Team photo for the MCC women's cross country team. (Photo courtesy of MCC Athletics)

Mesa Community College women’s cross country team lives up to No. 1 ranking

The Mesa Community College women’s cross country team made history this season by being ranked No. 1 in the country in the NJCAA Division II Coaches Poll, the first time the feat has ever occurred in the program’s history.

This comes via the The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, which two weeks ago crowned the team with the ranking by giving the team nine out of the 11 total first place votes.

The ranking puts them above teams like Lansing Community College from Michigan, who was previously No. 1 in the poll, and Heartland Community College from Illinois, who has climbed to No. 3 in the rankings. 

The full rankings can be found here

The ranking presumably comes from the string of first place performances from the women’s cross country team this season, placing first at the Vaquera “CAMPY” Invitational, Puma Invitational, and the Mesa College Jamboree, respectively.

Sometimes, when teams get these high rankings, especially ones where it’s the first time they’ve been ranked that high, you potentially see a decline in performance. 

With the Lady Thunderbirds so far, however, that seems to not be the case.

Seemingly fueled off the high of the new No. 1 ranking, the team went into the Manny Bautista Invite in San Diego and dominated the leaderboards against top competition. 

In the 5000 meter competition, which saw 125 competitors from 16 different schools take part, the Lady Thunderbirds had seven of their own runners place in the top 25, earning 60 points overall in the one competition alone.

The list was headlined by Kate Brockman, who placed second overall with a time of 18:48.5. 

Other notable times include Taylor Jacobs placing seventh with a 19:38.5 time, and Ryan Hellinger placing 19th with a 20:19.6.

The competition was Hellinger’s first after returning from injury.

Full results of the competition can be found here.

Brockman, who has been absolutely dominant in recent history, continued to show why she gets national praise. 

Following the event, she earned multiple Runner of the Week awards from both the ACCAC and the USTFCCCA. 

In the following meet, the UCR Highlander Invite which took place Oct 15, she placed 62nd out of 276 finishers, which consisted of athletes from NCAA DI, DII, and DII schools, as well as many representatives from the NAIA and CCCAA.

Among some stiff competition, Brockman was the only Lady Thunderbird to cross the finish line at the event, recording a personal best 21:44 on the 6000 meter course.

The other members of the MCC team stopped at the 5000 meter mark of the competition.

The race towards the postseason continues next week as several of the Lady Thunderbirds will compete in the Mesa Open on Saturday, Oct. 22.

This will be the final race of the regular season, which will lead them into their first stop of the postseason, the ACCAC/NJCAA Region I Championships on Saturday, Oct 29 in Coolidge, Arizona.

If all bodes well, the Lady Thunderbirds would then travel to Tallahassee to take part in the NJCAA Division II Championships on Nov 12.


  • Keythin Thomas

    Keythin is a journalism major and is an avid sports fan. He has lived and breathed valley sports since he was in preschool. When not pouring over stat sheets or the latest sports, he enjoys watching movies, playing video games, and hanging out with friends and family.