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Glendale Community College cross-country readies for final race

Cross-country: Vaqueros men, women prepare for Saturday's state final in Fresno.

November 21, 2013|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • GCC's men's cross-country team is looking for a bounce-back effort at Saturday's season-ending CCCAA State Cross-Country Championships at Fresno's Woodward Park. (Tim Berger/File Photo)
GCC's men's cross-country team is looking…

Days away from the culmination of a season-long effort, the Glendale Community College cross-country program was given a little preview of what to expect Saturday when the men’s and women’s teams participate in the 50th annual CCCAA Cross-Country State Championships.

An overcast sky and 63-degree weather at Wednesday afternoon’s practice on the campus track are projected by weather.com to closely resemble the same conditions as to what the Vaqueros will face at Fresno’s Woodward Park, site of the championships.

“There’s a slight chance of rain up north, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Basically what we have today is what we’re probably going to deal with Saturday,” Glendale Coach Eddie Lopez said. “This is great for us because it’s not going to be hot, but cool and fast and I think we’re ready.”

The women race first Saturday at 10 a.m. on the 3.1-mile course that is virtually identical to the path used for the high school championships. The men follow at 11 a.m. on the four-mile course.

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The Glendale women enter Saturday with a little more steam than their male counterparts as the Vaqueros ladies finished second at the Southern California Championships at Central Park in Santa Clarita on Nov. 8.

The Vaqueros finished with 140 points in trailing only Orange Coast College (58). The effort clinched Glendale’s ninth straight season in which the team has clinched a top-three finish.

“We’re going for it. Going for it means not going crazy, just run the way we’ve been practicing and move up,” Lopez said. “The ladies are peaking and we’re more healthy than we’ve been in a while, which is big. We have the capability to do real well.”

Perhaps the only health concern surrounds freshman Glindyll Mancia, who finished 34th at the Southern California Championships in a time of 20 minutes, 15.7 seconds. Mancia is nursing a hamstring injury.

“She should be OK. She’s going to run,” Lopez said.

Saturday marks the swan song of sophomore Elizabeth Nelson, Glendale’s top runner who finished fourth (18:59.96) at the Southern California Championships.

“It’s always fun and always nervous to run in an important race,” Nelson said. “I think we can really do well and I’d like to see us give Orange Coast College a good challenge.”

Nelson finished 11th (18:51.21) at last year’s finals.

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