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Second Place Medal For Moreno At State Meet
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Running into a stiff wind - and against equally stiff competition - Escalon's Amanda Moreno kicked it into high gear and claimed second place honors at the State Track and Field Meet in the 3200 meters Saturday in Sacramento.

The second place finish meant a medal for Moreno, who just completed her junior year at Escalon High School.

"Everybody thought she peaked as a sophomore," noted her coach, Rick Heflin. "But she made it back, and made it back with resounding success."

Moreno and winner Tori Tyler of Gunn High School in Palo Alto were the leaders early, said Heflin, setting a fast pace and sticking with it.

"She (Tyler) came out from the beginning and led the race," explained Heflin. "Amanda stayed second the whole time, they ran a fast lap to begin with, then put it into cruise control."

Though not known for a closing kick, winning most of her races by keeping a steady pace, Heflin said Moreno did some kicking at Hughes Stadium, as she and Tyler battled it out in the final lap.

Moreno pulled ahead on a turn and appeared poised to claim the state title, but Tyler would not be denied. She passed Moreno and used a lapped runner to block her out.

Then, eventual third place finisher Lauren Saylor of Buchanan also passed Moreno. That's when Moreno turned on the jets and found just enough left to get back into second place, edging past Saylor in the final few strides before the finish line.

"Amanda ran Saylor down and kicked past her for second," said Heflin. "She gave absolutely everything she had. I've never seen her sit down after a race before."

Moreno ran the race in 10:39.85, less than a second behind Tyler, 10:38.90 and just ahead of Saylor, 10:40.14.

"She wasn't happy with it," Heflin admitted of Moreno's time. "She wanted to be in 10:20s but she was kicking into a hard wind. It wasn't her best time, but it was not far off."

Wind speed during the evening race was clocked at 13 mph.

"The wind was horrible," agreed the soft-spoken Moreno. "That's probably what made my time so bad...I was not happy with it."

But the runner was happy to bring home a medal and said she felt good about knowing she gave it her all.

"I don't think I've ever given that much," she admitted of the final, all-out sprint to catch Saylor. "She started slowing down, I was just sprinting and it made it easier for me to catch her."

With the second place state medal for track, that brings Moreno's medal count at the state level to three. She won the Division IV cross country title as a sophomore and also took home a medal this year for her sixth place finish.

"It's a little different in cross country because it's just Division IV," she noted. "In track, it's all divisions."

That makes second place a satisfying finish, though Moreno said she does want to work on improving her time for the next event.

"I'll do some speed work on the track and probably one long run," she said of preparing for her next competition. "Get in a couple of good workouts. If I could break into the 10:20s that would be nice."

Heflin added he was pleased to see a number of fans turn out in support of Moreno in Sacramento, with family, friends and schoolmates making up the Cougar cheering section.

"It was a pretty cool evening," he said. "There were a lot of people there to cheer her on, that's always nice and she's a very gracious champion."

Next up for Moreno will be a Sunday, June 12 competition, participating in the Golden West Invitational in Folsom. That is a national meet, by invitation only.

"We were real pleased," Heflin added of the outcome on Saturday, with Moreno bringing home another state medal. "She ran efficiently, she ran hard."