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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | JUNIOR COLLEGE CROSS-COUNTRY

Glendale Is Targeting San Diego Mesa

November 18, 2000|JOHN ORTEGA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Glendale College will not win its third men's title in six years in the state cross-country championships at Woodward Park in Fresno today if San Diego Mesa runs as well as it did in the Southern California championships two weeks ago.

Glendale Coach Eddie Lopez admitted that after Mesa defeated the runner-up Vaqueros, 34-94, at Del Mar Racetrack on Nov. 4.

Mesa had three of the top four finishers and five of the top 17 while running in front of a vocal crowd that included track coach Arnie Robinson, who watched the four-mile race from a wheelchair. He is recovering from a near-fatal automobile accident earlier this year.

"They had everything going for them that day," Lopez said. "They were running on their home course and they were running in front of Arnie Robinson. They were inspired and I think it showed in their performance. We're going to be on a neutral course this week and I think that will make a difference."

Glendale, third in last year's state final, had an impressive 26-second gap between its Nos. 1 and 5 runners in the Southern California meet. But Ruben Ruiz, the Vaqueros' top runner in 15th place, was two spots behind Blake Swier, Mesa's No 4 runner.

"We have to break up their top three guys," Lopez said. "We can't let them get away from us like we did last time. We let them get away at the beginning and we couldn't run them down."

Ryan Moorcroft was first, Sean Ricketts ran third and Mohamed Aden finished fourth for Mesa in the Southern California championships, but Lopez figures Glendale can break them up by keying on Brian Spangenberg of College of the Canyons.

Spangenberg, a 36-year old sophomore, was 10th in the Southern California meet and Lopez expects him to contend for a top-10 finish today.

"If he runs well and we have five guys around him, we should be up there," Lopez said.

Daniel Cobian of Antelope Valley could be among the lead pack after a case of bronchitis relegated him to a 63rd-place finish in the Southern California meet.

"He's back to 100%," Coach Mark Covert of Antelope Valley said. "I'm hoping for somewhere in the top 10."

Freshman Jody Hay of Moorpark, who didn't run cross-country or track while attending Camarillo High, will renew her rivalry with Heather Shurtleff of Orange Coast and Jennifer Bell of Mt. San Antonio College in the women's race.

Shurtleff won the Southern California title after breaking away from second-place Hay and third-place Bell with about a kilometer left in the 5,000-meter race.

Bell defeated Hay and Shurtleff to win the Mesa Invitational at Del Mar on Sept. 30 and she beat Hay for the Mt. SAC Invitational title on Oct. 13.

Mt. SAC is favored to win the women's team title with a Kim Lorimer-led Glendale team and Moorpark looking for top-10 finishes.

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