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Vaqueros cross-country teams take conference crowns

Cross-country: Glendale Community College women¿s, men¿s teams second to none in WSC championship meet.

October 23, 2012|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

SANTA BARBARA — From the start, Grace Zamudio left little doubt of her continued dominance.

For the Glendale Community College women’s cross-country team as a whole, however, it wasn’t until the end that its own continued dominance was safely in place.

On a windy Tuesday afternoon at Leadbetter Park in Santa Barbara, Zamudio continued her sensational sophomore season, winning the Western State Conference championship, while her teammates rallied over the final kilometer to ensure the GCC women their eighth straight conference title.

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“We got off to a slow start and it was tough to compensate,” said GCC’s Lizette Gonzalez, who was the second Vaquero across the finish line at fifth overall, four spots behind the victorious Zamudio, who shredded the field in a time of 19 minutes 54.28 seconds. “For the most part, we just hung on.”

GCC’s women placed six runners in the top 15 to edge Moorpark, 38-46, with Santa Barbara (88 points) taking third in the 5K race.

“They have the talent,” GCC Coach Eddie Lopez said, “but we have the heart.”

The Vaqueros’ men’s team was dominant in packing together for a fifth consecutive WSC crown, posting 24 points with six top-eight performances to second-place L.A. Valley’s 63 points with Cuesta (92) a distant third. Individually, though, GCC’s Isaac Diosdado had his title hopes dashed by an opportunistic Angel Alcantar of Valley, who came on down the stretch for a surprising win.

“He took advantage of the wind and drafted off me,” said Diosdado, who led for much of the race. “But he had a nice kick, too.”

Alcantar won in 22:22.97, with Diosdado taking second in 22:25.02. Cuesta’s Gordon Sturgess, arguably the favorite, was third in 22:40.95, just ahead of GCC’s Kurt Lutz (fourth, 22:43.90).

“The Valley guy ran really smart. When the wind died down, he came on and nobody could keep up,” Lutz said. “I would’ve liked to see me or Isaac win, … but overall we were happy.”

Lutz began a parade of Vaqueros across the four-mile finish line as the first of five straight GCC finishers. In succession, he was followed by Yeltsen Vasquez (fifth, 22:45.76), Ashton Malone (23:01.53), Mizrael Mendez (seventh, 23:02.82) and Vladimir Diaz (eighth, 23:04.58).

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