Central Arizona College cross country and basketball teams continue winning traditions
PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. – Two-thirds of the way through the 2012-13 academic and collegiate athletic year, Central Arizona College’s men’s and women’s cross country and basketball teams have continued their respective traditions of success. Those winning ways have resulted in two NJCAA Division I National Runner-Up trophies and one National Championship for the Vaqueros to add to their display case.
“Not only do some of the finest athletes in the nation and, in some regard, the world stand before you, but they are also class acts,” Dr. Steven Gonzales, CAC’s acting associate vice president for academic affairs during a presentation at the college’s governing board meeting on March 26.
In the fall, the CAC men’s cross country team brought home its fourth NJCAA I National Championship, its first since 2005, while the women’s team finished second in the country.
Paul Tavares, who held the reins of both the men’s and women’s teams, was named NJCAA Division I National Coach of the Year, while male harriers Todd Jackson (First Team), Paul Sakit (Second Team), Jackson Thomas (Second Team), and Jose Wells (Honorable Mention) were named All-Americans.
The Vaquera women’s basketball team also enjoyed a banner year as the Vaqueras finished the season as the National Runners-Up after winning their 11th consecutive Arizona Community College Athletic Conference title.
Head Coach Denise Cardenas earned ACCAC Coach of the Year honors, while Brea Edwards claimed ACCAC Player of the Year accolades. Joy Howard was named the ACCAC Freshman of the Year.
“We went to nationals and came up a little short. It still stings but I’m very proud of these young ladies,” Cardenas said.
On the men’s side, the Vaqueros won their first conference title in 17 years en route to making it to the national quarterfinal round.
“We enjoyed the journey all year long,” Dreiling said. “We knew the ride would end at nationals, we just didn’t know what day it was going to end. When it ended, we had no regrets and we felt like we put forth our very best and I know without a doubt that these young men did that.”
Just as Tavares and Cardenas did, Dreiling earned ACCAC Coach of the Year recognition while DeAndre Mathieu garnered the ACCAC Player of the Year selection.