It was a year of accomplishments, and now a year of accolades for both the men’s and women’s cross country teams at Glendale College.
As expected, both teams finished their seasons in fine style Nov 24 at the state championship meet at Woodland Park in Fresno.
The Lady Vaqs, who won the state championship last year, captured second place, coming within three points of winner Orange Coast College 86 to 84. The men’s team finished seventh in the meet, which was won by San Bernardino.
Head coach Eddie Lopez was named Women’s Coach of the Year for Western State Conference. Lopez was grateful for being recognized, “especially by your peers, your colleagues. That was nice,” he said.
With the women’s team narrowly missing its second straight state title, Lopez understood and felt the athletes’ pain, but he made sure not say he was disappointed. “Not disappointed. It was just a tough loss. It’s hard to tell an athlete they took second and it’s ok….as a coach, I was pleased with their effort.”
The Lady Vaqs can take solace in the fact they did win their fourth consecutive conference title and finished first at the Southern California championships meet for the third straight year earlier this season.
The Lady Vaqs ran over the competition in collecting awards. In addition to Lopez’s coach of the year honors, freshman standout Katie Dunn was named Western State Conference Female Athlete of the Year. Justina Sadauskaite, Brigette Fernandez, Rosa Del Toro, Angelina Gonzalez and Kristine Kaneich also joined Dunn as part of the All-WSC first team. Dunn, Sadauskaite, Del Toro and Fernandez also nabbed All-American honors. Reyna Samiengo and Lidia Ferman were named to the second team.
“It’s a tribute to their success,” Lopez said of the women. “They really put the work in.”
Talking about Dunn, Lopez said, “She’s overcome injuries and illness. She’s just a very well rounded person. She’s very team oriented and that’s what we want at Glendale College.”
Lopez was pleased with the men’s effort all season. He said they pushed for a top-five finish in the finals, but seventh place will have to do. “All the work that they did in cross country is going to lead to a good track season,” he added.
Nathan Sellers was consistently the top finisher for the men this season, and he placed ninth in the state finals. “I was really disappointed with that,” he said. Talking about his teammates’ efforts in the finals, Sellers said they weren’t exactly satisfied where they placed. “I don’t know if it was just the nerves that got to everybody or what.”
Sellers said he expected more from himself this season, citing a lack of conditioning this summer as a reason for his performance. Sellers, a sophomore, transferred from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo after his freshman year when he became disengaged with his cross country team there. He came to GCC this fall but had to work his way into condition.
Sellers may be too hard on himself. After all, he was named to the All-WSC first team, finished second in the WSC Male Athlete of the Year voting, and earned All-American honors. Francisco Herrera was named to the second team, and Steven Carillo was given an honorable mention.
Sellers said for the most part the mens team performed well, and thinks their growth will carry into track and field, which is the next sports that is in season. “[The guys] are really starting to mature as runners. They’re gonna be able to do great things this track season.”