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GCC dominates WSC

Cross-Country: Martinez wins individual title, leads women to another conference crown, as men repeat, too.

October 27, 2010|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

LA CRESCENTA — Aside from a course snafu in the men's race, things went down as planned and in dominant fashion for Coach Eddie Lopez' Glendale Community College cross-country contingent.

Behind the surprising emergence of Western State Conference individual champion Angie Martinez, the GCC women obliterated their competition en route to a sixth straight conference title with 22 points to second-place Moorpark's 72 on Tuesday afternoon at Crescenta Valley Park.

And in the second race of the day, led by the second- and third-place punch of Ricky Avila and Rico Gutierrez, the Vaqueros repeated as WSC champs, winning an eye-popping 11th title in the last 14 seasons with 39 points to second-place Cuesta's 59.

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"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."

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