GLENDALE — Seeking its second consecutive California Community College championship, the Glendale Community College women's cross-country team appears to be on track and on course after its performance on Friday afternoon.
But according to Coach Eddie Lopez, there's a little more to it than just the results.
Led by the ever-improving Angie Gonzalez, the Lady Vaqueros were victorious at the Santa Barbara Invitational, tallying 36 points in the women's 5,000 meters to second-place Orange Coast College's 49 and Trade Tech's 83.
"We won, but we didn't run well," said Lopez, whose men's squad finished fourth (84 points) in a four-mile race, led by Rico Gutierrez' second-place mark of 21 minutes 54.28 seconds.
Martinez, a Burroughs High graduate, took second in 20:45.09 seconds and was one of three freshmen in the scoring five for the women's team.
"Our freshmen ran well, but our sophomores didn't run what they can," Lopez said. "Right now, physically we're there, but our leadership, with our sophomores, they have to get tougher."
The women's race was won by Orange Coast's Sara Toberty (20:28.58), with Gonzalez moving up from the fourth spot in the final mile to take second. Freshman Alyssa Selve took sixth overall in 21:00.96 and sophomore Diana Sanchez was ninth in 21:06.65. Sophomore Brianna Jauregui finished 11th in 21:11.58, while freshman Cecilia Nicolas came in 12th at 21:13.44 to seal a close come-from-behind win.
"It was close," Lopez said. "They were ahead of us at two miles."
The men's race was won by San Bernadino Valley with 42 points, followed by Orange Coast (60) and Trade Tech (80).
"Their effort was their," said Lopez of his Vaqueros. "We're squeezing everything we've got out of these guys."
Gutierrez came in behind a dominant run by Fresno City College's Germay Tesfai, who won in 21:48.33.
GCC's Ricky Avila also impressed with a fourth-place mark of 21:59.29.
"We know we have the frontrunners," Lopez said of his 1-2 punch. "They're running with the best guys in state."
Michel Noris (30th, 23:04.87), Nicholas Marquez (23:07.79) and Miguel Flores (35th, 21:13.10) rounded out the men's scoring five.
Going forward, key dates on the Glendale cross-country calendar include Oct. 26's Western State Conference championships at Crescenta Valley Park, Nov. 6's Southern California Championships in San Diego and a hopeful return trip to the state championships in Fresno on Nov. 20.
"It's all business now," said Lopez of his team's final three races — easily the most important contests of the year.
Hoping to see a bit more from his women's team as it looks to repeat, Lopez wants them well-aware of what lies ahead.
"This is back-to-back, so it's tougher," Lopez said. "It's a challenge — they have to be up for it."