Grace Zamudio became the 10,000-meter Southern California champion at the Southern California Preliminaries at San Diego Mesa College on Saturday. Teammate Nohemi Martinez took third place.
“I wasn’t expecting to win the 10,000-meter race,” said Zamudio, 18. “I was hoping to improve my time but winning it is the icing on the cake.”
On the final lap, Zamudio quickly took first place and never looked back, to finish in 38:08. Martinez controlled third place for almost the entire race and finished in 38:42. Karen Rosas took home the same championship for Glendale last year.
In the women’s steeplechase qualifier, Cecilia Nicolas took first place in 11:17 and Angela Martinez took third in 11:32.
“All of the hard work and preparation paid off for the women today as they did an excellent job,” said Head Coach Eddie Lopez. “Many of them scored new personal records, even if they didn’t finish high enough to qualify.”
In the women’s 1,500-meter race qualifier, Zamudio took fifth place in 4:43. Alyssa Selve finished seventh in 4:44.
In the women’s 800-meter race qualifier, Lilia Asserian finished third overall in 2:16.
For the women’s field events, Justice Shank qualified to compete next week by scoring 1.60 meters in a nine-way tie for first place in the high jump.
Aside from their qualified races, Nohemi Martinez, Zamudio, Angela Martinez, Selve and Nicolas will also compete in the 5,000-meter final next week. Rico Gutierrez will compete in the 5,000-meter final for the men’s team.
“The women are peaking at the right time,” said Lopez. “They just have to stay healthy and maintain the focus that they had today.”
The men’s team couldn’t make the same noise as the Lady Vaqs on Saturday. The team qualified for two finals next week.
In the men’s steeplechase qualifier, Vladimir Diaz took seventh in 9:49. Yeltsen Vasquez took ninth in 9:50 and Issac Diosdado finished in 10:00.91 to take 12th place.
Robert Pullido qualified to compete next week in the hammer throw by finishing 11th with a 43.75 throw.
“The men had a tough time today,” said Lopez. “A lot of them just couldn’t compete and have that focus like the women’s team.”
“It was really disappointing to say the least,” said Alexander Nelson, who finished 19th overall in the 1,500-meter run. “The clock in my race malfunctioned which threw some of us off but I just didn’t have it in me today despite it.”
The qualified competitors will return to San Diego Mesa College for the Southern California Finals on Saturday.