Entering the Western State Conference championship meet in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley, the weather and course conditions seemed ideal for the Glendale Community College women’s and men’s cross-country teams Friday.
Hungry to extend their conference domination, both Glendale squads embraced the hot temperatures while burning up the hillside course.
Glendale accomplished one of its major season goals, as each squad easily captured conference titles at Frank G. Bonelli Park in San Dimas.
The women’s team won its 14 straight conference title on the 5-kilometer course with 40 points, followed by the men’s team capturing its fourth conference crown in a row over four-mile with 35 points.
Glendale’s Marcelo Ramirez won the men’s race in 20 minutes, 56.33 seconds.
“You just want to keep seeing improvement in a lot of different areas and it’s important to keep the conference streaks going,” Glendale coach Eddie Lopez said. “It’s just about having that attitude and being able to put the miles in at practice.
“We liked the make up of the course and we usually run in the middle of the afternoon when it’s hot. It all worked out.”
On the women’s side, Glendale had five athletes turn in top-12 efforts. Glendale, ranked No. 1 in Southern California and the state, won by 11 points over Moorpark (51) in the 10-team event.
The Vaqueros finished with a total time of one hour, 37:52.90 seconds and had an average time of 19:34.58.
Glendale was led by Jennifer Perez-Cazarez, who clocked 18:37.12 for third place. Samantha Barajas of Moorpark won the race in 18:01.19, followed by Ventura’s Olivia Burton in 18:13.42.
Glendale received a sixth-place performance from Noemi Apreza (19:01.73). Also scoring for the Vaqueros were Daisy Romero (eighth, 19:23.14), Eileen Silva (11th, 20:21.85) and Jazmin Negro (12th, 20:29.06).
“We needed Jennifer to get a top-three finish and then have the rest run in packs the rest of the way and that’s what happened,” Lopez said. “I told them coming in that streaks come and go and putting in the effort was all I cared about.
“It’s the first step. We want to win Southern California and then state.”
Ventura took third with 68 points, followed by Bakersfield (127), College of the Canyons (131), Santa Monica (184), Cuesta (196), L.A. Mission (200), Oxnard (201) and West L.A. (254).
In the men’s portion of the meet, Glendale knocked off runner-up Oxnard (88 points).
The Vaqueros, ranked third in Southern California and fourth in state, turned in five top-12 performances en route to finishing in a total time of 1:48:15.10 and an average mark of 21:39.02, despite missing two of its starting runners.
Ramirez edged Leonard McComas of Santa Monica, who turned in a mark of 20:59.30.
“Marcelo ran a great race,” Lopez said. “He showed why he’s one of the top runners in the state and he’s got that mean kick toward the end. He’s the real deal.”
Alberto Serrano took fifth for the Vaqueros in 21:26.66. Also scoring for Glendale was Akol Malong (eighth, 21:45.12), Antonio Arroyo (ninth, 21:55.23) and Spencer Geck (12th, 22:11.56).
Glendale competed without captain Carlos Rivera (injury) and Moses Moreno (disciplinary reason).
“We showed why it’s important to have a lot of depth up and down the lineup,” Lopez said. “It’s an opportunity for guys to be able to move up and find ways to get better.
“We have a good combination of freshmen and sophomores and they’ve been a pleasant surprise.”