Top Individuals in the City: Sophomore Boys

Forewords: This was one of the best crop of Freshman in recent City History. Hazell and Hamer led the way with sub-16:10 efforts at Pierce and continued with sub-10 efforts in Track at the Varsity level. Overall, the group maybe did not show their best in XC, but some of them really took it to a whole new level on the track with seven 4:45 or under for 1600 m and six 10:30 or under for 3200 m. The majority of them will be key scorers for their respective teams this upcoming season as only Sophomores which shows how strong they are. The upcoming class of Freshman has a lot to live up to if they want to match the heights of the Class of 2018.

1) Justin Hazell -- El Camino Real (16:08/Pierce, 4:29/1600, 9:33/3200)
Hazell had one of the best freshman campaigns in City History this past year finishing 15th at City Finals in XC and 4th in the 3200. The precocious Sophomore runs well beyond his years and has great tactics to match his strength and speed. He will be in the mix for a top 5 finish in November.

2) Ben Hamer – Palisades (16:07/Pierce, 4:41/1600, 9:54/3200)
Hamer placed 12th last year in XC as the top Freshman finisher and continued his success by running a sub-10 3200 in Track. He and Pollack will try to get their team to State this season and individually, Hamer will duke it out this season with Hazell to see if he can reclaim his title.

3) Christian Hernandez – Garfield (16:34/Pierce, 4:43/1600, 10:08/3200)
Hernandez was one of three Freshman running Varsity last year (Hazell and Hamer were the other two) and had a major impact on Garfield’s rise from obscurity to a 9th place finish at City Finals. On the track, he qualified to the F/S 1600 and 3200 m Finals and was runner up in the 3200 with a 10:08. He could be in contention for a podium finish this year.

4) Pedro Valenica – Monroe (16:54/Pierce, 4:38/1600, 10:33/3200)
The Frosh-Soph City XC Champ had a solid Track season finishing 3rd in the F/S 1600, running the 2nd best time in that event for Freshman in the City. Valencia showed incredible range running a 55 second 400 all the way to a 10:33 3200. He will no doubt be a major contributor to his team at the Varsity level this season.

5) Jiovanny Orelus -- Hollywood (2:07/800, 4:42/1600, 10:11/3200)
Orelus did not run XC but had a great Track season for a school that hasn’t been known to produce great distance runners. He was one of four runners (three Freshman) to qualify for the F/S 800, 1600, and 3200 m finals. He placed 3rd in the 3200 with a solid 10:11. Orelus could be in contention for the D2 (or D3?) XC City Championship.

6) Jonathan Amiri – Palisades (20:00/Pierce, 4:40/1600, 10:23/3200)
Amiri was arguably the best improver from XC to Track this year. He placed 67th out of 72 in the F/S XC City Finals but finished 5th in the 1600 and 7th in the 3200 at the F/S Track City Finals. Could he drop over 3 minutes and become a key scorer for Palisades this upcoming season? It’s very likely.

7) Daniel Morales – Bravo (2:08/800, 4:45/800, 10:21/3200)
Like Orelus, Morales did not run XC but managed to qualify for the F/S 800, 1600, and 3200 finishing no worse than 8th in each event. Even more impressive was the fact that he PR’ed at the biggest stage in all three events. Look out for him to be a factor for Bravo in the Fall.

8) Finn Cawley – Palisades (17:15/Pierce, 2:08/800, 4:51/1600)
Cawley is the third runner from Palisades on the list making their group of Frosh arguably the best in the City. After placing 4th individually at F/S City Finals in XC, he continued his progress on the track but narrowly missed out on making it to Finals in both the 800 and 1600. He could be a scorer for the young Palisades team this upcoming season.

9) Abraham Martinez – Monroe (17:58/Pierce, 4:54/1600, 10:29/3200)
Martinez had a solid Freshman year in both XC and Track recording sub-18 and 10:30 efforts. He was one of three Monroe F/S runners in the 3200 and part of the young generation hoping to make it onto the Monroe’s Varsity team which will be one of the hardest to make this upcoming season.

10) Richard Gibson – El Camino Real (17:54/Pierce, 2:16/800, 4:46/1600)
Gibson finished in the top 20 in XC at F/S City Finals and focused on the 1600 in Track where he ran a PR of 4:46 to place 10th at City Finals at the F/S level. He progressively improved and PR’ed every race which is a testament to the ECR Coach being able to develop his young runners. Gibson will fight for a Varsity spot on ECR which will probably require at least a mid-16 at Pierce. If he doesn’t make it, he will definitely be a contender for the F/S XC City Champ.

Honorable Mentions:
Jacob Salzman – Chatsworth (17:21/Pierce, 2:28/800, 5:08/1600)
Marlon Quintanilla -- Fulton College Prep (17:21/Pierce)
Eric Gutierrez – Santee (17:52/Pierce, 4:50/1600, 10:42/3200)
Moses Merino – Birmingham (17:28/Pierce, 10:59/3200)
Abel Rodriguez – Birmingham (17:41/Pierce, 2:14/800, 4:50/1600)
Aleja Fernandez-Ramirez – El Camino Real (20:09/Mt. Sac, 4:48/1600, 10:49/3200)
Jacob Lee – Granada Hills (18:32/Pierce, 2:11/800, 4:50/1600)
Erick Flores – Kennedy (18:48/Pierce, 4:49/1600, 11:35/3200)

I will try to have the Junior list done by Saturday.

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