When Bryan Dameworth of Agoura ran a 15:32 at the Southern Section cross-country preliminaries on Saturday, he established himself as a co-favorite for the 2-A title with defending champion Chris Lugo of Valencia and Walnut sophomore Scott Hempel.
Dameworth became the fastest in the division and set a freshman course record. His time also was 20.9 seconds faster than he ran at the Mt. SAC Invitational two weeks earlier.
He said a front-running race tactic and better health made the difference.
He stayed within the pack at the Mt. SAC event, but he didn't like it. "I never got into my rhythm," he recalled.
Since he complained of extreme fatigue three weeks ago, his stepfather and coach, Bill Duley, has fortified his diet with iron supplements, and the results have been obvious.
"I've felt much stronger the last two races," he said.
His strategy for the Southern Section finals will be simple: "I'll go out fast and try to put the pressure on the other runners early in the race."