Chewuakii Knighten says the nickname Choo-Choo doesn't give her an advantage when she's in training.
However, the Locke senior running star is right on track for a big season after setting a national high school record in the 500 yards at the Sunkist Invitational Friday night. Her time of 1 minute 4 seconds broke the old mark of 1:04.1 set by Denean Howard of Granada Hills in 1981. It also equaled the seventh-best time in the world.
Knighten said her first reaction was one of astonishment, not joy.
"No, I was very surprised," said the defending champion in the state 400-meter event. "I was surprised more than anything because the heat I was in was slow and I had to push myself more. I really didn't think I had a chance. I really didn't think I could do it.
"When they announced it, I was kind of shocked."
With talented guard Carlton Davenport passing out assists to Santa Monica's jumping triplets--Sean Newman, J.D. Green and Spencer Henderson--the Vikings, the three-time defending champions in the Bay League, could give Glendale a run for its money when the Southern Section 4-A basketball title is determined in March.
West Torrance Coach Dan McGee is impressed.
"They're the best team I've seen in years in the Bay League," McGee said. "They have so much talent. I've been coaching for 20-some years and talent- and depth-wise, they're the best I've seen."
Coach Cliff Hunter knows his team is good. How good remains to be seen.
"We have excellent potential, but one of our problems is inconsistency," he said. "Once we play with intensity for four quarters, we can be very good. Right now, we're doing it for about a minute at a time."
Add Santa Monica: Asked why he enjoys assists more than scoring, Davenport, perhaps the best point guard in Southern California, replied: "I dish it off especially on the break because I love to see the dunk. My boys can dunk and I love to see them throw it down."
With about a minute left in his match against Richard Bailey of Valhalla in the Five Counties wrestling meet at Fountain Valley, Frank Trujillo of Covina looked more dead than alive. He lay sprawled on the mat as his coach, Mark Haygood, gently massaged a heat cramp during a timeout. But Trujillo was only playing possum.
"My leg had really cramped up, but I wasn't going to quit," Trujillo said. "I just kept thinking about last year in the state semifinals, how he had beaten me, 2-1. I kept on thinking how he had kept me out of the finals. I wanted to be there, but I wasn't.
"I had to redeem myself."
Trujillo not only came back to life, he scored a neat two-point reversal to edge Bailey, 4-2, for the 121-pound final. Trujillo, a three-time state place-winner, but never a champion, plans to rectify the oversight.
"My goal is to win the state," Trujillo said. "If I can stay relaxed in the big matches I can do it."
Five Counties' footnotes: Santa Monica's Laurence Jackson extended his winning streak to 64 straight with a 7-2 victory over Mike Dallas of Bakersfield's Foothill.
Foothill Coach Seymour Nerove, whose son, Darell, was a state champion in 1983, was impressed with Jackson. "He is so quick and keeps such tremendous body position that it's impossible to get in on his legs," Nerove said. "He's very special."
One of the referees was Art (Boom Boom) Mihalik, the football coach at Los Amigos. Mihalik got his nickname during his pro career with the San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers. He moved into professional wrestling for a simple reason.
"My first football contract was about $5,000," said Mihalik, who still looks fit enough to get into the ring with world champion Hulk Hogan. "In wrestling I doubled that, easy. We used to wrestle up and down the West Coast, I enjoyed it. Today, the fans expect more showmanship. Then, it was more wrestling."
Twenty-one former California preps played in Super Bowl XIX. My MVP was Dana McLemore. The former Venice High star's five punt returns for 50 yards gave the 49ers excellent field position all day.
I have to admit, though, there was strong sentiment for Jennifer Wallace, formerly of Redondo High, who will soon become the third Mrs. Joe Montana.
Runner-up was 49er defensive back Ronnie Lott, formerly of Eisenhower, who helped defuse Miami's Marks Brothers, Clayton and Duper.
Add Clayton: Nancy Clayton, who plays for Locke's basketball team, attended the Super Bowl and saw her brother after the game. She said he was down in the dumps, but Nancy didn't offer much solace, indicating to anyone who would listen that she knew the Dolphins were going to lose.
"Mark got pretty upset about that," Nancy said. "He kept on telling everyone that his own sister had figured they were gonna lose. I don't think he liked that.
"He had his heart set on winning. He called last week and told me they were gonna do it. He was figuring out what size his ring finger was. But he should have asked me. I knew their defense was too weak, and you can put that in capital letters, to win."