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Gehrich sets Division 1 freshman record at Dana Hills Nike Invitational
DANA POINT- Three weeks into the season’s first month, Tesoro freshman Amanda Gehrich has established herself not only as the county’s top newcomer, but one of its’ elite performers.
Gehrich (16:58.8) recorded the fastest time of the meet among all runners in all divisions and set a new freshman meet record en route to winning the Division 1 freshman race at the 2012 Dana Hills Nike Invitational Saturday at Dana Hills High.
“I knew that it was going to be mostly flat and that I could pick up the pace and not hold back,” Gehrich said. “I felt really good.”
Gehrich won her first race of the season at the Laguna Hills Invitational two weeks ago and finished second in the rated race at last week’s Woodbridge/Estancia/Costa Mesa Cross Country Classic. In both meets, she had the second best individual time among all participating county runners behind Newport Harbor senior Paige Tennison.
Gehrich was dominant again Saturday, winning by more than 50 seconds over second place finisher Destiny Collins of Great Oak. She was also the only runner in the competition to finish in sub-17 minutes, breaking the previous freshman meet record of 17:00 by set in 1996 by Abby Miller of Green Valley High in Henderson, Nevada.
“Coming into this first month, I didn’t know that I could run this good early in the season. I just want to keep on pushing and getting those good times,” Gehrich said.
Capistrano Valley sophomore Grace Shafer (17:32.3) sparked another strong team effort from No. 1 Capistrano Valley by taking home victory in the Division 1 sophomore race.
“I tried to keep my pace steady in the first mile, increase that effort in the second mile, and run it in during the third mile,” Schafer said. “My legs felt a little heavy, but it was just another obstacle to overcome. I’m happy for myself and for the team.”
The Cougars had seven total runners that finished in under 18 minutes, 30 seconds among all age-group races in Division 1.
In the best finish of the meet, Dana Hills senior Paige Canterbury (17:34.2) rallied late in the Division 1 senior race and held off a furious final straightaway challenge from Tesoro’s Emily Scharmann (17:34.6) for the victory.
“I stuck with Emily (Scharmann) and let her set the pace,” Canterbury said. “I stayed about four feet from her with about three-fourths of a mile to go and wouldn’t let myself get any further back. Once we got onto the track, I started pushing it, caught up to her with 200 meters to go, and kicked it in.”
Fountain Valley’s Amanda Stark took home first place in the Division 1 junior race in a time of 17:46.1.