CdM's fast man: Hurst

Lane No. 2 is where Matt Hurst began the 400-meter dash last week at the Orange County Championships.

The lane isn't one most sprinters prefer. They like to be in the middle, lanes four through six, where they don't have to deal with the curve at top speed.

But lane No. 2 is where Hurst likes to be, inside, where he can see all the runners and catch them from behind.

Hurst started in lane No. 2, but he finished the race No. 1.

His winning time — 49.20 seconds — almost became the top mark in CdM's history. He was about a half-second off Vince McGuinness' 48.6 he set 30 years ago.

Before Hurst left Mission Viejo High, site of the OC Championships, he came home with a CdM school record. The junior ran a 21.88 in the 200, becoming the first Sea King sprinter to break the 22-second barrier.

In that race, Hurst finished second, though, barely losing to JSerra's Dante Pettis, who ran a 21.84.

Overall, it was a special day for Hurst and the CdM boys' track and field team. The Sea Kings placed fifth in the meet.

Hurst ran in four events, including the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. The relays, which Hurst anchors, finished eighth. The time of 3:31.18 in the 4x400 was a bit disappointing.

Two weeks prior to the meet, Hurst and his teammates, Troy Hardy, Tanner Love and Nick McGuinness, produced a 3:21.68 in the open meet at the Arcadia Invitational. The mark is the second fastest turned in CdM's history and this season is the 18th fastest in the state.

The 4x400 team finished almost 10 seconds slower at the OC Championships.

"We were all pretty tired," Hurst said by the time it was to compete in the meet-ending 4x400 relay. "We had guys in other events."

One of those was Hardy, who runs the first leg on the 4x400.

Hardy won the 300 intermediate hurdles in 38.35, a school record. But during the event, he hit a hurdle and wasn't 100 percent.

McGuinness wasn't either. He scored his team points in three individual events, taking third in the 300 hurdles (39.71), seventh in the 110 hurdles (15.51) and eighth in the high jump (6 feet, 2 inches).

There was talk whether the team should run the 4x400. Coach Bill Sumner said he wanted the relay to compete, at least to practice. The Pacific Coast League preliminaries and finals are next week at Irvine High.

On Wednesday, the Sea Kings wrapped up the league dual meet season at 5-0. Hurst helped CdM finish perfect with first-place finishes in the 200, 400, and the 4x100 and 4x400 relays at Beckman.

The Sea Kings are expected to claim the outright league title. Hurst remembers how they fell short last year as a dual meet against Woodbridge cost them.

"We have to finish strong," said Hurst, who plans to advance to the CIF Southern Section individual meet for the first time.

Hurst should make it in all four of his events, the 200, 400, 4x100 and 4x400. If it were up to him, he would add a fifth race.

The 100 is a race Hurst has always wanted to run at a big meet. Sumner has told him why he cannot every time the 100 comes up.

"We have a lot of sprinters already and you're our only 400 guy," Hurst said Sumner tells him, and his latest time, which ranks No. 24 in the state, proves it.

"The 400 is my best race. I've learned how to finally run it. I treat it like a sprint, run hard the whole way. I don't try to save myself for the end. I used to think I wasn't in good enough shape to run the 400."

Hurst has shown he can win the 400, even from lane No. 2.

Matt Hurst

Born: Oct. 26, 1995

Hometown: Newport Beach

Height: 5-foot-9

Weight: 145 pounds

Sport: Track and field

Year: Junior

Coach: Bill Sumner

Favorite food: Pasta

Favorite movie: "The Hangover"

Favorite athletic moment: "Running at [the] Arcadia [Invitational]."

Week in review: Hurst won the 400-meter dash in 49.20 seconds and placed second in the 200 in 21.88 at the Orange County Championships. His 200 time is a CdM school record.

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