Support Our Teams! Spring Sports Promise Excitement

Brandon Hensley

When we last left El Vaquero, our former sports editor Ross Coleman was busy lamenting the fact that Glendale’s student body simply does not put enough effort into supporting the sports teams here on campus.

Challengers to this notion may say they were trying to find a parking spot and when they finally did, the games had ended (never pass on an opportunity to make a joke about GCC parking), but Coleman’s complaint about students not even knowing what our school colors are (maroon and gold) or what conference we play in (Western State Conference) is probably a valid one.

As it is, the spring sports season has already provided some excitement that students should not being missing out on.

The women’s basketball team failed to make the playoffs this season, but team was able to send sophomores Paola Gupilan, Laura Armenian and Neyra Valenzuela off in style in their final home game of their Glendale careers, winning an overtime thriller against Bakersfield.

Athletic point guard Rachel Estrella may take over next season as the team’s most exciting player now that Gupilan is moving on.

The men’s basketball team also ended its season last week with losses against Bakersfield and College of the Canyons pushing them out of the playoffs.

Markus Monroe and Josh Guillory were both named to the All-WSC first team, but they were Glendale’s only sophomores, and inexperience might have been the team’s downfall in the end.

The baseball team, off to an 8-4 start, is led by a “great group of sophomores,” according to head coach Chris Cicuto. First baseman Lazaro Fonta, shortstop Danny Casey, catcher Kevin Dultz, center fielder Chris Arrendondo and left fielder Brain Ward are key components to what Cicuto calls a well-rounded lineup.

Ward provides the team with its biggest home run threat. The pitching staff is solid, if unspectacular, posting a 3.58 earned run average as of last week.

“We have super high expectations this year,” Cicuto said. The Vaqs haven’t made the playoffs since 2002, and Cicuto is trying to use the underdog mentality as motivation.

“Everyone wants to come to Glendale and beat up on little old Glendale…we’re out to earn some respect this year.”

Both the Lady Vaqs softball and tennis teams have had to deal with early season rain outs, including canceling the middle of a softball game in early February.

Coming off of a 22-17 2008 season, head coach Dave “Hawk” Wilder’s team is only 5-9. Sophomores Krista Smith, Melissa Legaspi, Jessica Marquez and Chelsea Lawrence will have to pick up the pace if they want to be in playoff contention by season’s end.

The women’s tennis team, coached by women’s athletic director Terry Coblentz, is 2-0 on the young season heading into Tuesday’s game with Allan Hancock.

The roster of Alex Tzvetanova, Aline Nicoghosian, Armine Balayan, Mineli Ebramini, Monique Palmera, Sarah Aguilar and Veronica Sandoval will look to build off of their strong start and join the men’s team as an elite program.

The men’s tennis team is currently riding high thanks to the play of sophomore Rony Yeghnazary, a transfer from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. The Vaqs ranked fourth in the preseason Southern California Men’s standings and 5-1 overall so far, figure to be strong contenders for a WSC title.

Sophomores Ryan Stanbury and Emmanuel Haug also return. Both players were WSC honorable mentions in doubles matches last season. Look for Stanbury’s red mohawk to set a trend in spring hairstyles as well.

Both cross country teams are trying to parlay their success last fall into this track and field season. Coach Eddie Lopez will oversee a talented women’s squad including captains Melani Artoun Livanskani and Brigette Fernandez, Justina Sadiskaite, and freshman standouts Ashley Baucham and Samantha Bogatz.

Bauchman is a high jump specialist, already clearing 5 feet 5 inches this season. Lopez says Bogatz has a chance to break several school records this year, including the 200 and 400, and the sprint relay. Freshman Katie Dunn, coming off of an outstanding cross country year, will also lead the team as a distance runner.

“We should be one of the top teams in the conferences and maybe the state, too,” said Lopez, citing West L.A. College as the top competition. “The women are very deep. This is one of the best teams we’ve had in a long time, maybe the best track we’ve had, ever.”
The men’s team is lead by captains David Nalbanyan and Nathan Sellers. Lopez said the men’s team may not be as deep as the women’s, but a top five finish in the conference is likely. “We have all the distance guys. Our distance guys are going to be strong,” he said, talking about Sellers, Francis Herrera and Jonathan Alpizar. Trent Adams and Shalom Montgomery will lead the way in sprints and relays.

The real star power at GCC lies not on one of the team’s rosters, but rather on one of the coaching staffs. The men’s golf team is led by PGA member Greg Osbourne, a former Vaquero golfer and football player, and assistant coach James Caan.

Yes, that James Caan.

After Glendale decided to resurrect the golf program in 2007 after a 23-year hiatus, Osbourne jumped at the chance to coach the team, and brought along his friend Caan, whom he met in a tournament in the 1990s, to help out whenever he could.

The team is vastly improved this year from last, thanks to players coming from all over California and out of state. Osbourne said his number one player at the moment is sophomore Andrew Lepore, but the team is deeply talented thanks to freshmen Mark Cafagna from Mission Hills High in San Diego, Taylor Schlom from Corning High School in Northern California, and Zack Rispin from Carson High School in Nevada.

Osbourne said making the playoffs is “absolutely” a possibility, but noted the competition in conference is tough. “Every team in our league is solid….we got some good players, so we should do well.”