Notebook: Mater Dei's Hockenbury continues breakout season
After one month of the swimming season, it’s safe to count Mater Dei’s Christian Hockenbury among the breakout performers.
The junior has raced consistently fast, helped the Monarchs capture the Capistrano Valley Relays and sealed his status Saturday by twice dueling Santa Margarita’s Grant Shoults at the California Catholic Challenge.
Hockenbury isn’t a year-round, club swimmer like many of his competitors, Monarchs coach Ken Dory said. He also didn’t reach the CIF-SS Division 1 finals last season.
Saturday, he posted an automatic Division 1 qualifying time in the 100-yard freestyle with a 46.47, almost two seconds faster than his Trinity League runner-up finish last May.
He also out-split Shoults in the 200 free relay with a 20.96 anchor.
“Naturally, he’s the best that I’ve (coached),” said Dory, who at Irvine had four-time Olympian Jason Lezak, a well-chronicled late-bloomer at the elite level.
“Christian is just that good. He’s just swimming off how good he is. … He’s just training for polo.”
Hockenbury’s under-the-radar status might end in water polo, too. He played on Mater Dei’s junior varsity team in the fall but is headed for the varsity, Monarchs coach Chris Segesman said Monday.
- DAN ALBANO
TRACK AND FIELD
Tesoro’s Michael Mitchell and Canyon’s Rachel Baxter made the most of their trip last week to compete in the Texas Relays.
Mitchell leaped 23 feet, 8 inches in the long jump. That is the top wind-legal jump in the nation.
The conditions were less than ideal, but Mitchell fought through them.
“They had a thunder delay,” Mitchell said. “It was raining. I ended up jumping at 9 p.m., and it was 45 degrees. In California, I don’t really get to jump in 45-degree weather all that often. It was kind of new.
“The main thing that I wanted to do in Texas was win, so I’m pretty happy with that. I definitely want to stay up as far as top marks in the nation go.”
Mitchell hopes to conquer the 25-foot mark at this weekend’s Arcadia Invitational.
Baxter is the national leader in pole vault this year. The junior squared off with the nation’s No. 2 vaulter, Carson Dingler of First Presbyterian Day of Georgia.
Baxter won the battle with a clearance of 13-6. Dingler topped out at 13-2.
Connor Dunne’s standout season continued at the Stanford Invitational on Saturday. Dunne ran a nation-leading 1:50.53 in the 800 meters to keep Willie Hall of Davis (1:51.76) at bay.
Several county-leading marks were established at the Trabuco Hills Invite. Woodbridge’s Alex Young finished the 100 in 10.94 seconds, and Trabuco Hills’ Cameron Hurd clocked 14.44 in the 110 hurdles.
Anaheim’s Paul Magana produced a triple jump of 45-4, and Emma DeSilva’s discus throw went 143-6.
The Mater Dei girls showed their prowess in the jumps at the West Coast Relays. Taylor Ashmore (18-2¼) and Dominique Ruotolo (18-0¼) finished second and third in the long jump, respectively. Ruotolo also won the triple jump and was the runner-up in the high jump.
- ANDREW TURNER, Contributing writer
Servite and Mater Dei tied for 11th in the 45-team field for the Champions Invitational, arguably the most prestigious boys golf tournaments in the nation.
Both teams shot a 941 in the 54-hole tournament at The Golf Club at Terra Lago in Indio. Long Beach Wilson won the for the second time.
Issei Tanabe posted rounds of 76, 77 and 75 to lead the Monarchs with a 228, while Brendan Gonzalez carded a 234 for the Friars, who have won the tournament four times.
Dana Hills senior Clay Feagler tied for fifth in the individual competition, shooting a 218, seven shots behind Bryan Baumgarten of Granite Bay.
- DAMIAN DOTTORE
The Corona del Mar boys lacrosse team is taking advantage of the school’s spring break to play three matches in Arizona.
The Sea Kings will face Desert Vista today, followed by games against Notre Dame Prep (Wednesday) and Brophy Prep on Thursday.
CdM suffered its first loss of the season Saturday, dropping an 8-7 decision to Torrey Pines.
Foothill is also spending its break on the road. The Knights will be in Northern California, where they will face De La Salle of Concord (Wednesday) and St. Ignatius (Friday).
- DAMIAN CALHOUN
Buena Park junior wide receiver Taariq Johnson (6-3, 205) has committed to Cal, Coyotes football coach Anthony White said.
- DAN ALBANO
A trio of O.C. wrestlers earned All-America honors thanks to their performance at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach.
In the Senior Division, Servite’s Liam Cronin (113) and Canyon’s Ethyn Ewing (138), finished seventh and fifth, respectively.
In the Sophomore Division, Capistrano Valley’s Gerardo Hernandez (182) finished sixth.
- DAMIAN CALHOUN