SAN DIEGO — Marc Davis of San Diego High School is the national high school cross-country champion. Andy Davis of Patrick Henry has yet to beat Marc Davis, but he thinks he has a chance.
Andy's best time in the 1,600 meters (4 minutes 12.93 seconds) is only 1.57 seconds behind Marc's county-leading time of 4:11.36.
He'd love to change that against Marc Davis in the county track and field championships, which begin with preliminaries at Mt. Carmel High School Saturday at 3 p.m.
"If he wants to make this into a war, more power to him," Marc Davis said. "It will be Custer's last stand and I'm going to be the Indians."
Their rivalry is but one of the matchups expected at Saturday's preliminaries and next Saturday's finals.
Other matchups include: Lincoln's Patrick Rowe and Crawford's Raymond Ethridge in the 100- and 200-meter dashes; Serra's Lynn Patrick and Poway's Christy Kurras in the girls' high jump; Carlsbad's John Marugg and Torrey Pines' Paco Camarena, the county's co-leaders, in the 300 intermediate hurdles; Darla Vaughn of Mira Mesa and Michelle Outlaw of Lincoln in the 100-meter low hurdles, and Morse teammates Kim Matthews and Yolanda Fitch in the 200-meter dash.
The county's biggest rivalry is between Rowe and Ethridge. But don't tell them.
"It's not a rivalry," Rowe said last Friday after edging Ethridge in the 100 and 200 meters in the City Central League championships. "It's two top sprint athletes competing at their very best against one another."
Rowe, who holds a 2-1 advantage over Ethridge in the 100, displaced the Crawford runner as the leader in that event with a 10.4 at the Orange Glen Invitational May 1.
Ethridge's 21.4 is best in the county this season in the 200, yet Rowe (whose best is 21.5) beat him in their only head-to-head competition.
Before the 200, Ethridge said he was "going to give him a race," but when it was over Rowe came from behind to win.
Said Ethridge: "I've never had somebody come from behind me to beat me."
Win or lose to Rowe, Ethridge has already beaten his toughest opponent. Two years ago, a sophomore at Jacksonville High School in Texas, Ethridge broke his leg and severely tore his left thigh muscle in a motorcycle accident.
"A doctor told me that I would never have my speed again," Ethridge said. "I didn't believe the doctor. I worked and worked and started lowering my times. I didn't know I was going to be this fast."
After transferring to Crawford for his senior season, Ethridge encountered Patrick Rowe.
"We both push each other," Rowe said. "That's when you start seeing some really good times from both of us."
The Rowe-Ethridge rivalry may continue at San Diego State. Rowe is an All-American receiver headed to SDSU, and Ethridge has been encouraged by SDSU coaches to walk-on at the same position.
As for the Davis matchup, Andy Davis decided he had a shot at Marc Davis after the Poway/Pepsi Invitational on April 4.
"I can get him in this race," Andy Davis said after a narrow defeat at 1,500 meters. "I'm going to get him."
Marc Davis was a late entry for the mile run at the Orange Glen meet May 1. He said his coach pulled him out of class to talk to him about running in that race.
"Don't tell me he's running that race?" Marc Davis asked his coach. "He knew exactly who I was talking about."
That "he" was Andy Davis. Marc Davis won easily.
"I wanted it bad," Andy said afterward. "I thought he'd go out (fast) and I'd reel him in. I let him get away.
"I'd really like to beat him in the finals. That's where I'm going to show him that I'm tough and have speed. I want to be the mile (1,600) champion."
Meanwhile, Jason Martin of Fallbrook has slipped into the rivalry. Martin is only 2.12 seconds behind Marc Davis and .55 behind Andy Davis in the 1,600. Martin is Marc Davis' strongest challenger in the 3,200.
"He's all I'm thinking about when I'm training," Andy Davis said. "I wouldn't be mad if he (Martin) passed me and I passed Marc Davis.
"We both want to beat Marc. I know he wants Marc just as bad as I do."