"We ran our best race [of the season], the women, but the guys were right there, too," Lopez said. "We're peaking at the right time."
And Martinez is leading the way in a borderline astonishing story as she admits at the beginning of the season Lopez had thoughts about kicking her off the team and she had thoughts about quitting. For the better of both, the Burroughs High graduate is currently exceeding all expectations.
"I'm actually still surprised and still amazed," said Martinez, who won the women's 5,000 meters in 19 minutes 23.06 seconds. "[Winning conference] never crossed my mind [at the beginning of the season].
"I'm just amazed, I'm still in shock. I'm also very grateful and thankful this has happened."
GCC's women excelled to the tune of five runners in the top seven and seven in the top 10.
On the men's side in the four-mile race, Avila took second in 20:22.64 with Gutierrez finishing third in 20:27.18. Both finished behind winner Charlie Petrie (20:18.11) of Moorpark.
But the Vaqueros took a different path to the finish than Petrie, who followed the bicycle rider leading the way on the trail. Avila, however, insists Petrie and the rider went down the wrong course, which was a flatter stretch compared to the "right way" which was more of an incline.
"I told Rico during the race, I think he's going the wrong way," said Avila, who added that there was actually a brief pause with the three top runners before resuming the race and going their separate ways. "We know our course.
"It's not [Petrie's] fault. He won the race, he was smooth. He's really good. He looked smooth all race and I was surprised by him.
"It's disappointing for Rico, too. Him and I had been battling all season long. … We were there [up front] and then craziness happens."