Grace Zamudio spent the spring in dominant fashion on all-weather tracks across California.
The Glendale Community College women’s standout track and field athlete blazed a bunch of trails that saw her excel in the 10,000-, 5,000 and 1,500-meter events. The sophomore finished with nine championships, winning each event in the Western State Conference, Southern California Championships and California Community College State Track & Field Championships.
Zamudio’s body of work was recognized Thursday, as she was named the 2012-2013 California Community College Athletic Assn. and California Community College Sports Information Assn. Female Athlete of the Year.
“I wasn’t expecting this at all, but I’m really happy and excited,” Zamudio said. “It’s a very rewarding honor.
“I continue to see how much the hard work has paid off. It motivates me that much more to go out there and work harder.”
Last fall, Zamudio began down her path of success by winning nine races in a row for the college’s women’s cross-country team.
She won conference and Southern California Championship titles before finishing sixth at the state championship meet in Fresno. The Vaqueros placed second in state and Zamudio was bestowed with All-American honors after being named the conference’s cross-country female athlete of the year. Zamudio was also named athlete of the month in October.
Her success carried over into the spring.
After setting the tone at the conference and Southern California Championships, Zamudio took part in the California Community College Athletic Assn. Track and Field State Championships at the College of San Mateo in May.
Zamudio started her quest for state glory by taking the 10,000 in 37 minutes 22.19 seconds. The next day, Zamudio came back to capture the 1,500- and 5,000 events. Zamudio took the 1,500 (4:36.13) before winning the 5,000 (17:41.04) to become the first female athlete in the state to win state crowns in those races in the same season.
Zamudio secured 30 of Glendale's 41 team points to lead the Vaqueros, coached by Eddie Lopez, to a sixth-place finish overall. Zamudio was then named the female athlete of the month for May.
“Everything just came full circle for me,” Zamudio said.
Glendale Athletic Director John Cicuto said Zamudio’s recognition was deserved.
“She was able to go out there and dominate in two different sports,” Cicuto said. “There are some great female athletes across the state, so to see what she did was very worthy.
“She’s a very special athlete who represented the college so well. I applaud coach Lopez and his staff for being able to recruit so well.”