Nhaya Paden – Benson High School Track & Field Nhaya Paden, a senior member of the Bobcats varsity track & field team, moved to Benson with her family at the start of her junior year.
Transferring from Faith International Academy in Davao City, Philippines, she had previously competed in soccer, volleyball, basketball, and martial arts (karate purple belt) prior to becoming a Benson Ladycat. She joined the soccer and basketball teams but had never competed in track & field. Becoming a member of the Ladycats’ track & field team in February 2019, Nhaya immediately knew she was meant to compete in the pole vault and the sprints. She competed in the 100 and 200 — and made it to the 2A state championship in the pole vault (PR of 8’) and the 4x100.
Her fondest high school athletic memories included going to soccer tournaments (especially the Show Low Invitational) and track & field meets.
In addition to athletics, Nhaya was a member of the FCCLA (serving as the treasurer her senior year) and the NHS. She was the Bobcats’ senior class treasurer and on the honor roll. She was selected as the senior class ‘Student of the Month’ in October 2019 for the quality of responsibility.
Nhaya is actively involved with her church, having gone on summer mission trips with her family to countries that include France, Belgium, the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and Costa Rica. With all these sports and organizations and extracurricular activities, Nhaya still finds time to hike and enjoy the outdoors with her friends and family.
Following graduation, Nhaya will be attending Grand Canyon University where she will major in Christian Studies (global missions) and minor in counseling. She plans to be a missionary like her parents, Gilmer and Julie Paden.
Lacie Duerinck – Benson High School Track & FieldLacie Duerinck is an active member of the Benson High School community. An honor roll student, athlete, and member of several organizations, Lacie works hard to achieve the goals she sets for herself.
Lacie has been a member of the Bobcats varsity track & field team for four years, having competed in numerous events, including the long jump, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 4x800, and pole vault. Her favorite event is the pole vault, having made it to the 2A state championships all three years, finishing 5th overall in the finals her sophomore year.
In addition to track & field, Lacie competed in cross country and soccer. She is a member of the FBLA, HOSA (she is a Certified Nursing Assistant – CNA), Ed Rising, the NHS, and is on the Principal’s honor roll. She enjoys volunteering, having helped her track & field teammates organize and run the yearly Benson Middle School Track & Field Invitational, the athletic concession stands, the Willcox Historical Society, and the Willcox Friends of the Library Bookstore. Lacie also enjoys hiking, spending time in the outdoors, and painting.
After graduation, Lacie will be attending the University of Arizona where she will be studying physiology and medical science. After completing her Bachelors’ degree, she plans to continue her education to earn her Doctorate and become a trauma surgeon.
Lacie is the daughter of Julie and Greg Long.