Rosas rises up to win second state crown

Track and field: Glendale Community College sophomore wins 5K title one day after capturing 10K state championship.

May 22, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk,

GLENDALE — After pouring her all into winning a state title in the 10,000-meter race on Friday night, Glendale Community College distance runner Karen Rosas admitted she didn't know if she had enough left to vie for a second state crown in the 5,000 Saturday night at the second and final day of the California Community College Athletic Assn. Track and Field Championships at American River College in Sacramento.

Turns out the sophomore did have just enough left in the tank to prevail down the stretch of a literally rough and tumble race for the 5,000 crown, becoming the first Vaqueros athlete to win two titles at the state meet since Tove Berg doubled in the 10,000 and 5,000 in 2007.

"It feels great," said Rosas, who won the 5,000 in 17 minutes 37.67 seconds. "I had faith, but after [Friday] I was very sore, especially my back. It was so much pain I didn't know if I was going to be able to keep up."


Rosas spent most of the race keeping up with Sara Toberty of Orange Coast College, who took the lead following the first lap.

"She had the lead for a long time," said Rosas, who was runner up in the 10,000 and 5,000 at state last year. "At the first lap, no one wanted to take the lead. I thought, 'This all about being tactical, I've got to let someone get in front of me and let someone break the wind for me.'

"I knew she wanted to break me because she kept on speeding up and speeding up, she's so strong, too. I had a plan down, but the way I was feeling, I didn't think I was going to achieve it."

That's how the race went until Toberty and Rosas got tangled up with each other and lost their footing with about a mile to go.

Rosas got to her feet first and, after suppressing an ill-timed flash of altruism, was on her way to the finish line.

"All of a sudden, as we're racing, she trips on herself and I'm right behind her and I also stumble," Rosas said. "I got up faster than she did, she kind of rolled over. At that moment, I didn't think of the meet, I was thinking, how do I [help] her up. Than all of a sudden I turned my head to the clock and said, 'Karen, you're racing.'"

Rosas ended up beating Toberty by nearly 21 seconds.

"It's a tribute to her," Glendale Coach Eddie Lopez said. "Taking second last year in the 10K and 5K and then waiting one year to come back and do it again, that's a lot of pressure, but she handled it really well. She just ran smart and she was strong. It's a tribute to Karen and to our tradition that we have."

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