Vaqs shine up north

In most cases, Glendale Community College men's and women's cross-country Coach Eddie Lopez would be pleased.

However, he had a different mindset Friday following the Western State Conference Preview on Friday afternoon in Santa Barbara.

While the Glendale college's women's and men's teams finished first and second in their respective races, Lopez was clearly in no mood to rejoice. Lopez's complaint was lodged toward the course officials, who he said steered the runners down wrong parts of the course at Shoreline Park.

"I know they are volunteers, but there were runners going down the wrong routes in both races," Lopez said. "The final times were not what they would normally indicate."

The women's team finished the 5K event with 22 points. The men's team took second with 49 points behind L.A. Valley (47 points) on the four-mile race.

Mizrael Mendez of Glendale won the men's race in 21 minutes 38.85 seconds. It marked the fourth race that Mendez, a freshman, has won this season.

"I'm satisfied and I think we did pretty well despite some confusion on the course," Mendez said. "I had the plan to go out there and win and not set a PR.

"The course was a little soft and hard to run on because of the rain. I made my move in the last mile. You go up a slight incline on concrete and the last three quarters of a mile were mostly grass and hills. You've got to have fun going out there and trying to win a race."

Lopez said Mendez continues to impress.

"He's just a strong runner," Lopez said. "The other guys were up there with them and he made his move and went out and won."

In the women's meet, Karen Rosas of Glendale took second place in 20:22.35, as the Vaqueros had six top-10 finishers.

Alyssa Selve finished third (20:36.47) for Glendale, which also received top-10 marks from Grace Graham-Zamudio (fourth, 20:41.50), Angela Martinez (fifth, 20:44.34), Nohemi Martinez (eighth, 21:03.40) and Cecilia Nicolas (10th, 21:21.11).

"I think our girls ran strong and the packing was good," Lopez said.

In the men's event, Jesus Gutierrez was fifth for Glendale (22:12.29) and teammate Isaac Diosdado placed 10th (22:28.58).

Glendale is scheduled to next participate in the Mount San Antonio College Invitational at 10 a.m. Friday in Walnut. It will then compete in the Western State Conference Finals at 3 p.m. Oct. 25 at Fairbanks Park in San Luis Obispo.

The Vaqueros won both races at the conference finals last year at Crescenta Valley Park.

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