Track Shines as Sports Season Ends

Brandon Hensley

Wherever Glendale’s track and field teams went this season, success seemed to follow. The women’s track team captured the Western State Conference title, its first since 1981.

“That was really a total team effort,” said coach Eddie Lopez, who also said he was proud and excited for his team.

Both the men and women managed to send several athletes to this year’s state finals at San Mateo College May 15 and 16. All-American honors were awarded to the top four finishers in each event, and Glendale, as expected, brought home some winners.

For the women, freshman phenom Samantha Bogatz, who was named Western State Conference female runner of the year, earned All-American honors in two events. She placed third in the 100 meters in 12.07 seconds, and third again in the 200 meters in 24.34.

Sophomore Zitlalic Ley was also an All-American, finishing second in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Ley will also be receiving huge honors next month, winning the Coblentz-Zorbas Women’s Athletic Award.

“It couldn’t have gone to a better woman. She exemplifies hard work, something we are looking forward to rewarding, and to be on such a high caliber team for both cross country and track; that’s testament to not only her but to Eddie,” said women’s athletic director Terry Coblentz.

All first-team conference honors went to Bogatz in the 100 and 200 meters. Katie Dunn joined her in 1,500 and 5,000. Ley made first team in the 5,000 meters and in the steeplechase. Ashley Baucham made first team in the high jump, and the 4×100 relay team of Baucham, Janette Morfin, Melani Artoun-Livaskan, and Samantha Bogatz were named to the first team as well.

Nathan Sellers, the men’s conference runner of the year, was an All-American in the 10,000 meters and the 5000 meters. He placed third in both events. Jonathan Alpizar finished third in the 3000-meter steeplechase.

In Western State Conference, Sellers made all first-team in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. Joining Sellers was Adrian Anderson in 800 meters and Alpizar in the steeplechase.

Francisco Quijada and Christopher Santoyo made all second-team in steeplechase and pole vault, respectively.

David Nakbandyan and Justina Sudaskatie will both receive the Rossall-Smith Male and Female Scholar Athlete of the Year awards next month as well.

Aside from track and field, the men’s tennis team was the other noticeable bright spot this spring, as the Vaqs finished second in the Western State Conference with a 14-7 record, and 8-2 in conference. They advanced to the playoffs, losing to College of the Desert in the first round.

Rony Yeghnazary earned conference’s co-player of the year honors alongside Ventura College’s Zach Taylor. Yeghnazary went 9-1 in conference.

Yeghnazary also received all-conference first-team honors along with fellow Vaqs Ryan Stansbury, Joey Tresierras, Paul Nagapetyan and Marko Gortinski.

Honorable mentions in doubles went to the teams of Stanbury and Tresierras, and Gortinski and Nagapetyan.

Stanbury received the Jim Sartoris Cardinal and Gold Award for leadership and commitment to vaquero athletics.

The women’s tennis team finished their 2009 campaign 7-8, including 5-7 in conference play.

Meldia Hacobian, Sarah Aguilar and Minelli Ebrahimi all earned conference honorable mentions. Aguilar and Ebrahimi received honorable mentions in doubles play.

Hacopian made it to the round of 32 in singles in the regional playoffs, and the doubles team of of Hacopian and Monique Palmera advanced to the round of 16, one round from qualifying for state.

As for honors, perhaps none was bigger than sophomore guard Markus Monroe’s of the Vaqueros basketball team.

Monroe was named to the all-state team for his efforts this season. He averaged 22.2 points per game, and finished his career fourth on the Vaqueros all-time scoring list. Monroe is the eighth Vaquero in school history to be named to the all-state team.

The team failed to qualify for the playoffs after a 12-17 season in which they went 5-7 in the conference’s Southern Division. Their season came down to their last game at Canyons. They ended up falling short in overtime 107-99, to eliminate them from postseason contention.

Still, other accolades were to be had.
Along with all-state honors, Monroe was named to the all-conference team with his teammate Josh Guillory, a sophomore forward/center. Freshman Dconte Wyatt was named to the honorable mention team for WSC.

The Lady Vaqs basketball team finished 15-15 overall and 5-7 in WSC and also missed the playoffs.

Sophomore guard/forward Paola Gupilan, voted the team’s most outstanding player, made first team all-conference. Rachel Estrella and Amanda Quesada were named as conference honorable mentions.

In baseball, the Vaqs playoff bid fell short this season, finishing with a record of 24-19, and 14-14 in the conference.

Like the basketball team, the Vaqs’ playoff hopes hinged on beating – who else? – College of the Canyons during the last week of the season. But the first place Cougars prevailed 6-1, and that was it for the Vaqs.

Sophomore infielder Mike Mendoza, who will receive the Richard Tang Memorial Athlete of the Year award next month, was a WSC first-team selection. Mendoza was named to the Southern California section all-state team as well. Mendoza hit .427 and drove in 27 runs in WSC play.

Catcher Kevin Dultz, infielder Yuki Ishida, outfielder Chris Arredondo and utility player Yuya Okuda made all second-team.
First baseman Laz Fonta, and pitchers Byron Pacheco and Chris Turner were honorable mentions.

The Lady Vaqs softball team suffered through a difficult 2009 season. They finished in last place in the Western State Conference’s Blue Division with a 11-29 record, 4-19 in conference play.

Sophomore infielder Krista Smith made the all-WSC second team. Melissa Legaspi and Jessica Winnie were honorable mentions.

The men’s Golf team endured a tough season, going 2-75. It was the second season back for the golf program, which was resurrected in 2007 after a two decade absence.