Banner day for Grace Zamudio, Glendale Community College's men's track and field team

MOORPARK — In her two seasons as a member of the Glendale Community College women’s track and field team, Grace Zamudio has enjoyed plenty of banner performances.

At the Western State Conference finals at Moorpark College on Friday, Zamudio added another one with a record-setting performance.

Zamudio won two individual races, including recording a school-best time of 4 minutes 28.86 seconds to win the 1,500-meter race, to lead the Vaqueros to a tie for second place.

“It’s a special accomplishment and to do it in my favorite event is special,” said Zamudio, who eclipsed the record of 4:33 by Shari Ewing in 1981. “I missed it by one second [at the Mount San Antonio College Invitational on April 13].

“This whole week, I’ve been working a lot on speed workouts. From the gun, I normally run pretty conservative. The coaches have been working with me on getting out much faster with the starts.”

Zamudio, a sophomore, also captured the 5,000 in 18:07.10. She earlier won the 10,000 in 39 minutes 32.04 seconds during the conference prelims April 19 at Ventura College.

In the men’s portion of the meet, Glendale received first-place finishes from Nick La Croix in the hammer and Kurt Lutz in the 5,000 to lead the Vaqueros to their first conference championship since 1989.

La Croix turned in a mark of 117 feet 01 inches. Lutz clocked 15;18.56 in the 5,000.

Glendale Coach Eddie Lopez praised Zamudio for her latest accomplishment.

“She’s unbelievable,” Lopez said. “It was great to see her go out there and get the school record.

“A lot of people have tried to break that record for 32 years. With Grace, it’s just about her focus and ability to tolerate the work load. That puts her in position to succeed.”

Glendale’s women’s team had 10 individual athletes qualify for the Southern California Regionals, which will be held Saturday at Antelope Valley College. The top six finishers in each event automatically qualified for the Southern California Regionals.

Glendale received a first-place finish from Nafasi Mataei in the 100 in personal-best time of 12.16 seconds.

Also advancing to the Southern California Regionals were Elizabeth Nelson in the 1,500 (third, 4:45.60), Kelly Castillo (fifth, 12:14.70) and Teresa Villafuerte (sixth, 12:27.67) in the 3,000 steeplechase, Lilia Asserian (second, 2:15.70) in the 800, Jasmine Sales (fourth, 1:07.89) in the 400 hurdles, Nicole Pappelis (second, 108 feet 09 inches) and Ana Tonga (fourth, 104-07) in the javelin and Charlene Quintanilla (third, 18:34.41) in the 5,000. Glendale’s 4x400 relay team of Asserian, Mataei, Sales and Zulma Herrera clocked 4:05.75 to place fifth.

Glendale and Ventura finished tied for second with 111 points, finishing behind West L.A. (167 points) in the team competition.

La Croix, a sophomore, said he was eager to win the event after receiving a new hammer Tuesday.

It didn’t take long for La Croix to become adjusted to his new equipment.

“It was a good day for me, but I thought I could have done better,” said La Croix, who won the conference crown in the shot put with a mark of 13.52 meters on April 19. “It took a little time to get used to the new hammer, but then I was able to turn it on.

“I got to my fourth throw and I pushed myself to the limit to win it. I got there and I’m happy. It’s amazing to be able to win two conference championships.”

Glendale’s men’s team finished with 158.3 points, besting West L.A. (151).

“With Nick, he’s a good team leader and I’m happy for him,” Lopez said. “He’s the best thrower we’ve had in a long time and he deserves this.”

A host of Vaqueros advanced to the Southern California Regionals on the men’s side.

Those moving on are Isaac Diosdado (second, 9:43.40), Yeltsen Vasquez (fourth, 10:05.52), Jose Catalan (fifth, 10:07.45) and Jorge Mendoza (sixth, 10:07.87) in the 3,000 steeplechase, Mario Castillo (third, 3:58.44) and Edwardo Vasquez (fourth, 4:01.36) in the 1,500, Jourdan Henore (sixth, 10.86) in the 100 and 200 (sixth, 22.30), Ashton Malone (800 (fifth, 1:57.85) in the 800, Daniel Munoz (sixth, 48.91) in the 400 and Diosdado (second, 15:23.25), Mizrael Mendez (third, 15:28.29) and Enrique Ramirez (fifth, 15:40.89) in the 5,000.

Glendale’s 4x100 relay team of Henore, Christian Quintanilla, Munoz and Nathan Weston finished fifth (42.67). The Vaqueros’ 4x400 relay quartet of Weston, Munoz, James Jones and Malone took sixth (3:21.60).

“We have some great athletes and they all came together in winning conference,” Lopez said. “It came down to us being able to do well in the 5K and holding our own in the 4x400 relay and javelin.

“It took each and every one of them do to well and put forth that kind of effort.”

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