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Dana Hills boys set record with 7th team title at Orange County Championships
ORANGE – As they took to the medal stand, grins spread from ear to ear across the faces of Dana Hills’ boys cross country team.
The Dolphins had just solidified their school’s status as the winningest program in the 49-year history of the Orange County Cross Country Championships.
Led by Mason Coppi’s second-place finish, the Dolphins dominated the field in besting two-time title-defending Brea Olinda, 35-85, Saturday in the boys sweepstakes race at Irvine Regional Park.
Dana Hills picked up its seventh championship at the event. The triumph breaks the tie with Costa Mesa, which won six county titles under celebrated coach Joe Fisher (the last in 1980).
As is the case with most team-oriented records, the Dolphins accomplished the feat with a collective effort. The scoring quintet of Coppi, Jack Landgraf, Jake Ogden, Brandon Hough, and John Turner all finished in the top 16. Colin Stein and Thomas Wilfert, who were Dana Hills’ final point-eligible runners, finished 10 spots ahead of Brea’s fifth in a powerhouse display.
“This is our first time where we made sure that everyone is going pedal to the medal,” Dolphins coach Tim Butler said. “The kids showed that. They ran up to their potential today.”
All of Dana Hills’ championships have come since 2002, and Butler wants to make sure the credit goes to those who have been along for the ride.
“The work that these kids have put in is just astounding, and the staff that I have is by far the best,” he said. “Nobody can even touch what our staff does with these guys.”
Coppi was a freshman when Dana Hills won its last title in 2012, but he was not a participant. After leading the Dolphins in Saturday’s historic run, the senior was elated.
“That feels amazing,” Coppi said of breaking the county team titles record. “That’s something I’ve been going for since sophomore year.”
“I saw the team (win the meet) my freshman year, and it’s just kind of been a goal of mine to be on an Orange County championship team.”
Brea senior Austin Tamagno showed why he is the county’s unquestioned top distance runner. The Wildcats’ ace beat the field by nine seconds for his second straight individual title.
Tamagno’s time of 14:31 was just three seconds off the meet record of 14:28, set by Villa Park’s Garrett Corcoran in 2013. He is third all-time at the meet.