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Rosas runs for more than herself

Glendale Community College's top distance runner came back to help cross-country team capture ultimate goal

October 16, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com
  • Karen Rosas is focused on leading the Glendale Community College women's cross-country to a state title.
Karen Rosas is focused on leading the Glendale Community… (Cheryl A. Guerrero,…)

When her 2010 sophomore track and field season with Glendale Community College ended with a grand double-championship curtain call on the state-meet stage, Karen Rosas could have jogged off into the sunset this summer having scripted the perfect epilogue to her Vaquero career.

Already eligible to transfer to a four-year college, and with interest from several such institutions floating her way after winning the 5,000- and 10,000-meter events at the California Community College Athletic Assn. Track and Field Championships on May 20-21, Rosas seemingly didn't need to come back to GCC for one last cross-country season in the fall.

"I could have easily gone," says Rosas, who is strongly leaning toward continuing her college running career at Adams State in Southern Colorado after completing the fall semester at Glendale, "but, I think I feel more happy being here and being able to do this now.

"I said I think I want to be running with these girls [at Glendale]. …And, if we could be state champions, that would be awesome."

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So far, that dream is looking more and more like a distinct reality, as the Vaqueros have easily won their first five races of the season and are ranked No. 1 in the Southern California coaches' poll with Rosas leading the way.

"I'm really glad she ended up deciding to stay for another year because she knows the program here at Glendale, she's been through it before," Rosas' teammate Alyssa Selve says. "Even though she was [ready] to move on, it's really good to have someone that understands [Vaqueros track and cross-country] Coach [Eddie] Lopez' training and has been through it. She's been a real great leader in helping us, really motivating everyone to get that state title.

"She saw the pain that we went through last year when we missed it."

Rosas, who was Glendale college's third-best runner (seventh in 18 minutes 23 seconds) at the 2009 California Community College Cross Country Championships, redshirted as a result of ineligibility during the fall season of 2010. She likely would have contended for the top spot on a team that just missed defending its championship when it finished runner-up at state behind San Diego Southwestern.

"Even when I wasn't representing the team, they were still very supportive toward me," Rosas says. "I'm never going to forget that."

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