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Rosas races to top spot

Cross-Country: Glendale Community College women's team finishes first in Southern California Championships

men place fourth.

November 04, 2011|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

A wet course and a light drizzle weren’t exactly the ideal elements to race in for Karen Rosas. Then again, it proved quite easy in comparison considering the standout Glendale Community College women’s cross-country runner had earlier battled food poisoning.

With rain drops falling on Rosas, she managed to pull away from the pack and finish first at the Southern California Championships at Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park in Ontario on Friday afternoon, just as her team did.

“It started to drizzle just before the race began and the course was wet, but not too muddy,” said Rosas, who clocked 17 minutes 54.6 seconds on the 3.2-mile course to help the Vaqueros grab the team title for the sixth time in the last seven years. “I had to take off fast because I figured everybody would be so close to each other.

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“My stride got a little bigger toward the end and I had faith in myself that I could win.”

Glendale’s men’s team placed fourth with 157 points after taking sixth at last season’s race. The Vaqueros’ top finisher was Mizrael Mendez, who turned in a mark of 20:37.2 to place eighth on the 4.1-mile course.

Both teams will next participate in the California Community College Cross Country Championships, which will be held Nov. 19 at Woodward Park in Fresno.

Rosas suffered a case of food poisoning Wednesday night and was too ill to practice Thursday afternoon. However, Rosas, who won state championships in track and field in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter events in June, said she began to feel better Thursday night and had enough stamina to take the field.

Glendale easily won the meet with 27 points, followed by Orange Coast Community College (100) and L.A. Trade Tech (101).

The Vaqueros had four top-10 finishes, including Alyssa Selve (second, 18:00.6). Angela Martinez (third, 18:01.6) and Grace Graham-Zamudio (ninth, 18:25.8). Glendale, which finished second behind San Diego Southwestern College at last season’s event near San Diego, also got a 12th-place performance from Nohemi Martinez (18:37.2).

“There was a lot of great competition and to come in here and get 27 points is amazing,” said Rosas, who won the Western State Conference crown Oct. 25. “It’s great to get it back, and that kind of a gap tells us we are ready for state.”

Also finishing for the Vaqueros were Laura Pluemer (14th, 18:39.6) and Cecilia Nicolas (21st, 18:52.9).

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