SAN DIEGO — A year that began with a peak for San Diego High School distance runner Marc Davis, when he won the Kinney National Cross-Country Championship, hit rock bottom Saturday at the San Diego Section track and field finals.
Davis stepped into a hole and injured his right ankle while warming up for the 1,600 meters. He managed to win the event despite the injury--coming from fifth place on the final lap--but was forced to scratch from the 3,200 and then announced that he was scratching from the state meet Friday and Saturday at Sacramento.
"I just couldn't run on it," Davis said, while watching the 3,200, his best event. "I had it taped up and tried to start running on it, I just couldn't. I couldn't run more than 5 or 10 yards before I had to stop. I'm watching my end-of-the-season race."
Davis' announcement that he was scratching from the 1,600 in the state meet was good news for Ramona's Jorge Castro, the 1986 section 1,600 champion, who was edged at the tape by Patrick Henry's Andy Davis for third place and the final qualifying position for the state meet.
Davis could have waited to see if the ankle would improve during the week, but if it didn't, it would be too late for Castro.
"What do you do in a situation like this?" Davis said. "Jorge is my friend. I don't know."
But before the meet was over, he had made his decision.
"I'm appreciative more than anything," Castro said. "I feel like he has a lot of respect for me. I feel like he could have run. Him doing that shows a lot of respect. He and his coach came up to me and said, 'Good luck in the state meet,' and than he went to the press box (to make the announcement).
"It was important to me to come out and do well, I wanted to go to the state meet."
Davis showed no sign of the injury in the 1,600, where he blazed to a 59-second first lap to lead the pack by 10 yards. By the second lap, however, Davis dropped to third place behind Castro and Crawford's Goshu Tadese. Davis tried to make a move to get ahead in the third lap, but Tadese held him off.
By the time the pack came around for the bell lap, Davis had fallen to fifth place behind Castro, Andy Davis, Fallbrook's Jason Martin and Tadese.
Andy Davis took a brief lead down the backstretch, but when the group headed toward the second-to-last turn, Marc Davis made his move, kicking past the group into first place around the turn. He pulled away, glancing over his shoulder once, and then coasted in at 4:14.90.
"I think I aggravated it," Davis said. "I'm not saying that I'm mad that I went out and did it. It's the first CIF (Section) medal I've won. At least I went out with a gold."
Said Martin: "I knew he was going to do it. I was waiting to see him go past me. He was by me before we hit the curve and he runs the curves better than anybody. By than it was too late to catch him."
Martin (4:16.06) had also pulled ahead of Andy Davis before the curve, leaving Davis and Castro to battle for the final spot for the state meet. They ran in stride, gritting their teeth as they reached the tape, which they both lunged at simultaneously, falling to the ground. They finished with identical times, 4:17.12, but the photo showed Davis a narrow winner.
"When I got in front, I thought, 'I gotta go,' " Andy Davis said. "I should have gone faster but I was fighting into the wind. Once they passed me, I felt like dying. This is what I wanted, the mile."
The effects of the 1,600 were evident in the 3,200. With Marc Davis out of the race, Martin, Andy Davis and Tadese were considered the favorites. But by mid-race, both Martin and Andy Davis had dropped out and Tadese was struggling in the middle of the pack and didn't finish in the top six.
Helix's Trevor Drummond ran away from from San Dieguito's Clark Sandknop and Mount Miguel's Pat Higuera in the final lap to win in 9:18.62. Sandknop was second (9:26.26) and Higuera third (9:32.67).
Monte Vista's Matt Farmer won the high jump (6-feet 8-inches) and the long jump (23-10) and was second in the triple jump (47-4) to Crawford's Lou Coons (47-11 1/2). Farmer was selected as the boys' athlete of the meet.
The girls' athlete of the meet was Lincoln's Michelle Outlaw, the meet's only triple winner, taking the long jump (18-0 1/2), 100 hurdles (14.40) and 300 hurdles (46.35).