Until the race begins, Mark Gonzales of La Habra High School is unconcerned with his cross-country competition. Gonzales said he didn't know who he was running against in the state Division II cross-country championships in Fresno Saturday, he just planned to stay close to the leaders.
"I'm not all into knowing what other people run," Gonzales said. "I just go out there and run what I want to run.
"I don't get home and read, so-and-so did this and so-and-so did that. I don't worry about what other people do."
At the state championships, Gonzales, The Times' Athlete of the Week, beat all but one of his opponents. He flirted with the title before finishing second behind Kevin Berkowitz of Hayward High. Gonzales and Berkowitz broke away from the lead pack at about the two-mile mark, but Berkowitz outkicked him to win the 5,000-meter race in 15 minutes 19 seconds.
"I would have gone (with him) if I had something left," Gonzales said. "I tried to go but I just didn't have anything."
Gonzales, a junior, finished in 15:31--the fastest time for an Orange County runner--17 seconds faster than San Clemente's Mike Farrell and Saddleback's Eddie Salinas, who finished with the same time, 15:48, in 18th and 19th place respectively in the Division I race.
Gonzales, a junior who was undefeated in La Habra dual meets this year, won the Southern Section 3-A preliminary race earlier this month, but was disappointed by a 10th-place finish in the final, a placing which barely qualified him for the state meet.
"I knew I did really bad (at the Southern Section finals) so I planned on doing better," Gonzales said. "I just waited to finish in the top 10 at state."
Mark Gaw of Mission Viejo rushed for 164 yards and a touchdown in 12 carries to help the Diablos to a 34-6 victory over Dominguez in a Division II playoff game Friday. Gaw also caught a 67-yard touchdown pass from Tim Snowden.
Tim Manning of Trabuco Hills rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 158 yards and another score as the Mustangs defeated Cabrillo, 35-21, in a Division VIII playoff game Friday.
Dave Potl of Capistrano Valley gained 112 yards on five catches, including one for the Cougars' final touchdown--a 55-yarder--in a 44-12 victory over Santa Ana in the Division III playoffs Friday.
Donnie Smith of Edison completed 18 of 26 passes for 236 yards and ran for the Chargers' final two touchdowns in an 18-14 victory over Eisenhower in a Division I playoff game Friday.
Tony Solliday, the Capistrano Valley quarterback, completed 10 of 12 for 226 yards in the Cougars' victory over Santa Ana.
La Habra High School
* Position: Cross-country runner
* Height, Weight, Class: 6-0, 110,Junior
* Last Week: Gonzales finished second in the state Division II cross-country meet Saturday, running 5,000 meters in 15 minutes 31 seconds, the fastest time for an Orange County participant.
* Season: Gonzales led the Highlanders to a second-place finish in the Freeway League, going undefeated in dual meets.