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Glendale Community College track and field has high aspirations for 2014

Track and Field: Vaqueros look for trophies at state, strong run in Western State conference action.

February 14, 2014|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • Glendale Community College runners on the track and field team stretch before a practice at the college in Glendale on Monday, February 10, 2014.
Glendale Community College runners on the track and field… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

GLENDALE — When asked his expectations for the 2014 men’s and women’s track and field season, Eddie Lopez, Glendale Community College’s 27-year coach, paused ever so briefly before racing to give an answer.

“We’re trying to get a trophy,” Lopez said. “Over the years, we’ve been close, especially with the women’s side at state. We’ve been fifth or sixth, maybe fourth, but we’ve not been higher, we’ve just missed a top-three finish. So, that’s our goal this year.”

In terms of numbers, the Vaqueros women’s team is on the smaller side with about 22 athletes before Friday’s season-opening meet at Bakersfield College.

The Vaqueros also suffered a big loss in the graduation of all-everything distance runner Grace Zamudio, who’s currently at Loyola Marymount.

Zamudio was the first person in California Community College Athletic Assn. history to win the distance trifecta, which is to capture state titles in the 10,000-meter race (37 minutes, 22.19 seconds), the 5,000 (17:41.04) and the 1,500 (4:36.13) at the state finals at College of San Mateo on May 17 and 18.

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Overall, Zamudio tallied 30 of her team’s 41 points as Glendale finished sixth in state.

In taking their first step toward a trophy, not only does Lopez and crew have to find a replacement or replacements for Zamudio’s scoring, but the squad also needs to take back the Western State Conference crown.

Last season, Glendale tied with Ventura for second with 111 points, behind champion West Los Angeles (167 points) at the conference finals at Moorpark College on April 26.

“The conference title is probably going to come down to West Los Angeles and us,” Lopez said. “We’re strong in the distance and weights, but aren’t that strong in the sprints or jumps. I just don’t know if we have enough numbers for conference.”

Perhaps Lopez is highest on sophomore runners Lizette Gonzalez and Lizzy Nelson.

Gonzalez sprained her foot midway through last season and missed the postseason entirely, a setback that she’s used to propel her forward into 2014.

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