When Robert Brandt showed up as a freshman at Loyola, Coach Lalo Diaz remembers him as being about 5-foot-3. Now a senior, Brandt has spurted to 5-11 and is a contender to win championships at the Southern Section and state cross country championships.
At Saturday's Southern Section prelims at Mount San Antonio College, Brandt had the fastest time of the day, winning the Division 1 race in 14 minutes, 40 seconds.
"He's made incredible improvement," Diaz said of Brandt, who signed a letter of intent with California.
Saturday's finals at Mt. SAC should see Brandt receiving strong competition from Jake Odgen of Dana Hills and Phillip Rocha of Arcadia.
Burbank Burroughs had the fastest team time in Division I.
Another athlete to watch this weekend will be junior Austin Tamagna of Brea Olinda. He set the course record at Mt. SAC this season but was held out on Saturday after being stung by a bee. He'll be competing in Division 3.
In girls, Claire Graves of Citrus Valley had a time of 17:11 to lead qualifiers in Division 2. Great Oak is favored to win in Division 1.