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Glendale college cross-country teams shine at Southern California Championships

After winning Western State Conference championships, the Glendale Community College women’s and men’s cross-country teams headed south looking to conquer their next hurdle.

Both squads got the job done with impressive performances Friday at the Southern California Championships.

Glendale’s women’s team easily finished first with 58 points and the men’s squad took third with 113 points at Mission Bay Park in San Diego.

Both teams earned advancement to the California Community College Athletic Assn. state meet, which will be held Nov. 23 at Woodward Park in Fresno.

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The women’s team, ranked No. 1 in Southern California and the state, received three-top 10 finishes on the 5-kilometer course to win the event for the first time since 2016. The Vaqueros entered the competition fresh off winning their 15th conference championship in a row Oct. 25 in San Luis Obispo.

Glendale was paced Friday by Yajaira Calderon, who took third in 19 minutes, 41.7 seconds. Glendale’s Jamie Levin finished eighth in 19:54.9 and was followed by teammates Phoebe Forsyth (ninth, 20:02.4), Bianca Biel (12th, 20:09.1) and Lydia Forsyth (26th, 20:54.4).

“Our goal coming in was to have our five runners place in the top 14 in the women’s race,” Glendale coach Eddie Lopez said. “They ran well and ran a smart tactical race.

“It was about going out and being able to hold on and we did that. They’ve been taking care of business and we feel good heading to state.”

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Saddleback finished second with 107 points in the women’s race, which was won by Ventura’s Olivia Burton in 19:21.6. Sophia Cortina of Moorpark took second (19:23.9).

In the men’s race, Glendale, which has captured four straight conference titles and is ranked sixth in the state and Southern California, had one-top 10 runner on the four-mile course Friday.

“For the men, we were looking for a top-three finish and we got that,” Lopez said. “San Diego Mesa has got a very good team and we tried to stay with Mt. SAC.

“I think we’ll run well in Fresno. It will be colder up there and it’s a fast course.”

Glendale’s Spencer Geck took 10th in 21:46. Also scoring for the Vaqueros were Ameer Mohammed (20th, 22:02.4), Kevin Keller (25th, 22:06), Albert Serrano, 27th, 22:07.2) and Marvin Guardado (31st, 22:11).

San Diego Mesa won the men’s race with 30 points, followed by Mount San Antonio College with 100. Stefen Rasmuson of San Diego Mesa took first in 20:49.2 and teammate Isaiah Labra was second (21:10.1).

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