SACRAMENTO -- Orange Coast College distance specialist Danny Dominguez put forth a final 400 meters for the ages as he rallied to shock the field and win the 10,000-meter run at the California Community College Athletic Association State Track and Field Championships on Friday afternoon at American River College.
Competing against the best distance runners in the state and some tropical weather conditions, Dominguez was a full five seconds behind San Bernardino Valley's Luis Ortega with one lap to go before finding a final-lap push that will go down in OCC history as one of the best in this event.
"With about 350 meters left, Danny went for it," OCC distance coach Marco Ochoa said. "He managed to pull away from his pack and go after the leader and he was able to grab the lead with about 40 meters to go."
From there, Dominguez and Ortega went neck and neck down to the wire and in the end, the Pirate standout crossed the finish line first with a time of 32 minutes, 10.88 seconds. Ortega finished second with a time of 32:11.83 and Santa Ana's Paulina Sanchez (32:15.4) took third.
"Danny ran the final 400 meters in 63 seconds ... runners that compete in the 1,500 rarely run a 63-second final lap," Ochoa said. "That was an incredible push from an incredible young man. What a great way to end his OCC track career."
On the second day of the meet, Dominguez competed in the 5,000 and nearly pulled off the same final-lap magic. With one lap to go, Dominguez was in second place, a full TWELVE seconds behind Hartnell's Jorge Sanchez when he turned on the jets yet again and went after the lead runner. With another solid final 400 (1:03.5), he shaved nearly eight full seconds off of Sanchez and settled for the silver medal with a time of 15:19.08. Sanchez (15:14.77) took home the gold, while Mt. San Antonio College's Manuel Fernandez (15:19.71) finished third.