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OCVarsity boys cross country preview
Brea Olinda's Austin Tamagno looks to go out in spectacular fashion
BREA - It might be hard to fathom an athlete of Austin Tamagno’s caliber having any reason to seek redemption.
But after pulling out of the adidas Grand Prix “Dream Mile” mid-race in New York in June, Brea Olinda’s ace has his sights set on an unforgettable senior season.
“I’m still very disappointed that I had to do that,” Tamagno said of ending the showcase race early. “That was my big goal all year was to run really well at that race.
“It only fires me up for this year. I had a great summer, and the team is looking great.”
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY PREVIEW
His accomplishments thus far have been unmatched in an illustrious high school career. Last year, he led the Wildcats to a repeat title at the Orange County Championships and the team’s first state title, taking home the individual honors in both meets. He also set the course record (14:23) at Mt. San Antonio College, a meet that has been held on the same course for 65 years.
He battled a sinus infection and bronchitis during the spring. Limited by his ailments, Tamagno turned his focus exclusively to the mile as the track calendar reached its postseason. The constraints on his workload compelled Tamagno to call the track season “pretty bad” by his standards.
Interesting self-analysis, considering this is coming from the reigning state champion in the 1,600 meters.
What can be taken from those comments is that the county’s premier distance runner intends to come back with a vengeance in his final year with the Wildcats.
Tamagno is looking forward to trying to secure a three-peat for Brea Olinda at the Orange County Championships, where Dana Hills will likely be a top contender.
“OC Champs is a really big race for us this year,” he said. “We have Dana Hills to race against. They’ll be our main competition. We beat Dana Hills two years ago. We know that they’re really good and they have a lot of talent on their team.”
When the time comes, Tamagno will have his pick of colleges to run for. His schools of interest include Syracuse, Oregon, Colorado, Oklahoma State, Cal and Arizona.
There have been a lot of changes around Tamagno in the offseason. Matt Rainwater took over the coaching duties after Jeremy Mattern left to join his brother Noel’s staff at Granada High of Livermore.
Rainwater headed the Wildcats’ girls cross country team the last three seasons, and he has been with the program for five years. His familiarity with the athletes should lead to a smooth transition at the top.
Tamagno is lloking forward to a bigger role this season.
“Ever since Mattern left, I knew that I had to be the biggest leader on our team,” Tamagno said. “I’m the most looked-up-to guy on the team. I know how to train hard to be successful.
“I have the idea of being a better leader. I’m showing that. I’m being a good role model to my teammates.”
The Wildcats also have to replace recent graduate Austin Shellito. He gave the Wildcats two runners that could serve as a No. 1 for almost any team in the county.
At the moment, it looks as though Gio Orellana will be the one to step up in his place. Rainwater says the junior is targeting a top-five finish at the state meet this year.
Brea Olinda has maintained a strong supporting cast in junior Caleb Myers, senior Joe Tobin and sophomore Kevin McNulty, a transfer from Orange Lutheran.