GLENDALE — Having made it through a bevy of invitational, conference and qualifying meets, 11 Glendale Community College track and field athletes can now look ahead to their biggest meet of the season — the California Community College Athletic Assn. Track and Field Championships.
Each will attempt to reel in a state championship when the meet bagan Friday and concludes today at Antelope Valley College.
Leading the way will be women's sprinter Samantha Bogatz, who captured the 100- and 200-meter races Saturday at the Southern California Championships at Saddleback College. Bogatz, a Glendale High graduate, won the 100 in 11.85 seconds before eclipsing the school record in the 200 at 24.09.
Bogatz will make her second trip to the state meet. She took third in both events at last season's meet in San Mateo and had the fastest times among Southern California competitors.
"The state meet will be a big mystery because there's going to be plenty of great competition," said Bogatz, who won both of her races in the Western State Conference Finals on April 30 at Moorpark College. "So, I'm going to have to act like it's any other race and don't let the pressure get to me."
Karen Rosas and Vivian Ochoa — a Burroughs High graduate — of Glendale will partake in the 10,000, which will be held at 2:45 p.m. today. Rosas finished third in the Southern California prelims May 8 at Saddleback College. Ochoa took seventh.
Among the other Glendale women's athletes expected to be on hand for Saturday's events are Bogatz in both dashes, Angie Gonzalez in the 3,000 steeplechase, Rosa Del Toro and Nina Moore in the 1,500 and 5,000, Rosas in the 5,000 and the 4x100 relay team of Hoover High graduate Shannon Azizi, Glendale graduate Daniela Pollard, Carissa Porter and Bogatz.
Gonzalez placed sixth in the steeplechase at last year's state meet.
A pair of Glendale college men's athletes will also compete, Jonathan Alpizar in the steeplechase and Frankie Quijada in the 5,000.
Alpizar, who finished second in the steeplechase Saturday in a personal-best mark of 9 minutes 19.46 seconds, said he will look to reduce his time.
"At state, I'll be a little more hungry," said Alpizar, who recorded a mark of 9:49.76 for third place at the state meet last season in San Mateo. "It's going to be my last race [at Glendale college].
"The conditions are probably going to be tough in the Antelope Valley, so I am shooting for a top-three finish. It will be a good race."
Quijada, who took third in the 5,000 with a personal-best time of 15:17.2 at the Southern California Championships, will also make his second appearance in the state meet. He finished fifth in the steeplechase last season.
Glendale Coach Eddie Lopez said the Vaqueros are capable of winning multiple championships.
"We do have people who can win, but we are also looking for All-American status with top-six finishes," Lopez said. "We think Samantha can PR in both of her races.
"It's just going to be about running smart and setting the pace."