Matt Strangio, left, and Christopher Middleton-Pearson (851) both ran under the previous Newhall Park 3-mile course record in finishing 1-2 at the De La Salle Nike Invitational. (Credit: Eric Taylor)
CONCORD - Jesuit senior Matt Strangio wasted no time starting his 2019 season off in
tremendous fashion this weekend at the De La Salle Invitational held at Newhall Park,
winning the boys varsity race in 14:42.3 - obliterating the previous course record by 17
"It was a great all-around race," Strangio said. "I got out hard -- (Bellarmine College Prep junior) Colin Peattie and (Dublin senior) Christopher Middleton-Pearson were up with me. Hit the hill pretty hard, just really me and Chris pushing on the top of that thing and getting down it really fast.
"Me and him (Middleton-Pearson) traded the lead until about two and a half, then I just kind of took it and pushed it from there. Finished with a big last 400, I think, to secure the win."
Middleton-Pearson -- who owns PRs of 1:55 and 4:09 on the oval -- came in second place just behind Strangio at 14:43.9, which is also under the old course of 14:59 set by Blair Hurlock from De La Salle in 2013. While the 3-mile course was partially altered from the past, De La Salle head coach John Pelster said the distance is the same as it was.
For Strangio, the win comes on the heels of a vastly impressive junior track season. Strangio won the 2019 California state title in the 1600m with a time of 4:08. Earlier in the spring, Strangio showed off his extensive range by running 1:55 in the 800m and 8:47 in the 3200m.
With the most recent accolade under his belt, Strangio has his sights set for the very top.
"Definitely for myself, win NXN as individual," Strangio said when asked about his season goals. "Break the course record there. And at Clovis [state meet], break that course record. And get the team qualified for NXN."
The battle for the boys varsity team title was a narrow one, as expected, with three of the top teams in the state (Bellarmine, Dublin and Jesuit) all competing against each other. Bellarmine just edged out Dublin 77-81 for the victory, while Jesuit finished in third with 145 points.
Outside of the main event, there were four other races on the boys side. In the junior varsity top 10 race, Dougherty Valley junior Ashraf Abdelmagid won in 16:17 while leading his team to a 42-52 victory over Bellarmine.Acalanes freshman Tyler Hunt won the frosh/soph race, which was a two-mile course, in a time of 11:09. Bellarmine took home the team title, narrowly defeating Jesuit 52-64.