The Notebook: At this point last week, Michael McCracken of Loyola was considered one of the top distance runners in Southern California. He had led the Cubs to their second straight Southern Section cross-country title in the fall, then come back to run the second-fastest outdoor time in the state at 1,600 meters.
Little did he know he would face the problem of being too good in two events.
At the Del Rey League track preliminaries last Tuesday at Loyola, McCracken turned in the best time in the Southern Section and the third best in California in the 800, an event that had never brought him much attention.
Only Vincent Thompson of Locke and Neil Fitzgerald of San Francisco St. Ignatius have done better, which made McCracken, the brother of former Loyola standout and current UCLA quarterback Brendan McCracken, a good bet to reach the state final.
Only thing is, he isn't even going to try. After conferring with coaches, McCracken decided that it would be better to concentrate on the 1,600 than trying to double with the 800 at the 2-A preliminaries Saturday at Cerritos College, especially since the races are only about 25 minutes apart. So he will stick with the 1,600 and also run the anchor leg of the Loyola 1,600 relay.
This week, he is taking a combined recruiting trip to Georgetown and the Naval Academy, then will visit Cal this weekend. UCLA has also shown some interest.
Even with McCracken, the most competitive event in the Del Rey meet had to be Friday's high jump.
Normally, the 6-10 effort by defending 2-A champion Mark Tilson of Loyola, a personal best, would have been enough to win the league title. But on this day, when third-place finisher Brian Robinson of Alemany went 6-6, it was only good enough for second place as Alemany's Dave Swanson came up with a personal best of 7-0.
Swanson, a junior, made the height on his second attempt, tying Jeff Novitzky of Millbrae Mills for the state lead. He then had the bar raised to 7-3 in hopes of breaking the school record but stopped after one miss.
Said Jon Dawson, the Loyola athletic director and assistant track coach: "Swanson cleared the bar at 7 feet by 2 1/2 or 3 inches. He is very legitimate."
Winners at last week's Southern Section diving finals in Irvine: Brian Earley of Mission Viejo and Krista Wilson of Mission Viejo in 4-A, Evan Cyhaniuk of West Covina and Patti Thompson of Temple City, both freshmen, in 3-A, and Daniel Nash of Trabuco Hills of Mission Viejo and Kellie McCabe of Agoura in 2-A.
The El Camino Real softball team tied the state record for consecutive victories at 50 with a 9-0 victory over Reseda Tuesday.
"Sometimes (the streak) can work to our disadvantage if we think too much about the record and not enough about the games at hand," Coach Neils Ludlow said last week.
"I haven't even mentioned the streak to the team. I know that sounds strange, but I just know that every time we play someone, they get all keyed up to beat us. I don't want to have have any kind of mental letdown."
The Woodland Hills school, led by pitcher Beth Silverman, shortstop Darci Stehlik and center fielder Lisa Mahl, is 14-0 overall and 9-0 in the West Valley League. Silverman, a sophomore, has been the winning pitcher in each of the games. Stehlik is batting .400 and Mahl .350.
Righetti of Santa Maria won 50 in a row from 1979-81.
Should high school athletes be required to take drug tests?
Former Huntington Beach Edison football coach Bill Workman, now the coach at Orange Coast College, started a voluntary program before last season, but a high school in Nebraska has taken it one step further by pushing for urinalyses for all athletes.
If the plan is approved--it received unanimous support from school board members last week--the once-a-year testing for alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines at Alliance High could start next fall.
Skip Olds, the school's athletic director and football coach, said he recently contacted two national organizations--the National Assn. of Secondary School Principals and the Coaches Legal Report--and was told that the plan is the first of its kind in the nation.
West Covina Edgewood, with first-year varsity Coach Sam Favata, finished in a tie with Covina at 12-3 for the Valle Vista League baseball championship but will go into the playoffs as the second-place team from the league since it lost two of three games to the Colts.