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KYUSUNG GONG, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Brea Olinda's Austin Tamagno, right, won the 1,600-meter run at the Masters Meet and feels ready to win again at this weekend's CIF State Meet.

Tamagno finally ready to be his dominant self

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

A season that started with much promise but became bogged down in turmoil might have a happy ending.

Brea Olinda’s Austin Tamagno, the county’s premier distance runner, is healthy for the first time in nearly two months, and he’s brimming with confidence going into the two-day CIF State Track and Field Championships, which start Friday in Clovis.

“I’m just ready to go out there, make a move, and make everyone hurt,” Tamagno said. “I’m the favorite and everyone’s going to be eyeing me. I’ve just got to make sure that I’m on my A-game.”

Tamagno ran a 4:08.72 to win the 1,600 at last week’s Masters Meet, his best showing in nearly two months.

Tamagno appeared primed for a tremendous spring after winning the adidas Meet of Champions Distance Classic in late March. His time of 4:06.26 led the nation’s milers at the time.

Then the junior succumbed to an illness before the Arcadia Invitational on April 10. Tamagno was unsure what he was dealing with, guessing it was a combination of the flu and a sinus infection. He scaled down his workload, focusing solely on the 1,600.

The illness plagued him through the CIF-SS Finals, but last week he returned to form.

This is the third year in a row he has qualified for the CIF State Meet in the 1,600. He placed third as a freshman and second as a sophomore. This time, Tamagno is targeting the title.

“I have a lot of different scenarios set up for if the race goes out fast or the race goes out slower,” he said of his race strategy. “I think all the scenarios work to my advantage, so I’m pretty confident going into the weekend.

“I don’t have to lead the whole thing, so I can save my energy for the final lap and hunt people down.”

Other story lines to watch for in the meet:

• Los Alamitos’ Thomas Heib: The junior’s time of 1:51.49 in th 800 at the Masters Meet trails state leaders Isaac Trevino (Centennial of Bakersfield) and Connor Morello of Clovis by one-tenth of a second.

• San Juan Hills’ Connor Meech: With the second-fastest time (37.0) in the state in the 300 hurdles, he will try to beat out the state leader, Carson’s Justin Collins (36.76), for the title.

• Mater Dei’s Malik McMorris: The state’s leader in the discus (194-8) is seeking his first state title.

• Tesoro’s Amanda Gehrich: After last week’s thrilling race at the Masters Meet, the junior (4:42.92) resumes her quest to chase down state leader Destiny Collins of Great Oak of Temecula (4:40.34).

• Newport Harbor’s Hope Bender: Will the senior end her career by improving her county record of 42.51 in the 300 hurdles?

• Santa Margarita’s Kaitlyn Merritt: The state leader in the pole vault (13-7) returns to the state meet, and tries to recapture the individual title she won as a sophomore in 2013.

***********************

Orange County's qualifiers for the CIF State Track and Field Championships.

BOYS

100 – No OC qualifiers
200 – No OC qualifiers
400 – 3. Warner (Woodbridge) 47.31
800 – 1. Heib (Los Alamitos) 1:51.49; 4. Dunne (San Clemente) 1:52.53
1,600 – 1. Tamagno (Brea Olinda) 4:08.72; 2. Gleason (Huntington Beach) 4:10.99; 8. Ogden (Dana Hills) 4:13.19
3,200 – 4. Collin Price (St. Margaret’s) 9:00.0; 7. Coppi (Dana Hills) 9:01.96; 9. Walsh (Canyon) 9:02.56
110HH – No OC qualifiers
300IH – 1. Meech (San Juan Hills) 37.34; 2. Hurd (Trabuco Hills) 37.56; 3. Atencio (Yorba Linda) 37.68; Paton (Mission Viejo) 38.09
400 relay – No OC qualifiers
1,600 relay – 7. Woodbridge 3:17.76
HJ – T1. Lee (Trabuco Hills) 6-9; T1. Pounds (Cypress) 6-9; T3. McCord (Sage Hill) 6-7; 9. Beynon (Edison) 6-7
LJ – 4. Mitchell (Tesoro) 22-6
TJ – 6. Robinson (Kennedy) 46-3
PV – 2. Gordon (Marina) 15-9
SP – 3. Osborn (Esperanza) 61-8.50; 5. Coghill (Valencia) 59-2.50; 6. McMorris (Mater Dei) 58-7
DT – 1. McMorris (Mater Dei) 188-8; 3. Osborn (Esperanza) 182-2; 4. Coghill (Valencia) 181-8

GIRLS TRACK
100 – No OC qualifiers
200 – No OC qualifiers
400 – 4. Willingham (Los Alamitos) 54.89
800 – 3. Durgy (Huntington Beach) 2:10.84
1,600 – 2. Gehrich (Tesoro) 4:42.92; 7. Brumley (Tesoro) 4:54.95; 8. Sienski (Edison) 4:55.04
3,200 – 4. Gehrich (Tesoro) 10:32.65; 5. Izzo (Los Alamitos) 10:32.92; 6. Sienski (Edison) 10:33.43
100HH – No OC qualifiers
300IH – 3. Bender (Newport Harbor) 43.04
400 relay – 6. Los Alamitos 47.12
1,600 relay – T5. Los Alamitos 3:50.25
HJ – No OC qualifiers
LJ – 7. Ebanks (Valencia) 18-8.25
TJ – 4. Moss (Mater Dei) 38-8.25
PV – 1. Merritt (Santa Margarita) 13-7; 2. Baxter (Canyon) 13-1; 3. Thomas (Santa Margarita) 12-7; 4. Caskey (Mater Dei) 12-7; T7. Scharmann (Tesoro) 11-7; T7. Kao (Dana Hills) 11-7
SP – 6. Plummer (Aliso Niguel) 41-4
DT – 4. Uipi (Orange Lutheran) 134-4; 6. DeSilva (Mission Viejo) 127-8


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