It has been an exciting year so far for GCC athletics and El Vaquero feels that you need to know what has happened.
Football came into this season with high expectations after finishing last year 9-2 and winning the Western State Bowl. But from the opening game it became apparent that teams were gunning for the Vaqs conference title. After an opening game loss at Chaffey College, the team was able to reel off four wins. The team finished the season losing three of their last five to finish the season 6-4.
Sophomore defensive end Grant Valentine was named California Community Colleges Football Coaches Association (CCCFCA) Region III Defensive Player of the Year as voted by the coaches. Valentine, sophomore safety Ray McDonough, and sophomore offensive lineman Zach Williams were also voted to the CCCFCA All-American team. Joining Valentine, McDonough, and Williams on the All-State team was tight end Chris Bryant.
The football team also had to say goodbye to long time Coach John Cicuto who retired after 19 years as the head coach. Cicuto finishes with 104 wins and a winning percentage of 0.530. He will continue his duties as athletic director.
The women’s volleyball team finished their season on a downswing losing their last 15 games to finish the season with a record of 6-17 overall and 0-9 in Western State Conference play. The Lady Vaqs were led by freshman Aya Nakano who was voted to All-WSC first team.
Women’s golf made a triumphant debut to GCC. The team finished their inaugural season with a record of 12-28 and finished fourth out of six in the conference finals.
Men’s cross country had a respectable season finishing 10 in the southern California meet and 13 in the state. Joshua Edmonson was the top GCC finisher in both key meets.
Women’s cross country was easily the top team on campus so far this year. After finishing the season undefeated, they were able to win the Southern California Championships for the second straight year held at Mt. San Antonio. But unlike last year they were able to build on last year’s success and come home with a State Championship banner. The leading runners on the team were sophomores Tove Berg and Vivien Wadeck who finished second and third in the State Championships respectively. As Coach Eddie Lopez put it, “This is the best team I have ever coached.”
Berg was named Western State Conference athlete of the year for the second consecutive year. Lopez was named conference coach of the year for coaching the team to an undefeated season and their first State Championship since 1980.
Men’s soccer had a rough season going 2-16-4 overall and 2-10-2 in conference play. Edwin Cabrera, who was named All-WSC first team, and Artine Saginian, who was named All-WSC second team, led them.
Women’s soccer had high hopes for the season, but high hopes were not realized as the team failed to reach the playoffs finishing 9-6-7 overall and 6-4-5 in conference play. The Lady Vaqs had Olga Aguirre named to first team All-WSC.
Women’s basketball finished the regular season 19-13 overall and 7-5 in WSC play. The Lady Vaqs failed to qualify for the playoffs but the did have a number of all-WSC players. Leading the pack was sophomore guard MacKenna Karasawa.
Men’s basketball brought a young team into the season. The team finished the regular season 17-16 overall and 5-7 in WSC play. The men were able to qualify for the playoffs and beat Compton College in a close play-in game. The Vaqs were carried to the second round by all-WSC first teamers Markus Monroe, who led the conference in scoring, and Curtis Leslie.
Men’s basketball also was able to celebrate a milestone on Feb. 7, when Coach Brian Beauchemin coached the Vaqs to victory number 500 in his coaching career. Beauchemin has been the GCC coach for 29 years.