says Kate Brockman, freshman runner. “If we do what we need to do, we’ll have a perfect season, whatever that looks like. Coach doesn’t talk about times or where we are.”
Individual honors have also been seen this year for freshman stars Kate Brockman and Caden Resendez, both taking home National Athlete of the Week honors.
“We’ve done a lot to improve thus far, and I’m really happy with where we’re ranked so far,” said Resendez. “As far as the personal accolades, I mean, they’re cool, but I’m more about the team success, really.”
“At the end of the day, that’s all that matters in cross country, is how we do it as a team,” Resendez added.
One thing that has remained consistent has been the team’s drive for success; their mentality has always been focused on their big picture goals.
“They know that the work’s not done,” said Pescador. “We have to be at our best every day and just channel those emotions, you know. Be proud of what we’ve accomplished, but keep striving for more.”
The national and regional tournaments will begin on Oct. 29 at the Glendale Heroes Regional Park, as the T-Birds will look to win their first national championship in school history.
“We’re trying to win,” said Brockman. “ Coach thinks that we can be national champions. We just have to believe that we can.”