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Proven winner looks to go out on top at state

GCC's Brianna Jauregui enters today's state championship race in unfamiliar position of not being on favored team

November 20, 2010|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • Glendale College Cross Country runners, from left, Brianna Jauregui, Angelina Martinez and Vivian Ochoa.
Glendale College Cross Country runners, from left, Brianna… (Raul Roa, Glendale…)

During her days as a Saugus High Centurion, winning became second nature for Brianna Jauregui.

And not much has changed during her decorated two-year tenure with the Glendale Community College program.

"We go places and I hear people saying that's the girl from Saugus," Glendale college Coach Eddie Lopez says. "She doesn't realize that everywhere we go, people recognize who she is from what she's done [at Saugus] and what she's done at Glendale.

"She knows what it takes to win, so the girls look up to her."

Thus, when Jauregui sets foot upon the familiar course of Woodward Park in Fresno today at 10 a.m., she will do so looking to accomplish the rare feat of winning a fifth consecutive state title.

During her standout career at Saugus, Jauregui was part of a Centurions squad that won three straight Foothill League titles, three straight CIF Southern Section Division II titles and three straight CIF-State Division II crowns. Upon her arrival at Glendale in 2009, the Lady Vaqueros continued their dominance of the Western State Conference, followed with another in a string of Southern California championships and capped it off with a California Community College Cross-Country Championship in a junior college-course record time of 92 minutes 18 seconds.

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But while GCC dominated last season, it enters this morning's race as an underdog with favored Southwestern having won the Southern California championship.

"[I am] really used to winning," says Jauregui, one of two GCC runners to return from last season's state-winning top five. "Our main goal is to win that state championship. If we lose, it's gonna be a different experience."

Thus, Jauregui finds herself on the unfamiliar ground of entering a state-title race with doubt in her mind. Yet, she was quick to point out after this season's second-place finish at SoCal that, while all her teammates were severely disappointed, the year's biggest race was still to come and whether the Vaqueros are underdogs or not, Jauregui's never been one to let a run get away from her without a fight.

"She's extremely competitive," says GCC teammate Keri Molt, who ran on the same three Saugus state-titlist squads as Jauregui."Very, very competitive. She's competitive in practice. She's one of the strongest competitors I've known."

Despite her present competitive nature, Jauregui — the Vaqueros' top finisher at the SoCal championships — didn't like running all that much when she first started in middle school.

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