Cross country runner Grace Graham-Zamudio flew by the competition this season and was named Western State Conference female athlete of the year, continuing the program’s victorious tradition.
Graham-Zamudio joined two other runners on the All-Western State Conference first team. Abril Ramirez made second team and four runners earned honorable mention.
“I feel really accomplished,” Graham-Zamudio said. “I was hoping to contribute more to the team this season and I ended up doing more than I expected.”
Graham-Zamudio had won eight straight individual titles up until the State Championships, where she placed sixth.
“She deserves it [winning All-WSC athlete of the year],” head coach Eddie Lopez said. “She had a great season and I’m glad she won.”
Charlene Quintanilla, the women’s team captain, said that the team did so well this year, not because of their talent, but because of their dedication and hard work.
“It’s all with the training,” Quintanilla said. “We knew where we were going to place is where we deserved to be. Placing on the podium is better than anyone else expected.”
Lopez led both the men and women’s teams to take second at the state championships in Fresno on Nov. 17.
While Lopez continued to lead both teams toward victory, he earned the title of Western State Conference Coach of the year for the men’s team.
“I tell them when they come in that it’s a partnership; when they do well, we do well,” Lopez said.
Although not all of the members of the teams qualified to run in the State Championships, the top runners embodied the entire program.
“The whole team is represented by the top seven, even if they didn’t run at the state [competition], the team is a family and supports each other,” Lopez said.
Lopez went on to say that getting the honors was just payoff for all of the hard work the teams had put in throughout the summer training and the season. “If you do well as a team, then the honors will come with it.”
Four runners from the men’s team made All-Western State Conference first team, two made All-WSC second team and seven earned honorable mention.
“It shows the kind of depth we had on our overall team and I’m really proud of the guys by making first team, second team and honorable mention,” team captain Isaac Diosdado said. Diosdado joined three other runners, including sophomore Kurt Lutz, on the All-WSC first team.
“It was really an honor [to make first team] because a lot of other guys were really talented,” Lutz said.
Diosdado, Lutz, Graham-Zamudio and Quintanilla will join other members of the teams in running for the GCC track team in the spring and hope to do just as well throughout that season, too.