When one thinks of winning teams, they usually remember that one player who shined the brightest. The Glendale track team had an outstanding season this year and sophomore decathlon standout Quaid Vuncannon is that player.
Vuncannon, a San Clemente High School graduate, went out for track during freshman year of high school. That was only because he was too small to make the basketball team.
“I was only 5-foot-3 and 95 pounds. Once I got on the track team and I wanted to throw the discus,” Vuncannon said. “I was not throwing very far but I definitely loved doing it. I ended up throwing discus all four years of high school.”
However, once Vuncannon’s senior year came around, he wanted to try and do something different.
“My senior year I really started thinking about the decathlon,” he said. “I had always been on the smaller end as a thrower and was able to jump fairly high and run pretty fast. It just made sense. It just felt right.”
When Vuncannon arrived on at GCC, he joined the track team as a discus thrower. After a conversation with assistant coach Tomas Aguirre, he decided to become a decathlete.
“Since he came to Glendale, he wanted to do decathlon, Aguirre said. “However, he had only done the discus in high school, which is [only] one of the events in the decathlon. I asked him if he was sure whether or not he wanted to do this, and he assured me that he did. We’ve worked hard since that day.”
Decathlon events require hard work and a strong work ethic. That’s one of the things that the coaches, as well as the players, rave about — Vuncannon’s work ethic.
“Quaid works out about four hours a day,” said Glendale sprinter Raymond Ou. “He’s the first one to show up to the field, and the last one to leave. After he’s done working out here, he goes to his old high school and he works out some more.”
Coach Eddie Lopez said that Vuncannon improved tremendously since his freshman year.
“He’s improved 1,000 points from last year,” said Lopez. “He also has the opportunity to become an All-American.”
Vuncannon finished sixth in the Southern California Regional tournament and will be competing in the state meet on Friday and Saturday. This is something that he has been dreaming about since he came to Glendale.
“State had always been his goal,” said Aguirre. “He had missed it his freshman year, but that only made him work harder. The great thing about him is that when he came in, we didn’t have to motivate him. He had already had that passion. Which made him that much easier to coach.”
With this being Vancannon’s final year as a Vaquero, he has put a lot of thought into where he would like to go to continue his track career. However, he said that all he’s focused about right now is the state conference.
“I’ve been in communication with a few Division I colleges and am excited to move on to the next level,” said Vuncannon. “However, I plan on making my decision once I’m done with state.”
Many of his teammates have said that they will miss their captain once he leaves. Sprinter Jonathan Smith said that the team will definitely take what he taught them into next year.
“We really looked up to him. He has taught us how to stay positive,” said Smith. “He was a guy that led by his actions. More than anything, he’s taught us how to take constructive criticism.”
Though the Vaqueros will lose an outstanding leader, Lopez has a different way of thinking about losing his captain.
“It’s been great to have an athlete like him because you don’t find too many like him,” Lopez said, “but I don’t feel sad that he’s leaving. I feel more accomplished. He’s going to the next level like he wanted and I’m just glad that we were able to be a part of this ride.”