Tough and Talented Track Star


Nancy Villalobos

THE FASTEST: Cross Country Captain Vahagn Isayan is ranked No. 1 in Southern Caliornia going into the finals.

Currently ranked number one in Southern California for the 10K, Glendale Community College Cross Country Captain Vahagn Isayan, 20, has his eye on the prize for the upcoming finals meet May 20 and 21.

After placing ninth last year, Isayan is far better prepared for this year’s California Community College Athletic Association Track and Field Championships. “I am motivated more from my losses than my wins,” Isayan said. “Looking up at the podium last year and not being on it made me work that much harder this year.”

“GCC is a beautiful campus and the new track is like running on a cloud,” Isayan added. “It’s one of the best in the state.”

Isayan will transfer to Cal State San Marcos in the fall and has earned a full athletic scholarship. He attributes this to the coaching he’s received from GCC coaching staff. “Coach Lopez’s training and my hunger proved to be a perfect combination,” Isayan said. “I ran in high school at Verdugo Hills but wasn’t able to go far, but Coach Rodriguez saw something in me and recruited me. All the coaches at GCC inspire me, they know how to push me to get me to give my best.”

Coach Ed Lopez said he appreciates the time and energy Isayan puts into his training. “Running 25 laps isn’t easy,” Lopez said “He has a tendency to tighten up when he runs. I always tell him, ‘train don’t strain’ and remind him keep his breathing smooth. We also just found out he was named co-athlete of the year at GCC which is exciting.”

His teammates find him to be a class act to work with and often travel to cheer him on even if they are not competing. “He’s a great team captain,” teammate Michael Jirard said. “He’s supportive and encouraging. He keeps everyone in check and makes workouts fun and entertaining with great conversation. We’re friends off the track as well, he’s a great person and does the team lots of good.”

Isayan says he’ll miss his teammates the most when he leaves and plans to visit when he can. While walking through the gym he said he loves the smell and the environment. Everyone is so close, they all consider one another to be family.
Majoring in social work, Isayan plans to work with children after graduation, and says his dream would be to represent the USA in the Olympics.

“I push myself harder than anyone else. I run every day,” Isayan said. “I meet some of the nicest people during my runs, it’s a great sport. Runners are a unique group that feel each other’s pain.”