Two weeks ago, CSUN track Coach Don Strametz was overflowing with optimism about the Matadors' chances of dethroning defending California Collegiate Athletic Assn. men's champion Cal State Los Angeles, but a rash of injuries since has caused his positive outlook to diminish.
"We were really looking tough," Strametz said. "But now, I just don't know. I'm worried more about keeping people healthy, about surviving, than I am about beating Cal State L. A."
Scott Schain and Dan Lange, multitalented weight men, were both injured last week.
Schain, a transfer from Glendale College who placed third in the shotput at last year's state junior college championships, ruptured a disk in his back when he picked up an athletic bag. Lange, the defending CCAA champion in the hammer throw, pinched a nerve in his shoulder lifting weights.
"It's really frustrating because neither of them were injured while competing," Strametz said. "Scott's was just a freak accident."
Though Lange placed second in the shotput at Saturday's Northridge Invitational, he is still bothered by his injury, and Schain might be lost for the season, according to Strametz.
"I'm keeping my fingers crossed," Strametz said. "I'll just have to wait and see."
Add CSUN track: Will James, the defending CCAA 1,500-meter champion and a Division II All-American, probably will redshirt this season because of Achilles' tendon problems.
James, the school record holder in the 1,500 (3 minutes, 43.42 seconds), has been hobbled by a sore tendon since the Division II cross-country championships in November.
"He hasn't been able to train consistently since then," Strametz said. "He's slowly getting better, but I don't want to bring him back too quickly and risk a serious injury."
Big numbers: Steve deLaveaga, who with 1,669 points is Cal Lutheran's No. 2 career scorer in basketball, needs 171 points to tie Gary Bowman as the school's all-time scoring leader.
DeLaveaga, a junior forward, started the season in 14th place among CLU's career scoring leaders. He became the first junior--and only the fourth player in CLU history--to surpass 1,500 points after scoring 20 against Cal Baptist on Feb. 2.
Ironically, deLaveaga overtook Dave Lareva (1,558) to become the school's No. 2 career scorer after scoring a season-low 15 points against Westmont on Feb. 9. DeLaveaga, who is averaging 27.9 points, has scored 30 or more points in 11 of CLU's 26 games.
The Kingsmen have two regular-season games remaining and must finish among the top six teams in the Golden State Athletic Conference to earn an NAIA District III playoff berth. CLU (14-12) is currently atop the conference standings at 9-3 going into its last week of play.
Oldies and goodies: Cal State Northridge is holding a reunion Feb. 27 for basketball players from teams in the 1960s. The festivities start at 5:30 p.m. with a dinner at the Tapestry Room in the student union building. That will be followed by CSUN's regular-season finale, an 8:05 home game against Cal State Dominguez Hills. After the game, the reunion will move to a local restaurant. Reservations should be made by Feb. 22.
Home, sweet home: The Moorpark softball team opened its season at home last Friday with a 5-3 win over San Bernardino City College.
But the Lady Raiders will not play on their home field again until March 11, when they play host to Ventura in a Western State Conference opener. In between, Moorpark plays nine consecutive road games.
Moorpark, the defending WSC champion, is not hitting the road in the best of shape.
A rash of injuries has overtaken three key players. Pitcher De Dow, first baseman Laura Detweiler and right fielder Tammy Ottino all have been bothered lately by pulled thigh muscles.
A few good men: Coach Don Green says CLU's men's track team might not have quite as much depth overall as in the past when the Kingsmen won 98 consecutive dual meets at one point. But that does not mean the Kingsmen are devoid of talent. Cal Lutheran should have at least a few strong performers this season, according to Green.
Among the top athletes expected to lead the Kingsmen are senior team captains Torii Lehr (discus) and Anthony Hardy (sprints). In addition, distance runner Pat Byrne, Mike Ecsedy (shotput) and freshman quarter-miler Darren Bernard could be strong factors in CLU's season.
Staff writers Gary Klein, Lauren Peterson, Mike Hiserman, John Ortega, Gordon Monson and Ralph Nichols contributed to this notebook.