GLENDALE — Much like the program itself, the 2011 Glendale Community College men's golf team has become better and better as the season has progressed.
It's a huge factor as to why the Vaqueros are set to make their inaugural appearance in the state championship, which will be held at 8 a.m. Monday at Kings Country Club in Hanford.
"We have a good lineup and we have some experienced players," said Glendale college men's Coach Greg Osbourne, whose team finished second at the Southern California Regionals on Monday at Bermuda Dunes Country Club and will be one of eight squads competing for state prominence. "We have become a more cohesive unit since the start of the season."
And a unit seemingly gaining momentum with each round.
The Vaqueros finished second in the formidable Western State Conference and are one of four teams from Southern California and the only squad from the WSC who will take part in the 36-hole state tournament. They are joined by College of the Desert, which won the Southern California Regional, Long Beach City College and Santiago Canyon. From the north, Reedley, Chabot, Santa Rosa and Folsom Lake will compete. The top six individuals from each region not on a qualifying team will also advance to the state tournament.
Glendale will look to keep its game up to par on a course that Osbourne described as "flat."
There's plenty of incentive for the Vaqueros, who will likely feature a lineup consisting of sophomore Brennan Amirkhizi and freshmen Michael Timpson, Chris Ramirez, Vincent Lam, Danny Fernandez and Jin Park.
"We want to go out there and win it," said Osbourne, whose team planned to take part in a practice round today. "We want to be the state champion and we do have our work cut out for us, but we go into this with a great attitude and a lot of pride.
"It's going to be a great opportunity for us. Three years ago, we couldn't beat anybody in our own conference. Now, we have a chance to win state."
The program was brought back in 2008 after being dropped in 1985 because of budget cuts, but Osbourne went out and hit the recruiting trail to bring some established players to Glendale.
Among them was Amirkhizi, who finished third at the Southern California Regionals with a two-round score of 147.
"We took second at regionals and only two or three of us played well," said Amirkhizi, a two-time all-conference selection. "I think that if we can just play to our capabilities, then we can go out there and win state.
"We are right there. We can't be intimidated. We just have to think we can do well and we can win it all."
Timpson, a Crescenta Valley High graduate and a reigning All-Area selection, said the Vaqueros regrouped after a decent first round at the regionals.
"We didn't play all that great in the first round, but we were only one or two strokes out of fourth place," said Timpson, who finished tied for fourth with a two-round score of 148. "Greg told us we could come back and we were fired up.
"We've had a lot of ups and downs throughout the season. I think a lot of us didn't realize how good we can be until the regionals. It would be awesome if we could win it all."