For a handful of Glendale Community College men’s and women’s track and field athletes, it’s time to make one final push.
Following a number of invitationals and Western State Conference meets, the Vaqueros have begun preparing to take part in the California Community College Athletic Assn. Track and Field State Championships, which will be held Friday and Saturday at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut.
Sophomore Elizabeth Nelson leads the way for the Vaqueros and will compete in the 5,000- and 1,500-meter races Saturday.
Nelson captured Southern California Championships in the 5K and the 1,500 on Saturday at Riverside City College.
Nelson, who clocked 18 minutes 3.26 seconds in the 5K and 4:38.03 in the 1,500, said she’s been able to draw upon her experiences from competing in the state meet last year in San Mateo.
“I got a feel for what it’s like, so I think that can help me,” said Nelson, who placed fourth in the 1,500 at last year’s state meet. “It was a great experience and a fun time.
“It’s going to be different this time. There’s more pressure to go out there and do well. There will be so many great athletes out there. I think the 1,500 will be a hard and close race, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Also competing for the Glendale women are Ana Tonga in the javelin, Justin Shank in the high jump, Aisiah Tuiasosopo in the discus and Lizette Gonzalez and Glindyll Mancia in the 800.
For the men, the Vaqueros will feature Tanner Mays in the javelin, Marcus Streeter in the high jump and Quaid Vuncannon in the decathlon.
Tonga, Mays and Vuncannon will compete Friday. Nelson, Shank, Tuiasosopo, Gonzalez, Mancia and Streeter are slated to perform Saturday.
Tonga took fourth in the Southern California Championship with a mark of 36.22 meters, Shank was second (1.75 meters), Tuiasosopo placed third (41.11 meters), Gonzalez was third (2:16.15), Mancia finished fourth (2:16.60), Mays took second (56.53 meters) and Streeter was sixth (1.96 meters). Tonga and Vuncannon took part in the state meet last year.
Mays said he’s been working on the basics of the javelin to help him tune up for the state meet.
“I’ve just been working out on my own and go back to a lot of technical stuff,” he said. “I’ve seen some of the guys that I’ll be up against and there will be a lot of good competition.
“It will be a good group and I’m honored to be there with them.”
Veteran Glendale Coach Eddie Lopez said the Vaqueros are putting the final touches on preparations for Saturday.
“We are getting down to the nitty-gritty,” Lopez said. “I feel good for our athletes who have qualified and they’ve moved forward.
“The goals will be to try to win some championships and get top-six finishes so they will be All-Americans.”
Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich.