When 25 or so runners toed the starting line of the invitational boys' 3,000-meter event at the Mt. San Antonio College Invitational in Walnut on Friday afternoon, Bryan Dameworth was on the streets of Silver Lake.
The Agoura High team's bus broke down along Interstate 5 and delayed the Chargers for three hours 10 minutes, causing Dameworth to miss the 3,000.
"They didn't even send us another bus," Coach Bill Duley said of the company that had provided the vehicle. "They repaired the bus."
Dameworth, though, said he remained optimistic through the ordeal. The Wisconsin-bound senior jogged to stay loose in hopes of arriving at the race on time.
His optimism soon faded.
"I realized it wasn't going to happen so I started eating something and got ready for the (4 x 1,600) relay," said Dameworth, the state leader at 3,200 meters (8:53.85).
Dameworth's absence left the 3,000 wide open. Hector Arias of Mexico won in 8:28.21 and San Luis Obispo High's James Menon surged past Abe Valdez of Camarillo High with 300 meters remaining to finish second in 8:36.23.
Valdez, who was third in 8:37.19, said he was disappointed that Dameworth missed the race.
"I was expecting him to set the pace so we could get a fast time," said Valdez, who took a 10-meter lead after the first 200. "I really didn't expect to lead at first but no one went out fast."
The Scorpion senior led through a 4:34.5 split at 1,600 before Arias took over the lead 100 meters later.
Having finally arrived, Dameworth stormed a 4:11.9 anchor leg on Agoura's fourth-place 4 x 1,600 team (18:04.1).
Camarillo's foursome of Valdez, Josh Gerry, Shawn Goetzinger and Derek Kite, members of the Scorpions' state Division I championship cross-country team, clocked 17:41.91 to win the 4 x 1,600 by nearly 20 seconds over Hoover (18:01.45), coming within three seconds of the meet record. Canyon was third in (18:04.01).
Valdez and Gerry timed 4:24.2 and 4:30.3, respectively, after running in the 3,000. Goetzinger ran a 4:28.0 clip and Kite clocked 4:18.9 on the anchor.
"This is the first 4 x 1,600 they've run anywhere and it was real pleasing to see them come out and run that fast," Coach Mike Smith said.
Creighton Harris ran a 4:18.2 anchor leg for Hoover.
Burroughs middle-distance runner John Peebles came back to log a strong 1:58.8 anchor leg on the Indians' victorious sprint medley relay after he fell at the finish line in the 800 on Thursday in a dual meet with Burbank. Burroughs clocked 3:36.99 to edge Elsinore (3:37.98), Dos Pueblos (3:38.66) and Morningside (3:38.74).
Rafael De La Cruz and Jason Pitkin recorded 22.7 and 22.5 200 splits for the Indians.
It appeared as though Agoura was in for another mishap when hurdler Omar Castillo injured an ankle stepping off the bus at Mt. SAC.
Castillo had the ankle taped and ran a 15.8 leg in the shuttle hurdle relay to help the Chargers to a 1:05.09 heat win and a third-place finish overall.