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GCC striving for state repeat

Revamped women's team begins its quest to win third state championship in four seasons.

September 03, 2010|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • The Glendale Community College women's cross-country team looks to repeat as state champion.
The Glendale Community College women's cross-country… (Tim Berger/Glendale…)

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Leading into her sophomore season at Glendale Community College, Brianna Jauregui was a bit apprehensive about the Lady Vaqueros' chance at repeating as California Community College Cross-Country champions.

After a decorated career at Saugus High filled with CIF Southern Section Division and CIF-State titles, Jauregui certainly has a storied pedigree to fall back upon when weighing the prospects.

With only two runners returning from last season's top five, departures, such as that of reigning state individual champion Nina Moore, loomed large. But over the summer, the admitted doubt Jauregui had transposed into promise.

"At first, I [thought] it's gonna be a lot more challenging," said Jaureugui, who was the Vaqueros' No. 5 runner at state last season, but was largely their No. 2 finisher throughout the season. "Over the summer, though, things changed. … I really do think our girls are talented, I really do think we'll be able to get that state championship if our girls work hard and really want it."

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And repeating as state champions is most assuredly the goal at Glendale Community College.

"We have the potential," said sophomore captain Vivian Ochoa, one of last season's top-five runners. "The team is similar to last year's team, but we have a lot of new runners. I think we can do it again."

Still, there are plenty of questions surrounding a team that won state last season, but is ranked just sixth in California by Go College Track.com entering the first meet of the season on Saturday at the Fullerton Invitational.

Coach Eddie Lopez, whose team looks to win its third state title in four seasons, its fifth straight Southern California championship and sixth consecutive Western State Conference crown, believes his team is likely to progress throughout the season. Hence, a slow start is a possibility, but should his team peak at the end of the season, it would work out perfectly.

"We're younger this year, but we still have some talent," Lopez said. "We have the potential to be as good as we were last year, but it's probably gonna happen more at the end — which is what you want anyway."

With Moore's departure comes the glaring vacancy of a No. 1 runner. In 2007, when GCC won state, they had Katie Dunn, who was also a threat to take the individual crown, and before that was Tove Berg, who brought home individual glory, as well. This year, that's likely to change in more ways than one.

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