Senior Matt Neev recorded the fastest time in school history on the three-mile Irvine Regional Park course during last Saturday’s 44th annual Orange County Championships, but finished 20th overall.
His 15:12 was 21 seconds better than Blake Hofmeister’s (’10) previous mark and 40 seconds better than Neev’s own personal course record, both set last season during Laguna’s meteoric run to the state title.
Last year, the division IV Breakers varsity squad, made up of Neev and six seniors, took fifth place in the invitation-only division I sweepstakes race against the top teams in Orange County. This year Neev’s team, currently ranked seventh in CIF’s southern section, was not invited, but he was, the only individual runner singled out for participation.
Having won his three previous races this season, Neev admits that he got caught up in the excitement of running against the county’s top talent and went out too fast. He was among the lead pack at the halfway point before running out of steam in the final half mile.
Neev’s impressive resume this season has earned him an invitation to compete in the prestigious varsity sweeps race on one of his favorite courses at the Mt. SAC Invitational, on Saturday, Oct. 23 in Walnut.
But last week, due to a combination of SAT commitments, sickness and coaching decisions, neither the boys or girls varsity squads started the minimum of five runners needed to post an official team time at the OC Championships.
Senior Carly Savage ran a personal best 20:07 to finish first for Laguna and 18th overall out of 146 runners in the varsity D3 race. Senior Taylor Capobianco (20:49, 31st), junior Marisa Merchant (20:49, 32) and senior Beverly Ronses (21:13, 48th) made up the rest of the short-handed Breakers.
Seniors Aaron Swartz and Alec Toro, set personal course records of 16:34 to finish 27th and 28th overall out of 174 runners in the varsity D3 race.
The girls’ frosh/soph squad placed seventh out of 13 teams. Freshmen Audrey Rodriguez (21:18) and Marlee Grosher (21:47) finished 16th and 24th respectively out of 181 runners to lead the Breakers.
The freshman boys also finished seventh of 10 teams. Veda Rebollar (18:02) paced Laguna with a 17th place overall finish out of 139 runners. Mike Santana (18:48) finished second for the Breakers and 41st overall.
The sophomore boys took eighth of 12 teams. Mitchell Kimball (17:00) and Kevin Tovar (17:03) led the way with 12th and 15th place finishes respectively out of 127 runners.
In the JV races, junior Ryan Jones led Laguna with an impressive time of 17:03 to finish 20th overall out of 213 runners. A short-handed girls squad struggled to a 13th place finish with junior Sylvi Lester (26:46) turning in the Breaker’s top time.
Laguna travels to Walnut for the Mt. SAC Invitational Friday, Oct. 22.