Two of a Kind

Two+of+a+Kind

Rico Gutierrez

Alex Leon, Contributing Writer

The strategy was simple for the Glendale College Men’s and Women’s cross country teams this season. The pack would fill in tight behind Raymond Lopez for the men’s team and Angie Salas for the women’s team and the rest would take care of itself.

In ten cross country meets, from the end of August until the state meet in Fresno on November 18, Lopez and Salas were amazingly consistent and incredibly durable. They were the top finishers for their respective teams in each race, coming out on top in several meets in oppressive heat, annoying winds and cool temperatures as the season came to a close.

The pressure to be the team leaders for the Glendale College cross country program was understandable as the Vaqueros have run their way to becoming one of the top programs in the state year after year under head coach Eddie Lopez and his staff.

It was particularly daunting for the women’s team this year as they were two-time defending state champions in 2015 and in 2016, when Salas was a freshman as well as winning its 13-straight Western State Conference team title. In all, the women’s team has won eight state championships since 1977 and the men five since 1974.

“Raymond and Angie did a tremendous job of representing the team and themselves this year,” said head cross country coach Eddie Lopez. “They were very consistent and as captains they were great role models who led by example. I fully expect them to have great track seasons in the spring and to options on what four-year schools they want to attend when the time comes next year.’’

While a fifth-place finish in state for the women and a sixth-place finish this year for the men would look a bit unfamiliar, it was still a very successful season as the Glendale men and women both won Western State Conference Championships, and Lopez and Salas were named Western State Conference Athletes of the Year.

The road to success in cross country is littered with hundreds of miles run, countless ice bags to sooth sore muscles and endless van rides taking team members to meets all over the state. It takes a team of coaches, trainers and others for the runners in order to run the best they can over three- and four-mile races and then start the preparation all over again.

But nobody did it better for the Vaqueros in 2017 than Lopez and Salas. In ten meets this year, Lopez took first place six times including four meets in a row in September, including a second-place finish at the Mark Covert Classic in a race that was almost five miles and included several four-year schools. He was so dominant that he was named California Community College Athletic Association Athlete of the month for September.

Salas, for her part, took first place three times this season and practically willed a young squad to being ranked among the top teams in Southern California and the state while helping the team to several impressive wins including the Southern California Preview Meet and the UCR Invitational against Division I schools. All of this was accomplished with opponents constantly looking to knock her and her team off course as defending WSC and state champions.

With the cross country season in their rearview mirror for sophomores Lopez and Salas and track season looming in the spring, the new names on the landscape will be freshmen Antonio Arroyo, Akol Malong and Carlos Rivera who scored for the men in the state meet and Jennifer Cazarez and Genesis Siam-Alvarez for the women, among others.

But in one final mention of Raymond Lopez and Angie Salas, who earned All-American honors at the state meet with second- and fourth-place finishes along with sophomore Phillip Thomas who was seventh, they wore their uniforms proudly and carried on the tradition well.

And they did it as two of a kind.

2017 Meet Results

 

State Championships – 11/18/17

Angie Salas – 4th Place finish with time of 18:31

Raymond Lopez – 2nd Place finish with time of 20:06

GCC Women –  5th Place

GCC Men – 6th Place

SoCal Championships – 11/3/17

Angie Salas – 10th Place finish with time of 19:39

Raymond Lopez – 3rd Place finish with time of 21:10

GCC Women – 4th Place

GCC Men – 5th Place

WSC Championships – 10/20/17

Angie Salas – 3rd Place finish with time of 18:33

Raymond Lopez – 1st Place finish with time of 20:08

GCC Women – 1st Place

GCC Men – 1st Place

UCR Highlander Invitational – 10/14/17

Angie Salas – 43rd place finish with time of 18:32

Raymond Lopez – 6th Place finish with time of 18:02 (6k)

GCC Women – 1st Place in Non D1 Scoring

GCC Men – 1st Place in Non D1 Scoring

Golden West Invitational – 09/22/17

Angie Salas – 1st Place finish with time of 18:58

Raymond Lopez – 1st Place finish with time of 21:48

GCC Women – 3rd Place

GCC Men – 2nd Place

WSC Preview – 09/29/17

Angie Salas – 1st Place finish with time of 19:09

Raymond Lopez – 1st Place finish with time of 21:01

GCC Women – 2nd Place

GCC Men – 1st Place

Fresno Invitational – 09/9/17

Angie Salas – 2nd Place finish with time of 18:28

Raymond Lopez – 1st Place finish with time of 20:27

GCC Women – 5th Place

GCC Men – 2nd Place

SoCal Preview – 09/15/17

Angie Salas – 1st Place finish with time of 18:50

Raymond Lopez – 1st Place finish with time of 21:00

GCC Women – 1st Place

GCC Men – 2nd Place

Mark Covert Classic – 09/2/17

Angie Salas – 10th Place finish with time of 18:52

Raymond Lopez – 2nd Place finish with time of 25:16 (8k)

GCC Women – 6th Place in Non D1 Scoring

GCC Men – 4th Place in Non D1 Scoring

Oxnard Invitational – 08/25/17

Angie Salas – 2nd Place finish with time of 18:42

Raymond Lopez – 1st Place finish with time of 19:57

GCC Women – 2nd Place

GCC Men – 1st Place