With strong track and field programs throughout the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference, Glendale Community College Gauchos coach Ralph Neighbors is happy with his team's progress.
Some of his team has already shown mid-season form during the indoor portion of the 2011 season. The season does not end until the May 19 to 21 National Junior College Athletic Association Outdoor Championships in Hutchinson, Kan.
For instance, sophomore high jumper Michael Bolligar went 7 feet, 1 ¼ inches Feb. 4 and 5 at the USATF Heptathlon Championship for the Junior National Team inside the old Rodeo Grounds in Albuquerque, N.M. He is not far off the men's NJCAA indoor record of 7-4 ¼ set in 1992 by Eric Taylor-Perry from Texas' Blinn College.
Freshman jumper Herb Dew went 6-11 ½ Feb. 5 at the Aztec Indoor at Pima Community College.
"We did pretty well," Neighbors said.
Also at the Aztec Indoor, sophomore Kirby Wilson took the 60-meter dash in 6.88 seconds, and he came back to win the 200 meters in 21.64 seconds. The men's indoor record for the 60 meters is 6.65 seconds which is held in 2006 by Trell Kimmonds of Mississippi's Hinds Community College, and in 2010 by Tyler Alexander from Southwest Mississippi Community College. The record in the 200 meters is 20.69 seconds set in 2009 by Alonso Edwards from Kansas' Barton Community College.
The Gauchos wound up going third and fourth in the 200. Not to be outdone at the same meet, GCC freshman Tevin Blaylark won the 60-meter high hurdles in 8.50 seconds. The indoor record in the 60-meter high hurdles is 7.60 seconds set in 2006 by Kedrieck Gibbons from Hinds Community College.
"We've got six or seven really talented athletes," Neighbors said. "We're probably ahead by 15 years, and it's one of the best teams we've ever had."
Depth helps too, because the men's team has 42 out as opposed to 20 last year. On the women's side, there are 20 out, as opposed to 10 in 2010.
On the women's side, sophomore pole vaulter Christy Carmody went 11-4 at Pima and she is already a national qualifier, according to Neighbors. The women's indoor mark in the pole is 12-6 ¾ set in 2010 by Katie Gillmore from Kansas' Cowley Community College.
"We've been babying her because of a hamstring strain," Neighbors said.
Neighbors said freshman Revan Dawood won the 60 meters Feb. 5 and gained a national qualifying time at Pima. Neighbors said he has a speedster in freshman Markissa Janrez, along with cross country runners Brittney Johnston, Amber Jordan, Justine Peterson, Haley Ruebsamen and Annette Sotelo.
Dew won the state title in high jump and triple jump at Liberty High School.
"My goal is to jump 7-3 this year and it's going to take patience," Dew said. "I want to make it to the Olympics. (Before a jump) I like to blank everything out, and I don't really hear the noise. I kind of like it quiet, actually, during my jump."
Decathlete Bolligar finished second at the nationals last year, and does not want to settle for anything less.
"I want to win the outdoor nationals and break the outdoor (national) record in the decathlon," Bolligar said. "I've been working out on my weaker events (throws), and trying to work on my conditioning and running events."
The former Sunrise Mountain track athlete said building on last year's finish is a motivational tool.
"It's a fresh start, and since it's my last year here, I want to perform the best as I can."
With a season at GCC under her belt and three years of track at Sunrise Mountain, Carmody just wants to reach higher.
"I'd just like to get over 13-2 in the pole vault, which would be an NJCAA record," Carmody said.
Carmody had a vault of 12-3 ½ at last year's outdoor championships, and is looking for a strong season.
"It's going to take a lot of self-confidence," she said. "That's my problem - and just jumping with bigger poles. I want to do my best for myself."
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