Conquistadors Compete Amongst Loaded Region XC Field

Joe Penno
DCCC sports information director

The KJCCC is often viewed amongst the best of the best as far as junior college athletic conferences go. That point is made even more clear when you look at the rankings for cross country on both the men's and women's side.With seven Jayhawk schools making up the Top 15 on the men's side and eight of the Top 18 on the women's side, Friday's Region VI Cross Country Championship had the feeling of a de facto national championship meet.

Both the Conquistadors and Lady Conquistadors were up to the challenge as they looked to continue holding their own amongst the nation's best.Ranked 7th nationally, the Lady Conquistadors used five Top 25 finishes to place 4th out of the 9-team field. The Lady Conqs were paced by Edith Valdez' 15th place finish on the day which was good enough for her to be named All-Region VI in what has amounted to be a truly impressive freshman campaign for Valdez.

Head coach Cole Ballard was excited about the way his girls ran but knows they have quite a bit more in them.

"We competed start to finish at a fairly high level, but we have more in us," said Ballard. "We certainly could be a lot better, so hopefully that next level shows itself at nationals in two weeks," he said.

The men were paced by Domanic Enriquez' 10th place finish as it vaulted them into a 6th place finish out of the 12-team field. Enriquez' finish here capped off an impressive sophomore year as he led the 15th ranked Conquistadors in nearly all of their races. Enriquez received All-Region VI and All-KJCCC Conference honors for his performance on the year.

"That was the best our men have ran this season. It was very fun to watch," said Ballard of his men. "I'm very proud of this team. We seem to be peaking at the right time, which is difficult to do in distance running.

"That happening speaks to the program Coach Bianca Loza has implemented and to the kids for executing that program."

Both the Conquistador programs are back in action Nov. 14 in Fort Dodge, Iowa, as they will be competing in the NJCAA National Cross Country Championships.