Guerra breaks records

Desiree Guerra runs in front of the pack at Pittsburg State on Jan. 31.

Some of the top runners and athletes at Neosho County Community College have been showing off their skill sets recently.

On Jan. 31 at Pittsburg State University, the Panthers indoor track and field team participated in its first competition of the 2021 season. Highlights from the competition include freshman Desiree Guerra setting the 3000-meter school record with a 12:42.11, while placing fifth in the women’s mile thanks to a 6:11.04.

Guerra, according to NCCC track coach Trey Bruton, is the only person that has ever run the 3000 meters for Neosho indoors. Freshman Laura Juarez broke the women’s 600-meter record with a 1:49.96, which was good for a finish of 16th place.

For the men, freshman Josh Arafol finished sixth overall in the 600 meters.

“Our athletes have been waiting a long time to compete, so it was good to get a meet under our belt,” Bruton said. “It is hard to really get into competitive shape until you can get on the track in an actual meet against other teams. We learned a lot of things and figured out the areas we need to improve upon. We have to start somewhere and it was just nice to have the opportunity to get that first meet of the year in.”

The Panthers also competed in the Tom Bond Invitational in Highland on Saturday.

“We got better today,” Bruton said. “It was a blessing to get another meet in this week and we took advantage of it to continue in the right direction. Highland’s facility is nice, but whenever you run on an undersized track, it is hard to run too fast. But I thought our athletes really took advantage of the opportunity. This was one of, if not our most, important meets of the season. With the poor weather we are going to experience for a little while, it was important that we got some good things out of this meet to help set us up for the remainder of the season and headed into the championship portion of the season.”

Overall, NCCC produced 20 season bests, with 14 of those 20 being collegiate best performances.

NCCC will next compete on Sunday, once again at PSU.

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