On March 11, 1974, the Glendale College men's track team won a dual meet against Allan Hancock College. On March 13, 1987, Glendale won another dual, against Bakersfield and Ventura.
Between those meets, the Vaqueros won 110 others without a loss. That's 13 years and 112 straight dual victories, second longest streak in the nation. Only San Jose City College, with 114 consecutive triumphs, surpasses Glendale.
While Glendale has won the state championship just twice (in 1959 and 1975), it has won 12 straight conference titles. The first eight were in the Western State Conference, the last four in the Inland Valley Conference. Glendale is now back in the WSC.
It is hard to believe that in 13 years not one team has beaten Glendale in a regular-season meet. Bakersfield, one of the few teams given a chance to end the Vaqueros' streak, was blown away in last week's meet. Glendale piled up 115 points, Bakersfield 51 and Ventura 14.
"With the rich tradition we have, we just keep getting better and better athletes to keep it going," said Tom McMurray, Glendale's coach. "We have 45 athletes who are dedicated to the program, dedicated to their academic careers. We have six guys on the honor society. This gives our program great credibility.
"Athletes are your best recruiters. And, if you get good results, you'll have better support."
Glendale is loaded with talent. Leading the way are Rodney Bradshaw in running events and Scott Schain in field competition.
Bradshaw, a freshman transfer from Cal State Los Angeles, was state champion in the 330-meter intermediate hurdles at Saugus High. He has the state's second-best community college time in the 110-meter high hurdles (14.3 seconds).
Schain's 54-foot, 6-inch throw in the shot put gives him the state's second-best mark. A freshman from Granada Hills, Schain carries a 3.6 grade-point average in business while competing in all the field events.
While Bradshaw and Schain are the stars, Glendale has an all-star lineup consisting of:
- Luis Valdez, the most valuable player on the team last season as a freshman. He was conference champion at 800 meters (1:50.3) and in the mile relay.
- Chris Hale, an All-American fullback on the football team. Hale has run a 10.5 in the 100-meter dash.
- Joe Rice, the most valuable sprinter from last season. Rice has a 10.57 clocking in the 100 dash this season.
- Judd Goodrich, another freshman from Saugus and the javelin winner at the Santa Monica Relays two weeks ago. He threw it 203 feet, 6 inches.
- Billy Benn, a sophomore who finished second in the IVC last year in the 100-meter dash.
- Sean Garcia, the IVC champion in the 110 high hurdles and 400 intermediate hurdles. Garcia led a Glendale sweep of the 400-IH against Bakersfield and Ventura, clocking 55.9 seconds.
- Tony Hernandez, a cross-country All-American and the team's top distance man.
This talent comes from all over the Los Angeles area. The school used to be limited to recruiting from just three area high schools: Crescenta Valley, Glendale and Hoover. But an interdistrict agreement with Los Angeles schools allows anyone to come to Glendale. Forty percent of Glendale's students are from the Los Angeles school district.
"People ask me if we're so good during the regular season why don't we win the state championship every year?" McMurray said. "It's because we don't do any out-of-state recruiting. I want to stay with the talent in Southern California."
Southern California is where the good athletes can be found. Taft, Long Beach and Glendale are considered the best, while San Jose and Bakersfield rule the northern part of the state.
There has been talk of a dual meet between San Jose and Glendale, but McMurray said the meet will probably never come off. Scheduling and funding are two major reasons, but the fact that one of the streaks would end is probably the real obstacle.
"Let's just say we're the dual meet champs of the south and they're the dual meet champs of the north," McMurray said.
Glendale beat San Jose by six points in the 1985 state meet.
The last time Bakersfield came to Glendale, in 1980, was the last time the streak was in danger. With the Glendale number at 60 straight victories, Bakersfield held a 15-point lead before the Vaqueros rallied and won by five points.
As Glendale continues to reel off wins, the streak becomes more incredible. Bradshaw told McMurray when he was being recruited, "You've won that many in a row? You're joking, right?"
But it's no joke.