Omatsu paces Trabuco Hills at CIF prelims
WALNUT-With senior Naoki Omatsu leading the way, the Trabuco Hills Mustangs proved that a little listening can go a long way toward preparing the team for a chance to compete for a CIF-SS title.
Omastu tied for the fastest individual county time of the meet and led Trabuco Hills to a heat win and the fastest team time in Division 1 at the CIF-SS Divisional Preliminaries Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College.
Coming off a narrow league finals loss to archrival Dana Hills, the Mustangs had four runners score in the top eight of their heat and totaled a winning score of 51 points.
“We all listened to Coach (Clemens) today and we did really well,” Omatsu said. “The loss at league finals really opened our eyes up, and as a team, we really know what we want. We have a mutual goal and the camaraderie on our team is awesome.”
Dana Hills, which competed without freshman Jake Ogden, was second with 61 points.
El Toro was the county’s only other Division 1 qualifier for the finals. The Chargers finished second in their heat. Senior Juan Gonzalez led the Chargers’ effort by winning in a time of 15:06.
“My mentality was to win and help my team advance,” Gonzalez said. “I took the first mile easier than I thought I would, and going up the switchbacks, I got the lead and felt no pressure.”
Godinez senior Jose Penaloza tied Omatsu for the county’s top individual time of the meet, crossing the finish line second in his heat and advancing to the Division 2 finals.
“It was my first time running at Mt. Sac since last year and I felt good,” Penaloza said. “I feel like I still have much more to give.”
Also advancing as an individual was Villa Park junior Garrett Corcoran, who won his Division 2 heat in a time of 15:07.
“I trained like I normally would and this felt the same as any other race,” Corcoran said. “My plan for next week is to have a fast first mile and stay as close to the leaders as I possible can.”
Canyon senior Austin Goins took home first place in his Division 2 heat, winning in a time of 15:11.
“I tell myself to let the pack take me in the beginning, let the other runners go out on the switchbacks, and really work the downhill portions,” Goins said.
The Comanches (69 points) finished second to Westlake of Westlake Village (51 points). Joining Canyon in the Division 2 finals will be Tesoro, who totaled 92 points and finished second in its heat to Dos Pueblos.
Buena Park senior Gilbert Solorza had the fastest individual time of all runners in Division 3, winning his heat in a time of 15:14. Brea Olinda freshman Austin Tamagno (15:17) was second.
The Wildcats (58 points) had all five scoring runners finish in the top 20 and won the heat. Joining them in the Division 3 finals will be Corona del Mar, Laguna Hills, and Mater Dei.
Crean Lutheran won its’ Division 4 qualifying heat and had the fastest overall team time of all teams in the division (81:43). Sophomore Sean Pino (15:48) was second, as the Saints (51 points) had all five scoring runners finish in the top 25.
JSerra, Laguna Beach, and Costa Mesa also qualified for the Division 4 finals.
Oxford Academy senior Robert Miyoshi advanced to the finals as an individual.
Two-time defending CIF-SS Division 5 champion St. Margaret’s will look to make it three straight titles. Behind senior Brandon Price (16:31), sophomore Collin Price (16:40), and senior Garrett Corwin (16:44) who finished second, third, and fourth respectively, the Tartans (36 points) scored five runners in the top 20 to win its’ heat.
Sage Hill (141 points) was fifth in the same heat and also qualified for the finals.