By LANISSA PATTERSON
The Pima Track and Field competed March 4 and 5 in Pittsburgh, Kansas, for the NJCAA Indoor Track & Field National Championships.
According to the Aztec Athletics website, the men’s team placed 14th overall and earned 17 points at the indoor championships. Sophomore Reece Gardner took home the NJCAA National title in the Heptathlon and earned All-American status. Gardner also set a new Pima pole vaulting record with a mark of 15 feet 5 inches. Freshman Joel Gardner received NJCAA All American honors by placing eighth in the 5,000-meter race, with a time of 14 minutes, 43.36 seconds.
In the female division, the women’s track and field team earned 11 team points and placed 17th overall in the competition.
Pima athletes Jaida Olson, Darien Calicdan, Jackie Trice and Lucy Chavez all earned NJCAA All-American status. Olson placed second overall in the pole vault and set a new school record with a vault of 11 feet 7 inches. Calicdan placed eighth overall in pole vault, clearing 3 meters and earning a point for the Aztecs. Trice set a new school record in the Pentathlon and placed eighth overall. Sophomore Lucy Chavez placed eighth in the Weight Throw with a mark of 14.90 meters on her first attempt.
According to coach Chad Harrison, Pima Track had a very successful weekend:
“We had a phenomenal national championship … We beat every metric this year in record-setting fashion,” he said. “All of our athletes set personal bests at the Indoor National Championships, but coming home with a national champion and 80 percent of our teams being All-Americans was awesome.”