This is the first of eight editions in which the News-Press looks back at the area's 2010-11 seasons, school by school, before looking ahead at the year to come.
Locally, regionally or at the state level, Glendale Community College enjoyed arguably its finest athletic year ever. From the fall season right through the spring session, plenty of dramatic stories unfolded with several individual athletes winning state championships and the baseball team making an unexpected playoff run that nearly led to a state championship after winning its first conference championship since 2002.
Tammy Panich highlighted the fall season with her ascent to becoming the state's best women's golfer.
Alex Sarkissian put together the finest season in the history of the Vaqueros men's tennis program and quite possibly the state. He was the first player from GCC to win the Ojai Valley Tournament community college singles title and he also captured the 2011 California Community College Athletic Assn. Southern California Regional and the state singles championships.
The women's cross-country team finished second in the state meet. The men's basketball team used a late surge to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2008. Thanks to a solid recruiting class, the men's golf program excelled throughout most of the season, which included placing second in conference and reaching the state championship for the first time in the program's history. To top it all off, Karen Rosas continued the individual glory with a tour de force at the state track and field championships.
The Vaqueros enjoyed a major renaissance in the spring, one that might not be forgotten for a long time.
Here is a recap of some of the Vaqueros' athletic highlights and events that unfolded during the past year:
Sept. 3, 2010 — The women's volleyball team picks up its first win of the season, defeating visiting Antelope Valley College, 25-15, 25-27, 20-25, 25-13, 15-12, in a nonconference match. Jessica Alvarez leads the Vaqueros with 20 kills and 11 digs and Roxy Domines has 51 assists.
Sept. 20, 2010 — The women's golf team places third on its home course of Oakmont Country Club in a Western State Conference match. The Vaqueros receive a seven-over-par 79 from Tammy Panich to lead the way
"I'm ecstatic with our scores," said Glendale first-year Coach Greg Osbourne, whose team finished with a 343 and finished two shots behind second-place Bakersfield. "How can you not give them the credit they deserve?
"We came close to taking second and beat an established Santa Barbara team that won state a couple of years ago. A lot of hard work went into their scores."
Panich finishes with one birdie, 11 pars, four bogeys and a pair of double-bogeys to finish tied for second with Hannah Lee of Canyons.
"I didn't have a good round," said Panich, who earlier undergoes an appendectomy while also recovering from a right-leg strain. "I usually hit the balls in the fairways, but my leg hurt and I had to shift my weight to hit the ball.
"I was using my arms to hit the ball. My putting was good and the greens were nice and fast. My putting saved me a bunch of shots."
Oct. 1, 2010 — The men's soccer teams posts a 1-0 Western State Conference home victory against Moorpark College.
Oct. 8, 2010 — America Lopez scores a pair of goals in the final five minutes of the first half to give the women's soccer team a 2-0 Western State Conference home victory against L.A. Mission College at Sartoris Field.
Oct. 9, 2010 — The Glendale Community College cross country teams don't find their strides in the Southern California Preview. The women take second, paced by Angela Martinez' ninth-place run of 19 minutes 39 seconds. The Lady Vaqueros end up with 78 points. The men finish sixth with 182 points. Ricky Avila turns in the team's top mark, taking 11th in 21:10.
Oct. 11, 2010 — For the first time in the program's brief history, the women's golf team wins a Western State Conference match. Panich notches medalist honors as she cards a school-record two-under-par 71 to lead Glendale to a tie for first with state powerhouse College of the Canyons at Marshall Canyon Golf Course in La Verne.
The Vaqueros, who finish with a 327 in the five-team event, see Panich birdie her last four holes to win by six strokes.
"It's the program's finest moment," said Glendale college Coach Greg Osbourne, who gets an 84 from Louise Wright, an 85 from Imelda Treto and an 87 from Diana Hernandez. "It's a huge moment for the program — men and women — and we were able to see Tammy separate herself to take the lead. Anytime you have that opportunity and you can make a statement, you do it and she did."