Gonzalez steals the show at South Coast League finals
MISSION VIEJO- El Toro junior Juan Gonzalez continues to steadily build on a reputation as an on the state's emerging talents.
He will now enter the season’s most important stretch of competitions on the heels of his best performance to date.
Gonzalez rallied in both the 1600 and the 800 to claim dual titles at the South Coast League Finals Friday at Mission Viejo High.
“This is all about training and giving it my all,” Gonzalez said.
After running with the lead pack early in the 1600, Gonzalez trailed Trabuco Hills senior Nick Plumb by a small margin over the second and third laps.
Chargers teammate Kevin Durham assumed the lead on the bell lap with calculated sprint and appeared ready to seal the win down the back straight away.
But Gonzalez (4:15.60) hit the acceleration to catch Durham and pull out the win in a lifetime best effort.
“I saw Kevin (during CIF) last year and I want to be there too,” Gonzalez said. “My training has been to help move on past league, which happened.”
Later, he followed a similar script in the 800. Trailing Dana Hills senior Conner Garcia throughout much of the race, Gonzalez (1:55.97) sprinted down the final straightaway and edged Garcia (1:56.19).
Mission Viejo junior Marcus Collins took home titles in both the 100 (11.28) and the 200 (22.69).
“I worked all week in the 100 on getting and I was able to focus and hold the lead,” Collins said. “In the 200, once I got out on the straightaway, I was able to break it away at the end.”
The Diablos also got winning performances from junior Sage Stone in the high jump (6-5), senior Paul Bowker (14-5) in the pole vault, sophomore Michael Mathewes (51-1¾) in the shot put, and senior Nick Lee (49.56) in the 400. Mission Viejo also won both the 400m relay (42.52) and the 1600m relay (3:24.00).
Chargers senior Kevin Durham battled to the lead in the 3200 and held off several late challenges throughout to win in a time of 9:21.65.
“The race went out slow and I just tried to move into the front,” Durham said. “I was trying to push the pace along even from behind. It was a tough race the way it played out.”
Fellow Chargers senior Justin Schneider was the only jumper in the long jump competition to go past the 22-foot mark, as he won with a leap of 22-4.
“I feel like this competition went really well,” Schneider said. “I’m going into CIF confident and feeling like I can hit 23-feet.”
The Chargers also took home wins in the hurdles behind seniors Andy Bardine (15.14) and Geoff Kruki (40.10), who won the 100 and 300 races respectively. Senior Jake Tredwell (43-8) was first in the triple jump.
Trabuco Hills junior Brawley Osbourne was the winner of the discus with a throw of 147-10.
Mission Viejo (127½ points) won the meet to clinch the league title. El Toro (87½) and Trabuco Hills (74) round out the top three teams.