Team on Track to Win

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Glendale College is not known for its sports teams, but one of the sports that stands out is the men and women’s track and fields team, which are on there way to the Conference Championship to try to bring the gold back to GCC.

Besides capturing numerous championships in the past, the GCC track and field program has consistently developed top community college runners, jumpers and throwers. Countless men and women athletes have used the program to enhance their skills and to attain opportunities at the four-year level.

Coach Tom McMurray’s hard work has helped to earn GCC the title of conference champions in the past years, and he is now getting the team prepared to bring the championship back to GCC.

Coach Eddie Lopez is also the coach of the cross-country team for GCC, of which the men’s team has won 13 of the last 16 Western State Conference Cross Country Championships (six in a row), and the state championship in 1995 and 1998. The women’s team has won the WSC championship in 1997, 1998 and 2000.

These two coaches round out the top two positions in the state’s track and field program. Their experience and knowledge provides GCC track and field athletes with the very best opportunities for development and success mentioned in the GCC Web site

Many Glendale College track and field athletics have transferred to universities and continued to participate in the track and field programs offered by the schools. Some might argue, but it looks like the Glendale track and field team is the best fit and strongest team at GCC.

“I have seen a lot of improvement from day one and continue to do so,” said coach McMurray. “Both the men’s and women’s team have the skills and heart it takes to be good athletes. GCC looks to be in the best shape they have been all year long. All the long and trying practices have paid off and the team looks very confident that they are going to go all the way in most of the competitions.”

There have been a lot of individual efforts on this team that have helped the team a lot in many ways, such as that of Humberto Espino, who runs for the men.

He took first in a heat of the 800-meter (in a personal best time of 1:59.19) after finishing second in the 3000-meter steeplechase (in a personal best time of 9:42.90). In the Meet of Champions on April 10 at Azusa Pacfic Pat O’Neil, another top men’s team contender, finished second behind Espino in the 800-meter (in a personal best time of 1:59.77) and third in the 3000-meter steeplechase (in a personal best time of 9:43.06) also at Azusa Pacific.

“Espino and O’Neil have done an awesome job all year long,” said McMurray. “They are the top runners in the conference and will be looked upon to do well at the conference championship.” The Western Conference Championship will be held on Saturday at College of the Canyons.

“Even though we aren’t getting a lot of runners to participate at the conference championship, I think that we will do very well in most of the events,” said McMurray, “I’m pretty sure that we will have some individuals getting championships and participating in the state championships, and as a team I think we will be in the top three.”
The men’s team will have the following runners participate in the Conference Championship: Aaron Floyd, long jump; Cory Lenaris, 100-meter; Tray Jones, 200-meter; Jonathan Rozelle, 400-meter, Argishti and Osbaldo Varges, 800-meter; Raymundo Vazques, 1,500-meter; Espino and O’Neil, 3,000-meter steeple; and Chris Snyder, Espino, Vazquez, Demsey Mazaciegos and Aren Tomanian, 5,000-meter.

“We are really looking forward to the 1600-meter relay at the conference,” said McMurray, which will include Jones, Rozelle, Vazques and Beglaryan. “This 1600m team has the record time in the conference this year.”

The women’s team will have the following runners in the conference championships: Vanessa Brooks, 400-meter; Sandra Prado and Sayan Behghan, 3,000-meter steeple; and Itzel Vargas, Prado, Julia Flores, and Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, 5000-meter.

The team’s two-hour a day, five-day a week practices will prove successful if all the hard work pays off Saturday at the College of Canyons; the top five runners in each of the competitions will go on to the So Cal Finals, which will be held on May 8 at Bakersfield College.