Outstanding performances and close races should be the rule tonight when the Southern Section's best track and field athletes compete in the Masters Meet at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, beginning at 6 p.m. The first five finishers in each event will qualify for the State meet next Friday and Saturday in Sacramento.
In the absence of Hawthorne's Henry Thomas, who had an appendectomy last week, the boys' sprints and relays should be especially close.
In the 100 meters, Oxnard's Laurence Burkley, with a best time of 10.84, has a slight edge over Mike Roberts of Long Beach Poly (10.99) and Anthony Ford of Compton (11.00).
Hawthorne is the state leader in the 400 and 1,600 relays, but without Thomas, the 400 team may be knocked out of the state meet by Pasadena Muir, Compton, Oxnard, Inglewood Morningside and Compton Centennial.
Even without Thomas, Hawthorne's 1,600 relay team, which set a national record of 3:07.40 earlier this year and ran 3:13.20 to win the 4-A Division, is still favored to defeat Long Beach Poly (3:16.56), Muir (3:16.6) and Centennial (3:16.44).
The absence of another runner, Greg Whiteley of Irvine University High, has made both the 1,600 and 3,200 races wide open. Whiteley is the Southern Section leader in both races at 4:13.4 and 8:57.4, respectively.
Two juniors, Jim Zimmer of Simi Valley (4:13.48) and Charlie Van Wye of Santa Fe Springs St. Paul (4:16:23), and sophomore Raul Serratos of Sunnymead Moreno Valley (4:16.88) should make for a very competitive 1,600.
The triple jump exploded last week with six jumpers exceeding 49 feet. They were led by the Williams boys, Terrence of Muir at 49-10 1/2, and Tim of Riverside Rubidoux at 49-4 1/2. Junior Marcus Hooks of Lakewood is the section leader at 49-10.
In the girls' competition, Hawthorne should dominate the 100 and 200 with Tami Stiles (11.6 and 24.44) and Kim Grant (11.8 and 24.0).
Muir appears overpowering in both the 100 and 300 low hurdles. Carrie Franklin is the state leader in the 100 lows at 13.65, and in the 300, Lanetta Wilson and Lana Cantrell rank second and third in the nation at 41.87 and 42.58, respectively.