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Fall Signing Day: Cross country, track & field notes
Tesoro senior Amanda Gehrich had long said that she wanted to make her college decision early and end the drama.
The defending CIF-State 1,600 meters champion ended speculation when she signed with the University of Utah.
Gehrich joins Capistrano Valley’s Ashley Licata, who announced her commitment to the Utes prior to the Orange County Championships. The Titans ace was also considering Arizona State and Oregon. She is excited about the opportunity in front of her.
“I think a lot of my feelings are just of relief and excitement,” she said. “I’m just super excited to finally know where I am going. All of this pressure is just lifted off.”
Gehrich said the official visit made the difference.
“I just really loved the area, and I really loved the coaches a lot. I feel like they have what it takes to take me to the next level,” she said. “I’m just really excited to run for them and be part of that team. It is going to be amazing.”
Both Gehrich and Licata expressed enthusiasm about the opportunity to train together. Licata said that Utah is a program on the rise, noting that the Utes’ women’s cross country team just placed fifth in the Pac-12 Championships with its lowest team score since joining the conference in 2011.
The addition of two of the county’s elite runners should only help that cause.
“I think it is just all coming together. (Amanda and I) will definitely be an impact on the team, and they’re just going to keep going,” said Licata, who was part of the first Capistrano Valley team to make it to the state meet. “If they don’t make nationals this year, I think they’ll for sure make it next year. It will be an awesome experience just like it was at Capo.”
BREA'S TAMAGNO WEIGHING HIS OPTIONS
Most cross country and track and field athletes chose not to sign on the opening day of the early signing period. Those ranks included Brea Olinda’s Austin Tamagno.
The Wildcats ace has been on a number of official visits. He is considering offers from Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Oklahoma State, Oregon and Syracuse.
THEY'LL MEET AGAIN IN THE PAC-12
Of the six known signees in cross country, five of them chose to stay in the Pac-12. The only exception was Dana Hills’ Mason Coppi, who committed to Furman.
It’s a thrill for local runners like Gehrich, who will have the opportunity to continue competing with those they have raced against their entire careers.
“I think that is pretty incredible,” Gehrich said of the signing pattern. “The Pac-12, I feel, is the most competitive conference. Racing against the same people, and just seeing them around again in college, that’s pretty cool.”