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On the Beat Track and Field: The two year plan

Posted: May 2, 2014 10:46 p.m.
Updated: May 2, 2014 10:46 p.m.

It’s doubtful any athlete grows up wishing he/she could some day compete at a community college.

There’s a certain stigma attached to it.

But we continue to see examples locally of people who use two-year schools to springboard into successful college careers.

Two of the latest examples are Canyon High graduate Chris Low and Hart graduate Grace Graham-Zamudio.

Coming off a stellar career at College of the Canyons — back-to-back state championships in the 800 meters — Low has transitioned well into NCAA Division I competition at Long Beach State.

The same can be said for Graham-Zamudio, who spent two years at Glendale Community College and is now at Loyola Marymount University.

Both runners reached milestone marks at the Stanford Invitational in early April.

Low broke a 59-year-old Santa Clarita Valley record in the 800 with a winning time of 1 minute, 48.3 seconds on April 5 in Stanford. That bested Chuck Kirkby’s old SCV best of 1:49.06 set in 1955 and it also broke Long Beach State’s 31-year-old school record.

Graham-Zamudio — who won three state titles last year for Glendale — moved into second all-time in SCV history in the 5,000 meters with her mark of 16:26.08, good for third place at the Stanford Invite.

Graham-Zamudio is also coming off a cross country season at LMU where she finished with First-Team All-West Coast Conference honors.

Both athletes continue to put up impressive numbers as their teams prepare to head into the postseason later this month.

Let these two be examples of the fact that the community college level can be a springboard.

Perhaps Hart graduate Tim White could be the next budding track and field star to come out of COC.

Recently, the sophomore helped COC win its first men’s track and field conference title since 1970 when he won the high jump, triple jump and long jump.

Though White has admitted his dream is to play college football at a four-year school, he is also smart enough to realize his ticket to the next level might be in track and field.

Last year, White won the triple jump at the U.S. Junior Championships. He’ll likely try for a repeat this summer.

The Foothill League: Two big milestones were reached at Golden Valley High School on Thursday. First of all, the Golden Valley girls finished their league season a perfect 5-0 to win their second straight league title with a win over West Ranch.

At the same location, the West Ranch boys team beat Golden Valley to finish tied for second in league at 3-2. This is significant because it’s the first time the West Ranch boys have ever finished the league season with a winning record.

This all takes us to the individual league prelims on Tuesday with the finals to follow on Thursday at College of the Canyons.

There are plenty of juicy matchups. One big contest just gained even more anticipation due to a strange occurrence on Thursday.

Arguably the best two sprinters in the league, Canyon’s Cole Mears and Valencia’s Nick Jones, only ran side-by-side once all season long. And that happened Thursday at Valencia High School in the 200-meter dash.

The winner? It depends on who you ask.

Officially, it was ruled a tie after a photo finish.

Clearly, these two runners didn’t want anything to get settled until the main event Thursday at COC.

Without further ado, here are our updated team rankings:


1. Canyon

2. Saugus

3. West Ranch

4. Hart

5. Valencia

6. Golden Valley


1. Golden Valley

2. Saugus

3. West Ranch

4. Canyon

5. Valencia

6. Hart


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