VALLEY GLEN — Strategy can go a long way for Neil Jones.
When pounding the all-weather tracks across Southern California, there's many things to consider for the Glendale Community College men's track and field athlete. Even the smallest detail can make the slightest difference.
Jones shook off the hot weather in the heart of the San Fernando Valley, winning two individual events to help Glendale college win the men's portion of a six-team Western State Conference meet Friday afternoon at L.A. Valley College.
Jones, a sophomore, captured the 1,500-meter race in 3 minutes 57.12 seconds and the 800 in 1:56.50. The Vaqueros won the meet with 147 points and Bakersfield took second with 134.
In the women's part of the meet, the Vaqueros got two first-place performances to place third with 88 points.
Glendale needed Jones, a Crescenta Valley High graduate, to be poised and get them valuable points. Jones followed the script perfectly.
"I don't really try to take off too early in the races," said Jones, who worked with Trent Adams, Glendale High graduate Robert Weathers and Hoover graduate Harold Tabora to place second in the 4x400 relay (3:21.99). "I like the other runners to take the lead and I sit back on them because it can be hard to be the leader right away.
"I'd rather have them do the early work and then that can set me up for a good kick toward the end. I want to pick it up in the last 200 meters because you can feel the burn and that's where the race can begin for me toward trying to win."
The Vaqueros placed second in the 4x100 relay, as Patrick Donahue, Trey Williams, Weathers and Adams combined to clock 42.55. Donahue placed second in the 100 (11.07) and the long jump in 21 feet 3 1/2 inches. Ricky Avila was second in the 1,500 (3:58.01) and 800 (1:58.19) for the Vaqueros.
West L.A. finished third with 107 points, followed by Citrus (98), L.A. Valley (42) and Santa Barbara (27).
The Glendale college women's team got first-place finishes from Karen Rosas in the 3,000 in 10:37.01 and Alyssa Selve in the 1,500 (4:50.40). The Vaqueros registered three second-place finishes.
Rosas, a sophomore, said she had plenty to consider when she competed in the 3,000.
"It's all a mind thing," said Rosas, who placed second in the 800 (2:23.07) and third in the 1,500 (4:54.14). "[Glendale college Coach Eddie Lopez] got me to believe that I have speed.
"When I hit the last 200 meters in a race, I think of the workouts we've had and I try to apply it to the race, whether it's closing the gap or being in first place. In the 3,000, you've got to change gears a lot, especially in the last three laps. The last 200 meters is the key."
Carissa Porter finished second in the 100 (12:32) for the Vaqueros, who also received a second-place performance from Diana Sanchez in the 3,000 (11:01.03).
West L.A. won the women's competition with 183 points, followed by Santa Barbara (109). L.A. Valley was fourth with 79 points, Bakersfield took fifth (52) and Citrus was sixth (45).