Thousand Oaks High track Coach Artie Green had reason to smile after Saturday's Southern Section championships at Cerritos College.
The Lancers, led by Staci Leach and Sharon Manship, turned in one clutch performance after another to place second in the 4-A Division.
Long Beach Poly, led by LaShawn McBrides' victories in the 100-meter low hurdles and the high jump, won the team championship with 62 points. Thousand Oaks followed with 51 and Riverside Poly placed third with 39.
Leach and Manship were everywhere for Thousand Oaks.
Leach won the 300-meter low hurdles with a personal best of 42.69, placed second in the 100 low hurdles with another personal best of 13.96, ran the third leg on the fourth-place 1,600-meter relay (3:55.10) and anchored the 400 relay (49.18) to a sixth-place finish.
Manship won the triple jump (37-9 3/4), placed second in the 300 hurdles (43.34), ran the anchor leg on the 1,600 relay and the second leg on the 400 relay.
Christy Farrell was also busy for Thousand Oaks, placing second in the 3,200 meters (10:47.39) and sixth in the 1,600 (5:05.87).
It was the third time that Thousand Oaks has finished second in the Southern Section championships. In 1978, the Lancers lost to Crescenta Valley by one point and, in 1980, placed second to Long Beach Poly.
Green said that Saturday's meet might have been his most satisfying yet.
"We came closer to winning it in 1978, but, we didn't have as many clutch efforts that year," he said.
"Staci and Sharon were in four events each and came through in every one."
Leach had been disqualified after her 300 hurdles victory for running out of her lane, but she was reinstated later after an appeal by Green.
"What else can I say," said Green, who announced his retirement earlier this year. "We did the best we could. They (Long Beach Poly) just had a better team. Everyone on our team came through."
Many of the other athletes in the Valley area could say the same thing. In a superb showing, Valley-area athletes won 19 events.
Dave Bultman of Royal continued his march to the state championships with victories in the 4-A shotput (61-3) and the discus (183-11). Bultman, a 6-0, 240-pound transfer from San Jose's Independence High, has yet to lose to a high school competitor from California this season.
Bultman led Royal to third in the 4-A Division. Muir won with 62 points, and three-time defending champion Hawthorne placed second (53).
Junior Travis Cooksey of Rio Mesa ran the fastest 800 in the Southern Section to win the 4-A final in 1:52.05.
Cooksey, who entered the meet with a best of 1:54.4, clocked 25.8 at the 200, 53.6 at the 400 and 1:22.4 at the 600-meter mark.
Oakwood sophomore Mitchell Butler, better known for his exploits on the basketball court, won the 1-A long jump with a 23-2 1/2 effort, the best mark in the Valley area this year. He also placed second in the triple jump with a 46-2 effort.
Freshman Bryan Dameworth of Agoura won the first of what may be many Southern Section 1-A titles in the 3,200-meter run. Dameworth was never seriously challenged after running the first 1,600 meters in 4:29.0. He finished in a personal best of 9:16.54.
Agoura also received a victory from junior Jenny Whelchel, who threw a personal best of 42-4 in the shotput.
In the boys 2-A Division, Erich Reinhart of Notre Dame upset his highly touted teammate, Tom Parker, in the pole vault. Both cleared 14 feet but Reinhart made the height on his first attempt, Parker on his second.
It was the second straight year that Reinhart had entered the meet as an underdog and won.
Crespi teammates Russell White and Steve Puryear also won 2-A events.
White bounded 48-0 1/2 in the triple jump and Puryear won the shotput with a 55-4 1/2. White also placed sixth in the 100 with a wind-aided 10.91.
Crespi finished fourth in the team standings with 34 points, followed by Morningside (61), Orange (42) and Victor Valley (40).
The Valley area had its disappointments. Angela Burnham of Rio Mesa, the defending state champion in the 100, pulled a hamstring muscle in the 400 relay and was forced to withdraw from the 100, 200 and 1,600 relay.
Desiree Joubert of Westlake, who finished third in last year's state championships at 800 meters, was spiked badly in her right foot during the 800 Saturday and failed to qualify.