GCC athletes ready to take on state's best

GLENDALE — As temperatures are expected to soar into the upper 90s throughout Southern California this weekend, six members of the Glendale Community College track and field team are hoping to turn up the heat on their competition at the California Community College Track and Field Championships at Cerritos College.

Four Vaqueros women and two Vaqueros men earned spots in the state meet, which runs Friday and Saturday, thanks to outstanding performances at the Southern California Championships.

A strong crop of distance runners will lead the Glendale college women, who finished sixth at the SoCal Championships and are hoping for a top-five finish at state.

“We want to get as close to 60 points as possible,” veteran Vaquero Coach Eddie Lopez.

At the forefront of the Vaqueros’ charge will be sophomore standout Tove Berg.

Berg, who helped lead the Vaqueros’ cross-country team to a state title in the fall, will be trying to end her illustrious career on top as she attempts to defend her state crown in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

She will be the only Vaqueros athlete in action on Friday for the 10,000, which begins at 4 p.m., and will follow that up with the 5,000 at 4:10 p.m. Saturday

“We feel good about Tove,” Lopez said.

Joining Berg in the 5,000 will be teammates Vivien Wadeck and Zitlalic Ley, who are seeded second and fourth, respectively.

The Vaqueros have a chance to finish 1-2-3, but in order to do that, Lopez knows his team will have to battle through the expected heatwave.

“For the distance, it really affects you,” Lopez said. “We are just going to have to run more conservative.”

Wadeck’s best chance for a state title will come in the 1,500, which is scheduled to begin at 1:55 p.m. Saturday. She enters with the top time in the state and has yet to be defeated in the race during her junior college career.

“She’s the favorite to win the 1,500,” Lopez said. “We are hoping for a school record. I told her the most important thing is to win. Everything else will take care of itself.”

Prior to the 5,000, Ley will run in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at 1 p.m. Saturday. Ley enters with the second fastest time in the state.

The final Vaqueros woman in action will be freshman Ashley Baucham. The Crescenta Valley High grad will compete in the high jump after a leap of 5 feet 3 inches at the SoCal finals carried her to state.

On the men’s side, sophomore Michael Flowers is slated to compete in the 3,000 steeplechase at 1:25 p.m. Saturday.

Flowers enters the meet seeded with the second-best time and is looking forward to the challenge of trying to catch Cerritos’ Daniel Clifford-Sorenson, the top seed who won the SoCal championship on Saturday.

“I think I can catch him,” Flowers said. “I’m pretty much right there on him. ... I just need to sit on him and just kick him down the last lap.”

St. Francis High grad James Poet qualified in the hammer throw after setting a personal-record (157-8) at the SoCal finals. The hammer toss begins at noon on Saturday.


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