Most Viewed Stories
El Toro's Gonzalez finishes strong to win at Mt. Sac Invitational
WALNUT – A week that started with El Toro senior Juan Gonzalez feeling the effects of an illness ended in a triumphant performance on one of the nation's most hallowed cross country courses.
Gonzalez won the Division 1&2 individual sweepstakes race at the 65th annual Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational on Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College.
"This week wasn't my best week of training because I got sick right after the Orange County Championships," Gonzalez said. "However, knowing that I was going to race here gave me the motivation to keep training no matter what. Winning here keeps my confidence up and lets me know that I can do good things in the postseason."
Gonzalez, who entered the meet undefeated in competition this month, took the lead for good in the second mile of the race. He was challenged coming up Reservoir Hill later in the race, but maintained a slight edge on the field throughout the descent from the top of the hill, along the airstrip, down the final straightway, and into the finish chute.
"I knew from running on the switchbacks that going uphill wasn't going to be one of my strengths today and that I could lose the lead," Gonzalez said. "However, I also knew that today would be my day on the downhill portion and I just went for it."
Villa Park junior Garrett Corcoran was fifth in the race.
In the Division 1&2 team sweepstakes, top-ranked Dana Hills finished fifth overall with 174 points. Freshman Jake Ogden was the top finisher for the Dolphins, placing 13th.
"I went out, tried my hardest, and felt great," Ogden said. "I didn't want to take it out too hard in the first mile and I wanted to go hard on the downhill."
The Dolphins once again used effective pack-running to produce another strong team result. They had the third lowest team scoring spread (38 seconds between their No. 1 and No. 5 scoring runners) of the 19 teams in the race.
Arcadia took home first place with a score of 86 points and their winning team time of 75:45 is the second fastest ever on the Mt. Sac course, trailing only their 2010 invitational time of 75:16. Carlsbad (128) and California High of Whittier (151) rounded out the top three.
The girls' Division 1&2 sweepstakes race featured a rematch of four of the county's top five team finishers from last week's Orange County Championships. San Clemente, which had all five scoring runners finish in the top 50, was the county's top scoring team. The Tritons came in third overall with 150 points.
Junior Melissa Eisele led San Clemente's effort with a seventh-place finish.
Dana Hills (163) was fifth; Capistrano Valley (197) seventh, and Foothill (197) eighth.
It was an historic day for Simi Valley star junior Sarah Baxter. Running a 5:06 first mile and posting a time of 10:45 through two miles, Baxter set the Mt. SAC course record for any meet by winning the team sweepstakes race in 16:00. That time shattered the old course record of 16:16 set by former Ukiah standout Amber Trotter at the 2001 invitational.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org