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NICK KOON, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Tesoro's Amanda Gehrich is the Register's girls track and field athlete of the year.

2015 Girls track athlete of the year: Amanda Gehrich, Tesoro

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Tesoro’s Amanda Gehrich approached the track season with the laser-like focus of someone preparing to scale a mountain.

As the first-place finishes piled up for the junior, the only question that remained was whether she could sustain her momentum and reach the top.

With an amazing last push, Gehrich did it.

Gehrich completed her season last weekend by winning the 1,600 meters at the CIF State Track and Field Championships, edging out Great Oak of Temecula’s Destiny Collins in a final that produced the two fastest times in the nation this year.

The climactic finish to Gehrich’s campaign fostered an emotional high she is riding into today’s adidas Grand Prix “Dream Mile” in New York.

“It was pretty incredible,” she said of posting the nation’s top time (4:39.33) in the 1,600 at the stae meet. “I still can’t believe that this has happened. I’m still coming down from that, but now I’m focused on the ‘Dream Mile’ and I’m really excited to race.”

Gehrich, whose season included sweeping the 1,600 and 3,200 titles at the O.C. Championships and the CIF-SS Division 2 Finals, is the Register’s girls track and field athlete of the year.

Related:

All-County girls track & field team

Girls track coach of the year: Nathan Howard, Los Alamitos

The higher the stakes were this season, the better Gehrich did. She set personal records in three of the four 1,600 races from the sectional finals to the state championship.

The distance star rose to the occasion on the biggest stages thanks to her greatest motivation – the competition.

“The competition is probably the main thing that factors into getting those times,” she said. “It’s really nice when I have a fast group of girls to race against because I know that helps me a lot.”

Gehrich received a major confidence boost when she won the adidas “Dream Mile” qualifier in the Meet of Champions Distance Classic at Azusa Pacific in March. She ran the 1-mile race in 4:55.23. The victory let her know she belonged among the national leaders.

Her times would only get faster, and she would add an impressive list of titles to her name. Gehrich swept the 1,600 and 3,200 individual crowns at the Laguna Beach Trophy Invite, the county championships and the Division 2 Finals.

Gehrich’s highly successful season has her primed for a stellar senior year, one that will start with cross country in the fall.

“It really showed me my potential in that I really can keep on getting better,” Gehrich said. “Going into senior year, I know I can get better. It just brings up my confidence a lot. It shows me what I can do, and I’m super-excited for senior year.”


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