Grace Zamudio and Nohemi Martinez both held the lead for portions of the women's 10,000-meter race that kicked off the 2012 California Community College Track and Field Championships at Cerritos College on Friday night.
In the end, however, neither Glendale Community College athlete could lay claim to a title, as both were unable to match the finishing kicks of winner Ayded Reyes of Southwestern (38 minutes 19.15 seconds) or runner-up Analicia Silva of Orange Coast (38:24.60).
Martinez took third in 38:27.21, while Zamudio, the Southern California champion and top seed in the event, slipped to fourth (38:29.16). Both earned All-American status, however, as is earned with a top-six finish.
"It was a good finish. I was hoping for a lower time, but it was an OK race," said Martinez, who was seeded fourth in the event.
Martinez pulled into the lead after making her move with three laps to go and held a 15-meter lead for the next two laps, but Reyes caught Martinez with 300 meters left and Silva overtook her for second inside the final 100 meters.
"[I was thinking] that I should go now because I'm more of a long-distance runner, so I don't really have a kick," Martinez said of making her move with three laps to go. "[I thought] if I cover some ground before, then I would have a stronger finish.
"It was a slow race in the beginning, but they picked it up in the last three laps."
Zamudio held a longer lead, pacing the pack from the 12th lap through the 19th and was part of a pack of seven runners up front with four laps to go.
"I really wanted to PR, so I tried pushing the pace, but everyone has such a good kick," Zamudio said. "I wanted to go with [Martinez], but I couldn't and in my head I was like, 'Go, go, go, you can do this.'
"I was really proud that she took the lead the last three laps because I felt like it was a really confident move.
"I am a tad disappointed that when everyone moved up I couldn't go with them, but we've only run this race like two or three times in the past, so we're still getting used to racing six miles. But I did my best, so I'm happy."
Both runners are scheduled to take part in the 5K when the meet resumes today at 9:30 a.m.