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PAUL RODRIGUEZ, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Woodbridge's Gabe Warner is the Register's Orange County boys track and field athlete of the year. The senior led the county in the 200 and 400 meters, was part of two county-leading relays and helped the Warriors win a CIF-SS team title.

2015 Boys track athlete of the year: Gabe Warner, Woodbridge

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

With each new year, schools call upon their newcomers to become the stars of tomorrow.

As a freshman in 2012, Gabe Warner walked through the doors of Woodbridge High full of untapped potential.

Warner had never participated in track and field up to that point. He made it to CIF as a relay runner his first year. That told him he belonged, but it wasn’t until his junior season that he started to see himself among the county’s elite sprinters.

He first broke the 48-second barrier with a 47.86 to win the 400 meters in the CIF-SS Division 2 Finals last year. That was when he knew he could lead.

“I didn’t think that I was going to be as fast as I am now,” Warner said, referring to his early years. “To be running 47s, I thought that was way out of reach until junior year when I finally ran one. It got me set for my last year.”

The senior took off in his final season. Warner posted the top times in the county in the 200 (21.64) and the 400 (47.30), and he participated in both of the Warriors’ county-leading relay teams. Behind his widespread ability to contribute points in multiple events, Woodbridge secured its first CIF team championship in the history of the boys program.

His proclivity to lead in the heat of the sprints is what made Warner the Register’s boys track and field athlete of the year.

Related:

All-County boys track & field team

Boys track coach of the year: Aaron Craver, Woodbridge

Warner was a Masters qualifier in all four of his events, taking home CIF-SS and county championships in each.

The team championship was the pinnacle of the season for Warner, who felt it was vital the team accomplished its goal after two years of being a runner-up.

“We knew we had a shot,” he said. “With the hard work that we had been doing over the past few years, we knew we had to get it no matter what. We couldn’t put all this work in and not get it.”

Warner was in top form during track’s postseason. He posted 400 times of 47.90 in the CIF Finals, 47.31 at Masters, 47.77 in the state preliminaries, and a lifetime best 47.30 in the state championship race.

What Warner loved most, however, was his role in the 1,600 relay. He relished the opportunity to hunt competitors down on the anchor leg. In the state preliminaries, he appeared to be shot out of a cannon as he took his team from eighth to second in its heat to qualify for the finals.

“I love racing people and I love trying to get consistent 45-second times and hopefully a 44 eventually,” Warner said. “The fact we made it to state in the 4x400 relay was a really big deal for us because it’s our last year (together). Those were really exciting for me.”


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