NORWALK — Things did not look good for the San Diego Section for a while at Friday's State track meet trials at Cerritos College. A few injuries here and a couple of sub-par performances there cast a shadow on the section's hopes, which had looked so promising before the meet began.
But with some strong showings in the later events, things again look hopeful for the section to have one of its strongest performances in years at the finals, which begin at noon today with the girls' discus.
Brian Boggess of El Capitan High School was both one of the key disappointments early in the day and one of the bright spots at the end.
Boggess came into the meet as the second qualifier in the discus with a best of 191-feet 3-inches. Boggess' warm-up throws were all more than 180 feet, but the best he could manage was a 164-11 when the throws counted. He finished seventh among the nine qualifiers.
On his last throw, the announcer made an announcement just as Boggess was to release the discus.
Boggess was visibly upset.
"I heard him," said Boggess, who was throwing in front of few of the estimated 6,200 fans early in the day. "As soon as I released that last one, I knew I was dead."
He in a much happier mood after he threw 60-1 to qualify second in the shotput. That also made Boggess more hopeful about his chances in the discus.
"The discus taught me a lesson," Boggess said. "It taught me you can't be too confident and you can't think you're too ready. I was too complacent. With a different group, I might not have made finals.
"I felt a lot better in the shot. I'm going to take them one at a time tomorrow (Saturday). The discus may be more important. If I come back and win that, it will show I can come back from adversity and show what kind of competitor I am."
Many questioned Laura Chapel's decision to try to double in the 800- and 1,600-meter races. But after running strongly in two qualifying races Friday, the critics have gone into hiding.
Chapel had no problem winning her heat of the 800 meters. She hung back and did not take the lead until only 100 meters remained. Chapel's time of 2:10.92 was the second fastest of the day.
Denise Upsher of Torrey Pines improved her previous best time by two seconds and qualified third in the 800 (2:11.21).
Chapel got boxed in early in the first heat of the 1,600, but she went wide and finished with a group of four that was separated by only nine-hundredths of a second.
"I felt really good with the double today," said Chapel, who was fourth at 4:55.46. "I want to win the half so bad. We'll just see what I have left in the mile later in the day."
Darcy Arreola of Grossmont was second in that same heat. Arreola set the pace, as she usually does. But Arreola, who dropped the 800, said that her only goal was qualifying.
"I just took it easy," said Arreola, who ran a 4:55.38. "I felt like I could have run my fastest time if I had been pushed."
San Diego Section's best event was the girls' discus. Both Tracy Crawford of Southwest and Lori Parker of Ramona qualified, as expected. Crawford was the top qualifier with a throw of 150-0. But the surprise was Terri Mann of Point Loma, who, throwing the discus for the first year, qualified third with a throw of 146-7, 10 feet better than her previous best. Parker was the fourth qualifier at 142-0.
Crawford came back later and qualified third in the shotput with a throw of 42-2 1/2. Kartsie Leppaluoto of Madison was the fourth qualifier at 42-1 1/2.
That was the good news, but there was plenty of bad news early in the day.
Michelle Outlaw of Lincoln looked strong and was running second in the 100 low hurdles. But she hit the seventh hurdle hard with her trail knee and nearly fell. She finished second to last in her heat.
"That's the second year in a row," Outlaw said. "Last year I hit the seventh hurdle, too. I hit hard at Mt. SAC, but this hurts more than ever."
Outlaw came back with her knee heavily bandaged to finish third in her heat of the 300 hurdles with a time of 44.73 but failed to qualify for the finals.
An injury caused Yolanda Fitch of Morse to have a disappointing day as well. Fitch has had a problem with her right hip and she aggravated the injury during the 400 relay early Friday.
Fitch came back to run the 100 meters but finished last in her heat. She was forced to scratch in the 400 meters, where she figured to finish in the top six.
Sophomore Charles Huff of La Jolla had won the section long jump title with a jump of 23-4 1/2, but Huff did not jump farther than 22 feet and failed to make the finals.
In the girls' triple jump, the last event, Jackie Anderson of Mount Miguel qualified with a jump of 38-1 and freshman LaFrania West of Grossmont qualified with a jump of 37-9.