LEVELLAND, Texas — Princess Kara became the latest in a long line of Central Arizona College individual track and field national champions by the slim margin of 4 inches.
Kara took first place in the women’s discus at the NJCAA meet with a mark of 169 feet, 2 inches to edge Marie Forbes of Cloud County (Kansas) at 168-10. Kara’s winning throw came on the third of her five attempts.
“She’s an awesome young lady,” CAC coach Andrew Wood said. “She’s a warrior who has still not reached her potential.”
Kara also finished fourth in the shot put with a mark of 44-0 ¾ after being the ninth and final qualifier for the finals to help the Vaqueras finish eighth in the team standings with 41 points.
“I was pretty content with where we wound up considering we didn’t have the numbers we usually have,” Wood said.
Precious Robinson was the high scorer for the CAC women with 18 points in the three-day meet, which concluded Thursday. Robinson took second in two events – the 5,000 meters with a time of 18 minutes, 5.08 seconds and the 10,000 with a time of 37.37.65. Faith Linga of Iowa Western won both races.
“Precious was consistent all year and she was able to execute at the highest level,” Wood said.
Kwanda Knight finished third in the 400 hurdles, posting a time of 1:02.47 in the finals.
Also scoring points for the Vaqueras were Salomay Agyei in the 800 (seventh in 2:17.85) and Ariz Duarte in the 1,500 (eighth in 4:54.19) and 3,000 steeplechase (eighth in 12:16.81).
Kamijah Carter was the lone individual placer for the CAC men, who scored five points to finish 27th in the team standings. Carter took fifth in the 400 hurdles with a time of 52.94.
The 4X800 relay team of Kyle Partin, Clifton Johnson, Joseph Carlson and Thomas Soriano took eighth in 7:58.39.
Host South Plains College (Texas) won the women’s title with 110.33 points, followed by New Mexico JC (108) and Iowa Central (81). South Plains and Barton County (Kansas) both scored 101 points to tie for the men’s title. Cloud County (Kansas) was third with 96 points.
Going into the NJCAA Championships, Wood knew points would harder to come by than in past national meets. The CAC women had won five team titles and never finished lower than fifth since the program’s inception in 1997. The CAC men’s program has four national titles and had never finished lower than 10th.
“We have some talent,” Wood said. “But one of the main issues due to the pandemic is we weren’t able to recruit the way we wanted to. It’s been a difficult and challenging type of year at the very least.”