So the Masters track meet is strictly for Southern Section athletes to qualify for the State high school finals? Someone must have forgotten to tell the competitors--Hawthorne's Robert Carroll, for one.
"I've never been this nervous in my life," Carroll told Corey Ealy, the Pasadena Muir sprint star, as he warmed up for the 1,600-meter relay. "Man, this is pressure."
And Carroll was one of the fortunate ones. With the fifth best time in the nation, Hawthorne was virtually guaranteed of advancing, which it did by finishing second to Inglewood Morningside. In fact, more people qualified in each event for Sacramento next weekend than did not--five of the nine starters.
So if you were looking for surprises, Cerritos College on Friday night wasn't the place to be. Instead, it was business as always, plain and simple. And often impressive.
Hawthorne led all boys' teams with seven qualifiers, followed by Muir with six and Simi Valley and Duarte with three. Thousand Oaks was tops among the girls at six, followed by Riverside Poly and Long Beach Poly with five and Pomona with four.
Individually, Ealy had his second straight outstanding outing, as if peaking at the right time. Janeene Vickers of Pomona again won all four of her events.
Maddette Smith of Quartz Hills found a motivator in Vickers and finished second at 100 meters and won the 200 and the long jump. Hurlder Dana Hall of Pomona Ganesha found a motivator in redemption and won both his events.
It was Hall, after all, who lost the Southern Section 4-A 300-meter intermediate hurdles race last week to Yke Vallery of Hawthorne, also at Cerritos College. He made up for it this time by running the second-fastest time in the nation this year in the 110-meter high hurdles (13.84) and then winning the intermediates.
"I was very determined," Hall said. "In my mind, there was no way I was going to lose that race. I was just too ready."
The others looked it, too.
Among Vickers' wins was a 41.01 in the 300 low hurdles, the sixth-best time ever in the event.