Cross Country Tops WSC Competition

Eric Bourse, Staff Writer

The Lady Vaqueros took first place in the Western State Conference cross country preview meet Friday at Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara. The men’s team took second place and Glendale’s Mizrael Mendez finished first.

The Lady Vaqs came in first place with 22 points, while Moorpark took second with 56 points and Cuesta took third with 64 points.

“The team did well but our top three could have done better,” said head coach Eddie Lopez.

“We were able to get an excellent score, but Karen Rosas and Alyssa Selve were expected to win.”

Although a Lady Vaq didn’t finish in first place, the team filled up the top 10 slots with six runners.

Rosas finished second in the 3-mile race with a time of 20:22. Selve finished third in 20:36. Grace Graham-Zamudio finished fourth in 20:41. Angela Martinez came in fifth with a time of 20:44.

Nohemi Martinez took eighth place with a time of 21:03. Cecilia Nicolas finished 10th place in 21:21. Charlene Quintanilla came in 13th in 21:41 and Laura Pluemer finished in 14th place with a time of 21:47.

“I came into this race thinking I was mentally prepared but the course turned out to be different from what I expected,” said Rosas, 20, sociology. “I wanted to start fast but the sand in the beginning of the race was critical and made the course slow. I tried to not breathe in at the start of

the race because of all the bugs

in the air.”

The men’s team finished second place with a score of 49. L.A. Valley was able to secure first place with 47.

“L.A. Valley College was ready for us,” said Lopez. “We had a flat performance and lacked focus. Their competitive mindset has to be there and it wasn’t.”

Mendez finished the four-mile course in first place with a time of 21:38. Jesus Gutierrez finished fifth in 22:12. Isaac Diosdado came in 10th in 22:28. Kurt Lutz finished in 16th place with a time of 22:35.

Nicolas Marquez came in 17th place in 22:40. Ramon Robles finished in 20th place with a time of 22:46.

“We didn’t have a great performance,” said Mendez, 18. “We could have done better as a team.”

The sand also proved to be a challenge to Glendale’s top runner.

“I’m terrible at running on sand,” said Mendez. “It takes extra effort to run in the sand and I tried to make up ground when we were racing on cement and grass. My plan was to not let the front runners out of sight and give it all toward the end.”

“The big competitions are coming soon and it’s my job to make sure they are all ready,” said Lopez.

The next cross country competition is the Mt. SAC Invitational in Walnut on Friday at 3 p.m. The WSC Finals will take place on Oct. 25 at Fairbanks Park at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo at 3 p.m.