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GCC cross-country runs to two second-place finishes at state

November 17, 2012|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

Just 20 seconds separated Glendale Community College’s Kurt Lutz and teammate Mario Castillo on Saturday.

Therein lied the largest factor in the Vaqueros men’s cross-country team running to one of its finest finishes at the California Community College Athletic Assn. Championships in recent memory.

Behind a stifling pack led by Lutz and concluded by Castillo, the Vaqueros turned in a second-place finish at Fresno’s Woodward Park, tallying 96 points to first-place American River’s 84 and far in front of third-place Orange Coast, which finished with 158 points.

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“We’re very happy, we’re about as happy as we’ve ever been after a race,” said Lutz, who took 12th in the four-mile race in 20 minutes 36 seconds. “I don’t think I’ve ever been in a race like that where everyone had a really good race. We talked about it before the race that everybody had to run their best race and it happened.

“Everything really did come together.”

On the women’s side, GCC also claimed a second-place finish, led by a sixth-place mark from Grace Zamudio, as Orange Coast tallied 79 points to Glendale’s 100.

“Both teams ran well, they ran very well,” said Vaqueros Coach Eddie Lopez, whose women’s team finished third or better at state for the eighth straight season. “That’s a great streak. We’re proud of that.”

Zamudio was undefeated against junior college competition coming into Saturday and had won eight consecutive races, including championship runs in the Western State Conference and Southern California championships. She was unable to win a ninth straight, though, finishing sixth in 18 minutes 33 seconds in a race won by De Anza’s Katie Castro in 17:45.

“She can run faster than that, that’s obvious. There was a lot of pressure on her to win,” said Lopez of Zamudio, who was looking to give GCC back-to-back individual titlists after Karen Rosas led the Vaqueros to a team title with her individual win last season. “She had a great season. She led us to second place. There’s nothing wrong with that, she’s an All-American.

“I think sometimes you get a little too nervous. ... It just wasn’t her day today. She had a great season, we’re proud of her.”

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