Last year, Locke's Tesha Giddens false-started in the City final of the 100-meter dash. She was disqualified and went home disappointed and hurt.
Friday night at Birmingham High, she not only made amends but upset favored teammate Chewuakii (Choo Choo) Knighten to take the City 100 title.
The defeat was Knighten's first this season in high school competition. However, the evening wasn't a total loss for the talented senior who won the 100 low hurdles and the open 200 and 400. Her three individual victories, along with Locke's victory in the 1,600-meter relay--Giddens ran an impressive anchor leg--and Angie Sims' win in the 800, propelled the Saints to their second straight City championship, finishing with 76 points, 41 ahead of second-place Fremont.
In the boys' competition, Belmont, carried by distance star Roman Gomez, won the first title in the school's history after finishing second in 1983 and 1984. The City meet dates back to 1911.
Gomez, completing a grueling triple, won the 1,600, 800 and 3,200. Had he competed as an individual, his 30-point effort would have taken third in the team competition. As it was, Belmont totaled 44 points to 43 for runner-up Gardena.
The effort may intensify interest at UCLA, where Gomez would like to go in the fall.
"It's between them and Berkeley," Gomez said. "They told me they don't have any (scholarship) money, that it's all been used for sprinters and weightmen. I'd like to stay close to home, but Berkeley is good, too."
After finishing his 5,600-meter effort, Gomez was elated.
"I could go another mile," he said. "I was nervous when I started tonight, but now I feel great."
For Giddens, who has been in the shadow of her more highly publicized teammate, it was a vindication and a personal triumph.
"I said last week that I would be there," said Giddens, who is heading for Texas in the fall. "This feels good because last year, I felt disappointed when I false-started. I let myself down. But I came in with a more positive attitude this week."
Giddens' upbeat mood was hard to fathom since she had spent two days in the hospital with a nervous condition earlier this week.
"Choo Choo is a great runner," she said. "But it seemed that all the attention of the media and other people were always focusing on her. I just wanted people to know that I'm pretty good, too. My coach (Oliver Taylor) told me not to worry about the past. I just went out and ran."
Giddens roared out of the blocks and held off Knighten's lean at the tape, winning in 12.06 seconds. Knighten, who is going to UCLA, may have been bothered by a slight twinge in her hamstring, but she made no excuses.
"Tesha and I are competitors," she said. "She ran well. Now, I've got to come back in State."
The first four finishers in each event qualified for the State meet next Friday and Saturday at Sacramento.
Another surprise came in the boys' 100, where nearly everyone had written off defending champion Steve Broussard of Manual Arts. However, Broussard, who had been bothered by a hamstring, opened an early lead and was never headed.
"I worked on explosions all week," Broussard said. "I concentrated on my first 20, and it worked."
Fairfax's Danny Everett won the 200 and 400 and could be the favorite in both events at Sacramento.