It didn't play out ideally for Cecilia Nicolas and Nohemi Martinez, but both Glendale Community College women's track and field runners said their desire to succeed fueled them to cross the finish line first at the Western State Conference Championships.
Rodriguez and Martinez were the only Vaqueros — both men and women — to finish first Friday at Moorpark College, as the women took third with 108 points, behind West L.A. College (119) and College of the Canyons (112).
The Wildcats swept on both sides, as their men also finished first with 135 points. Glendale Community College came in seventh (71).
The Vaqueros sent six women and five men onto the Southern California prelims at San Diego Mesa College on May 5, as the top six finishers in each event advanced.
Nicolas said the weather kept switching from really windy to hot, which made things more difficult for her and the other runners, but she still prevailed in the women's steeplechase.
"It's a tough race," said Nicolas, who took first in 11 minutes 13.73 seconds, as GCC's Angela Martinez finished fifth in 11:42. "I was tired but I kept going, I wanted to win."
Nohemi Martinez took first place in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 18:25.74, despite losing track of what lap she was on and picking up her pace with two laps to go, instead of one.
"It was hard keeping the pace," said Nohemi Martinez, who saw teammates Grace Zamudio and Angela Martinez finish not far behind in 18:33.19 (third) and 18:45.15 (fifth), respectively. "I guess I was just motivated, I was already in the front and I didn't want to get passed."
The Vaqueros women got two second-place finishes from Lilia Asserian in the 800 (2:17.28) and Alyssa Selve in the 1,500 (4:46.60), which impressed Nicolas.
"Even though [Selve] was injured, she came back and showed how talented she is," Nicolas said. "She hadn't been running for almost a month, but she still took second."
Selve was closely followed in the 1,500 by Zamudio, who took third in 4:47.05.
Rico Gutierrez was responsible for the Vaqueros' top finish on the men's side, as he took third in the 5K (15:31.93).
Mario Castillo and Vladimir Diaz both took fourth in the 800 (1:56) and steeplechase (9:58.39), respectively, for GCC, which also had Yeltsen Vasquez and Issac Diosdado advance to the Southern California Prelims in the steeplechase with fifth (10:00.17) and sixth-place finishes (10:01.02), respectively.
Alexander Nelson was the final GCC runner to advance, as he took sixth in the 1,500 in 4:10.25.