WALNUT — It was a day of exceeded expectations for the Glendale Community College track and field team at Saturday’s community college edition of the 55th annual Mt. San Antonio College Relays.
Maybe no one came in with more acclaim and lived up to that subsequent billing than did Glendale sophomore Grace Graham-Zamudio.
The state leader in the 1,500-meter run superseded her California-best time of 4 minutes, 36 seconds by winning the event in 4:34.47, which was just off the meet record time of 4:33 set by Phoenix’s Trina Leopold in 1985.
“During the week, we do a lot of speed workouts and when I get out ahead and don’t have anyone close by, I think back to workouts,” said Graham-Zamudio, whose mark is second nationally. “I stick to my own pace.”
Graham-Zamudio found competition through the first two laps from Pasadena City College’s Arielle Barragan-Steimer in running to an 800-meter split time of 2:31.4, with Barragan-Steimer close behind.
Yet, the speed proved too much from Barragan-Steimer, who fell off around the 900-meter mark and left Graham-Zamudio to herself.
The void for second, however, was eventually filled by fellow Vaquero Elizabeth Nelson, who took the silver in 4:46.88, good for sixth in state and 10th in the nation.
While Glendale sophomore Nicholas La Croix took fourth in the men’s open hammer throw, his finish wasn’t as important as his distance.
The Arcadia High product ended with a toss of 174 feet, 9 inches, which left La Croix in rarified air as the sophomore broke the previous school of 172-2, set by Antonio Dobbins in 1984.
“That was amazing to set a school record,” La Croix said. “When I woke up this morning, I felt good. I got some good sleep and knew that today was going to be a good day.”
La Croix became the first Vaquero male in over a decade to set a school record. Even so, La Croix is hoping for more.
“To be honest, I’m happy to break the record since it’s old, but really I’m going for my own achievement,” said La Croix, who also finished sixth (46-01 1/2) in the shot put. “I’d love to get 180 plus.”
Perhaps Glendale’s Lilia Asserian will be next to break a school record as the sophomore took second in the open 800 run in a time of 2:15.19, which is a little less than a second off the school mark of 2:14.20.
For her consolation, Asserian will have to settle for the third-best time in state and No. 8 nationally.
Finishing fourth in the same race was the versatile Graham-Zamudio, who easily topped her seeded time of 2:17.94 with a mark of 2:16.48.
In the men’s version of the 1,500 race, Glendale’s Edwardo Vasquez finished third in the first heat and was third overall in a time of 3:58.32, which puts him 10th in state and 20th nationally.
Sophomore Issac Diosdado clinched the Vaqueros’ final bronze in surviving a tough fall in the second-to-last water hurdle before finishing the 3000-meter steeplechase in 9:41.36.
Additionally, Glendale posted two top-10 finishes in the 800-meter run and 5,000-meter runs.
Sophomore Mario Castillo was fourth in the 800 (1:54.92), ahead of seventh-place teammate Ashton Malone (1:55.39), while Enriquez Ramirez was eighth in the 5,000 (15:36.54), right before 10th-place Kurt Lutz (15:44.30).
Other solid efforts included Kelly Castillo taking sixth (13:06.25) in the women’s steeplechase, Charlene Quintanilla also going sixth in the 5,000-meter run (18:49.03), Ana Tonga earning seventh in the women’s javelin (109-09) and two ninth-place efforts from Nafiseh Mataei in the 100 (12.57) and Jason An, formerly of Crescenta Valley High, in the men’s javelin (164-07).