Were Friday night's Sunkist Invitational an election, you would need to count the absentee ballots to determine the winner. That's how many important people were missing.
It started with Billy Konchellah in the 880-yard run. Rather, it started without him.
No reason was given to the crowd of 12,003 at the Sports Arena why the 1987 world champion in the 800 meters missed the race. Meet chairman Al Franken said Konchellah was paid "several thousand dollars" in advance for running and making pre-meet television appearances, so the no-show was unexpected.
"It's sort of bewildering," Franken said. "I don't remember that ever happening with him."
Innocent Egbunike, the Azusa Pacific graduate who finished second in the 400 meters last summer in Rome, missed the 500-yard dash with the flu and a 103-degree fever.
Finally, the mile went without Steve Scott, the American record-holder in the event. When the public-address announcer told the crowd, or what was left of it by 10 p.m., that Scott was also home with a 103-degree temperature and the flu, there were some boos.
"We've been very lucky the past few years because we have had very few scratches," Franken said. "I guess it was the law of averages catching up with us or something."