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Boys cross country preview: Top O.C. runners to watch

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

OCVarsity’s boys cross country preview for 2015:

TOP BOYS RUNNERS TO WATCH

Austin Tamagno, Brea Olinda, Sr.: There are the county’s elite distance runners, and then there is the Wildcats’ ace. When healthy, he is unstoppable. Can he lower his Mt. SAC course record of 14:23?

Jake Ogden, Dana Hills, Sr.: He was hampered by a ribcage injury last year, but he returned to form during the track season. He is the reigning South Coast League champion. Ogden is at the top of a Dolphins lineup that opens the year No. 1 in the Division 1 rankings.

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BOYS CROSS COUNTRY PREVIEW

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Mason Coppi, Dana Hills, Sr.: Coppi and Ogden form the most established 1-2 punch in the county. He placed second at the Orange County Championships and was 10th at the CIF-SS Division 1 Finals.

Andrew Burkhardt, JSerra, Sr.: The All-County selection is one of the county’s grittiest competitors. He finished fifth in the Division 4 state meet last year, and he has already started this year strong, posting a second-place showing at the Cool Breeze Invite last week.

Adam Villela, El Modena, Sr.: He is a big-time performer when all of the chips are on the table. Villela is the defending North Hills League champion. He had top-10 finishes in the CIF-SS Division 3 Finals (sixth) and the state meet (eighth).

Gio Orellana, Brea Olinda, Jr.: Orellana added critical depth to Brea Olinda’s state championship team last year. He moves into the No. 2 slot for the Wildcats. The closer he can run with Tamagno, the better Brea’s chances will be of pulling off a three-peat at the Orange County Championships.

Chance Lamberth, Canyon, Sr.: Lamberth was consistently in the top five in the Crestview League battles between the Comanches and Brea Olinda a year ago. He followed up the cross country season with solid distance running on the track.

Connor Dunne, San Clemente, Sr.: He emerged as one of the county’s best 800-meter runners during the track season. If he can stay with the lead pack early, he has another gear for the finish.


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