Recap of Saturday's Laguna Beach Trophy Invitational
LAGUNA BEACH – Distance runners awoke to perfect conditions Saturday morning.
The Laguna Beach Trophy Invitational kicks off with the Eric Hulst 3,200-meter run, and the early risers were rewarded for their attendance.
Dana Hills senior Mason Coppi ran a 9:03, clipping JSerra’s Andrew Burkhardt by less than a second in the final 100 meters to win the race in stunning fashion.
“I actually didn’t think that I was going to win,” said Coppi, who has signed with Furman University. “(Burkhardt) passed me around 200 (meters to go), and I thought that was pretty much the end of the race. At the last 100, I just got a burst of energy, and I realized that I could pass him.”
Dolphins teammates Jake Ogden and Jack Landgraf placed third and fourth, respectively. The top four finishers ran under 9:08. To put that in perspective, only seven runners accomplished that feat in the CIF State finals last year.
The race carried a break-neck pace. It set the top 10 county times in the event through the first four weeks of the track and field season.
Dana Hills established itself as one of the nation’s premier distance teams with a podium showing at the Nike Cross Nationals during the cross country season. That was affirmed Saturday, as Colin Stein (9:27) and Brandon Hough (9:30) gave the Dolphins five runners in the top 13.
“We were definitely very excited,” Coppi said. “Almost everyone on the team met their goals, and we were just really happy that we were able to pull that off this early in the season.”
San Juan Hills’ Katie Camarena (11:01) took the girls’ side of the Eric Hulst Invitational, edging out El Dorado’s Lucina Vincent (11:03). Dana Hills’ Kathryn Kaloroumakis was third in 11:05.
“There were a lot of faster girls in it, so I knew it was going to be tough,” Camarena said. “My (personal record) was 11:25, so to come back with an 11:01 today was really exciting. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season now.”
The Stallions senior is primed for a big year. She will run in the adidas “Dream Mile” qualifier at next week’s Meet of Champions Distance Classic at Azusa Pacific University. Brea Olinda’s Austin Tamagno and Tesoro’s Amanda Gehrich punched their tickets to the adidas Grand Prix last year.
Daniel White gave San Juan Hills a second distance win. The freshman ran 4:23 to win the 1,600.
Coco Putnam of Laguna Beach won the 400 in 57.91 seconds.
“To come out here and represent, it’s one of the best feelings,” she said. “There are so many people here to support me. I really like that.”
Putnam was a Masters Meet qualifier in the 300 hurdles as a junior. She hopes to reach the state meet this year.
Sprints and hurdles athletes like to run in the middle lanes, using their peripherals to recognize their position in the race. Sage Hill’s Chance Kuehnel was initially disappointed to find himself in lane one, but he honed in on his form to emerge victorious in the 110 hurdles.
“It doesn’t matter what lane you’re in,” he said later. “It’s just how hard you push yourself. There was a guy next to me at the first couple of hurdles that was really close. I was trying to beat him, and he was one of the fastest guys.”
Santa Margarita had an excellent day in the sprints. Mason Mitchell won the 400 (48.93) and was second in the 200 (22.6). Lauren Drysch was first in the 200 (25.85) and second in the 400 (58.64).
The Eagles also got a victory in the long jump from Grant Wilson, who leaped 20 feet, 9 inches.
Orange Lutheran’s Brianna Uipi had the winning mark (131-1) in the discus, and Emily Coombs jumped a lifetime best 11-6 to win the pole vault competition.
Marina’s Jett Gordon was the top boys pole vaulter at 15-3, while Jake Arnold placed second in the shot put and discus.
Relay wins went to the Marina boys and Rosary girls in the 400, while Servite’s boys were first in the 1,600.
Other county wins went to Becky Obinma of Rosary in the 100 (12.57), Los Alamitos’ Faimalie Sale in shot put (39-5.75), and Gehrich in the 1,600 (5:11). On the boys side, Servite’s Ian Ward completed the intermediate hurdles in 39.84.