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Daniel De La Torre does it his way

La Salle's senior cross-country runner finds redemption in winning a CIF State Division IV championship.

December 30, 2012|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • La Salle's Daniel De La Torre was named the All-Area Boys' Cross-Country Runner of the Year.
La Salle's Daniel De La Torre was named the All-Area… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

Twelve months of preparation, of regret and of second-guessing boiled down to 13 seconds for La Salle High senior cross-country runner Daniel De La Torre.

The Alhambra native trailed Sir Francis Drake’s John Lawson, the defending state champion, by that large margin at the two-mile mark of their three-mile race at the CIF State Division IV championships at Fresno’s Woodward Park on Nov. 24th in the season’s final race.

“When I saw how far ahead Lawson was in front of Daniel at the two-mile mark, well, you probably don’t want to know what I was thinking,” said Lancers Coach Fred Riley. “Daniel had put in so much work and had wanted to win so badly, thoughts began to race through my head of what I was going to tell him afterward.

“I really had no idea what I was going to say to him or his family.”

The cross-country season officially began Aug. 27.

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For De La Torre, the 2012 All-Area Boys’ Cross-Country Runner of the Year, as voted by the sports writers and editors of the Pasadena Sun, La Cañada Valley Sun, Burbank Leader and Glendale News-Press, the 2011 season never really ended, at least in his mind.

“I never really stopped training since the beginning of my junior year. I run track and cross-country, but I only take a month off in between,” De La Torre said. “I have goals that I set for each and I fuel my goals and dreams with my failures. Every time I’m up, I remind myself that I was down, too.”

De La Torre had a successful track campaign in the spring in which he was named the All-Area Track Athlete of the Year and advanced to the state meet in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs.

In this just concluded cross-country season, De La Torre claimed individual victories at the two-mile Fastback Shootout Invitational (9:38.34), the 2.08-mile Mt. Carmel Invitational (10:01) and the three-mile Bellarmine-Jefferson Invitational (14:26).

Yet each victory and each joy was constantly tempered.

Each win served as merely a little relief from a growing disappointment that stemmed from De La Torre’s effort at the CIF State Meet in November of 2011.

That season, De La Torre cruised to a Division IV title at the CIF Southern Section championships and was on a roller coaster of momentum that crashed before the one-mile mark at the state race.

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