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Brea Olinda puts the pieces together for Brea Invitational title

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

BREA – The jigsaw puzzle looks a little different this year, but the theme is still the same.

With new coach Matt Rainwater at the helm and some new scoring runners, the Brea Olinda boys cross country team remains a power in the county.

Brea Olinda had the top three finishers as the Wildcats topped Valencia, 29-56, to win the Brea Invitational on Saturday at Carbon Canyon Regional Park.

Consistently brilliant ace Austin Tamagno came away victorious with a winning time of 15:44. Gio Orellana (16:29) finished second, and captain Joe Tobin (16:31) finished third.

Caleb Myers (10th) and Daniel Perez (13th) made up the rest of the Wildcats’ scoring quintet.

“As a team captain, to see all my teammates running up front, it’s really cool to see that happen because we’ve worked so hard over the summer,” Tobin said.

“We keep getting new guys each year. We keep getting faster, and we keep training harder.”

The Wildcats’ lineup is still developing, as Orange Lutheran sophomore transfer Kevin McNulty is scheduled to become eligible next week. McNulty was the champion of the “Conquer the Canyon” Open Division race, clocking in at 16:31.

Tamagno was impressed with the sophomore, who will see his first action in the Brea lineup when the team competes at the Orange County Championships.

“He’s guaranteed to score,” Tamagno said. “He tied for the third-fastest time today, so he’s looking really good.

“He’s doing this by himself, too, so he is only going to get better.”

Runner-up Valencia has had an impressive week. The Tigers won the Sunny Hills Invitational last Saturday before coming out on top at the Empire League cluster meet on Wednesday.

Valencia has no seniors in its scoring group, and Coach Brandon Frank is proud of the body of work his young team has put together.

“They just have so much heart and so much passion,” Frank said. “Brea is an unbelievable program, so for us to be in that conversation that we were anywhere near them was such a big deal for the team.”

“We feel like our hard work is paying off, and we’re excited about the future.”

Juniors Jesus Moreno and David Pacheco and sophomore Ethan Frisone crossed the finish line together, giving the Tigers three runners inside the top 10.

Villa Park junior Kimberlee Haefele (19:28) was the winner of the girls meet, finishing 22 seconds ahead of Brea’s Carly Halm.

“I could hear (the crowd) yelling, ‘Carly, catch up to her,’” Haefele said. “I thought she was right behind me. It motivated me to push myself harder.”

Foothill defeated Brea for the girls team title, 59-71, with Sara Caldwell (fourth), Hannah Hall (11th), and Brooke Sharp (12th) leading the way for the Knights.


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