GLENDALE — On a loopy, grassy course near the outskirts of Sea World and the Pacific Ocean, the Glendale Community College men's and women's cross-country teams tuckered out.
Glendale college Coach Eddie Lopez saw it unfold during each race at the Southern California Preview at Mission Bay Park in San Diego on Saturday afternoon.
"In both races, we were in it and then we tired going into the last mile," Lopez said after the women's team finished second and the men's squad placed sixth. "There were a lot of loops and turns and that made it that much more of a tough course."
In the women's portion of the race, host San Diego Southwestern College took first with 54 points followed by Glendale, which won the California Community College Cross Country Championship at Woodward Park in Fresno last season, with 78 points in the 5K event.
Riverside City College notched 93 points to win the men's race and Orange Coast Community College was second (96). The Vaqueros recorded 182 points in the four-mile race.
The Vaqueros had only one top-10 finish in the women's race and none in the men's event.
Glendale's Angela Martinez placed ninth in the women's event, as she clocked 19 minutes 39 seconds. Glendale's other top-five runners were Brianna Jauregui (11th, 19:50), Alyssa Selve (16th, 20:04), Diana Sanchez (18th, 20:09) and Vivian Ochoa (24th, 20:20). The Vaqueros competed without Keri Molt, who missed the race because of a previous engagement.
'We took it way too fast in that first mile [in the women's race]," Lopez said. "That can make a difference entering the last mile because then you have people running out of gas.
"That happens sometimes on courses like these. Second place isn't bad. We are still peaking and we are going to run shorter intervals so we have fresh legs [going into the Western State Conference Championships]."
In the men's competition, Ricky Avila turned in the best effort for the Vaqueros. Avila finished 11th in 21:10, followed by teammate Rico Gutierrez (12th, 21:15).
Unfortunately for the Vaqueros, there was a noticeable gap between Gutierrez and their next best finisher. Glendale's Miguel Flores placed 41st (21:53), followed by Crescenta Valley High graduate Neil Jones (56th, 22:15) and Nicholas Marquez (62nd, 22:19).
"We came into the race looking at a top-three finish, at least," Lopez said. "We were in third through two miles, but then we had our Nos. 3-5 guys fall back.
"We were right there, but our guys became tired and sluggish. It's in the middle of the season and sometimes you can be flat."
The Vaqueros will next participate in the Santa Barbara Invitational, which will be held Friday at Shoreline Park.