Vaqs reach high peak

It was a day of firsts for the Glendale Community College cross-country programs at Mount San Antonio College on Friday morning, in more ways than just the Vaqueros men's and women's teams beating all comers to the finish line.

In outpacing second-place Los Angeles Valley, 51-63, in the four-mile race, the Vaqueros men won at the storied course for the first time in program history and their 1 hour 49 minute 32 second team time, combined with the third-fastest three-mile course mark of all time of 91:36 set by the women, established an all-time combined sweepstakes course record of 3:22:08.

"It's been a real pleasure to coach both teams [this season]," said Glendale Coach Eddie Lopez, whose teams lowered the previous combined sweepstakes mark of 3:22.50 set by Southwestern last season. "The women set the standard right now, but the guys are right there too, so it was a good day. It's not really that hard to coach them because they have goals that they want and the main thing for the women is they want their state championship. We don't want to get too far ahead, but that's the main goal."

The Vaqueros women, winners of their first five races and currently ranked No. 1 in the Southern California coaches' rankings, easily held off second-place Mt. SAC, 17-74, holding down the top four spots and placing seven runners in the top 10. Karen Rosas led the way with her fourth win of the season in 18:09, while Angela Martinez (18:24) and Alyssa Selve (18:35) were second and third, respectively.

"They're the best 1-2-3 punch that I've ever coached," Lopez said of Rosas, Martinez and Selve. "It's just their work ethic and their attitude and they get along."

Grace Graham-Zamudio placed fourth for the Vaqueros in 18:43, followed by Nohemi Martinez in seventh in 18:55 to round out the top five.

Laura Pluemer was ninth in 19:08 and Cecilia Nicolas was 10th in 19:14.

The men's victory was made all the more impressive by the fact they didn't receive a scoring time from top runner Mizrael Mendez, who started the race and was in 20th place after the first mile before pulling out with a strained gluteus.

"It was impressive [because we ran] without Miz," Lopez said. "He was just going to go easy and then he pulled. We didn't want to challenge him because conference is coming up in a week and a half."

Instead, the Vaqueros looked to Alexander Nelson and Jesus Gutierrez, who more than picked up the slack, as Nelson finished fourth in 21:26 and Gutierrez was fifth in 21:26.

"Those guys ran well, I'm really excited," Lopez said of Nelson and Gutierrez, who were followed by Isaac Diosdado (15th, 22:06), Nicholas Marquez (16th, 22:10) and Vladimir Diaz (19th, 22:14). "Our guys really ran well after the first mile. We got them on the uphill and then we had nice good kicks."

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