GCC sweeps WSC final

In a showcase of complete dominance upon the Fairbanks Park course in Cuesta, the Glendale Community College cross-country program showed it is every bit the best the Western State Conference has to offer.

Led by a first-place championship finish from Karen Rosas, the GCC women's team continued its tour de force through the season with a dominating title win, posting 18 points to second-place Moorpark's 68, while the men's team impressed with Mizrael Mendez taking home individual title honors to lead the Vaqueros to team glory, as well.

"It's been a while since we've gone four for four," said Glendale college Coach Eddie Lopez of his team winning team and individual honors in both races. "It was a very good day.

"It's the first step of the postseason. We ran well."

The women's team posted a phenomenal mark of 18 points with its scoring five — led by Rosas' winning run of 18 minutes 30 seconds along the hilly 5,000-meter course — all finishing in the top six spots and eight runners coming across inside the top 20.

The men's team rounded out an all-around stellar day for the program, as Mendez won the men's four-mile race in 21:20.60, leading the charge as the Vaqueros tallied 40 points to second-place L.A. Valley's 69.

"We had an awesome day," Rosas said. "Today, you could see it on everyone['s faces], we all gave it our best."

The numbers were staggering on Tuesday afternoon and historically in adding on to GCC's WSC chronicle.

The women, who won their sixth consecutive meet of the season, extended their conference record with a seventh straight WSC title and took home their 14th conference title overall, four fewer than the 18 the men's team has won — which was also its fourth in a row.

"I'm satisfied," said Mendez of the day that was turned in. "We talked before the race and we just said how much we wanted it and everybody gave it their best. It basically worked out how we wanted it to."

Mendez started out a bit slower through the first mile than he said he would have liked, but came on when it mattered most.

"When I felt it was time, I took the lead," he said.

Lopez said Mendez and Rosas had similar races in passing their competition late and putting the run to rest.

"Right at the same spot of the [final] downhill they both made a move," Lopez said. "That's where they got the victory."

Mendez was followed in by teammate Alex Nelson, who finished seventh in 21:55. Jesus Gutierrez was a ninth-place finisher in 22:01.40, coming in just in front of Issac Diosdoda (10th, 22:01.70). Nicholas Marquez — in 13th place in 22:08.10 — rounded out the Vaqueros' scoring five.

On the women's side, Rosas' most formidable challenger in the end was teammate Alyssa Selve, who took second in 18:34.50, continuing a parade of GCC women across the finish line. Angie Martinez, who won the conference title in 2010, finished in fourth in 18:57.40 with Grace Graham-Zamudio (fifth, 19:14.50) and Nohemi Martinez (sixth, 19:17.90) following not far behind to round out the impressive 18-point performance. While they didn't figure in the scoring, Cecilia Nicolas (10th, 19:52.00) and Laura Pluemer (11th, 19:56.10) also turned in impressive runs.

"We're still working as a team," Rosas said. "I've been wanting that perfect score for the girls and we keep getting close."

While conference titles were assuredly goals for the Vaqueros, hopes have now quickly turned to the Southern California Championships on Nov. 4 in Ontario and, hopefully, the Nov. 19 state championships in Fresno.

"We're in the right direction," said Lopez, whose women's team is seeking its third state championship in five seasons. "Nothing's taken for granted."

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