BATON ROUGE, La. — Two weeks ago, Laurence Jackson was in Iowa, putting on an unscheduled clinic for the best junior wrestlers in the United States.
Jackson, a two-time California State champion from Santa Monica High School, won 19 matches to claim the freestyle and Greco-Roman titles.
But Friday afternoon at Sports Festival VI, Jackson got a lesson from 24-year-old Brian Canali of Sunnyvale, Calif.
Canali took Jackson down in the first 15 seconds and scored a 13-0 decision at 1:24 of the first period in their Greco-Roman match at the Louisiana School for the Deaf.
Jackson avoided being pinned, but the bout was stopped, since Canali had built at least a 12-point advantage.
Things don't figure to get any easier for the 125-pound Jackson, who meets Eric Seward tonight and Anthony Amado on Sunday. Both men are nationally ranked.
"Jumping from high school to open, the wrestling is totally different," Jackson said. "These guys are stronger and have fully developed technique. I have a long way to go. He was so strong, he just took me down.
"I'm glad I was invited, though. This is a great learning experience and give me an edge in preparing for the Olympics in 1988."
Greg Strobel, the national teams director, said: "Laurence is the finest high school wrestler in the United States. But when you are that good, there is a natural tendency to think you've arrived. That you have no new horizons, and it's easy to win.
"This shows the younger kids, and we have four 17-year-olds here, that there is still a lot of work to be done. That there are new horizons. He saw a lot of ceiling, today, but he'll get better. He's a fine wrestler. But you've got to remember, he's a boy going against men."
National roller speed skating champion Jeff Foster of Alexandria, Va., failed to qualify for the final in the 1,000-meter event, finishing fourth in his heat.
Foster, 24, teaches electro-mechanics and often finds himself skating in assorted parking lots around the United States.
"The people will give me weird looks and come over and ask what I'm doing," Foster said. "But then when I explain, everything is OK. I suppose it does look kind of strange to see someone racing around a parking lot.
"I travel a lot in my job, and when I lived in Reading (Pa.), I forgot to get my license renewed, so for about a month I had to skate to work. That drew some stares."
Foster and his best friend, Bobby Kaiser, the reigning world champion, are expected to battle ball bearing to ball bearing in Lincoln, Neb., at the U.S. Nationals beginning Aug. 10.
"This wasn't the best surface, here," said Foster, attempting to explain his surprising finish. "They only coated it twice. The usual surface has four or five coats of plastic. I couldn't really get a grip and I was sliding too much. Next week, the surface will be friendlier and Bobby will be there, so it will be interesting."
It looks incredibly easy, but don't tell that to Mike Ricigliano of Hayward, Calif. Ricigliano, fourth in the world in 1984, said roller figure skaters can spend as many as 30 hours a week practicing the series of intricate movements.
"People don't appreciate it, but it's really nerve-wracking," he said. "You've got keep the line right in the center of you. One tiny variation, and it's good night."
One of the U.S. National coaches, Roosevelt Sanders, has watched every punch with a keen eye. For the moment, he has two favorites, Kelcie Banks, a 125-pounder from from Chicago and Loren Ross (178), a U.S. Army cook stationed in Ft. Hood, Tex.
"Kelcie has tremendous boxing skills," said Sanders, who lives in San Diego. "And from what I've seen he has true dedication to the sport. You don't have to drag him to the gym.
"If Loren stays in the program he could be very good. But he musters out of the Army soon, and we'll have to wait and see. But he's a solid puncher."
Another impressive fighter who Sanders didn't mention was Elvis Yero of Miami, the only amateur working with trainer Angelo Dundee. Among Dundee's most famous pupils were Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard.
Brian Ginsberg of UCLA finished second last in the men's all-around gymnastics competition. However, the sophomore kinesiology major had an excuse. He competed with a broken wrist, suffered two weeks ago in Tel Aviv.
Ginsberg, there for the Maccabiah Games, got sidetracked and was injured in a surfing accident, struck by his own board.