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Upheaval Dictates Changes in Schedule : Events: College and high school games, track meets are postponed. Racing at Saugus Speedway is canceled.

May 02, 1992|JOHN LYNCH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

College baseball games, college and high school track meets and racing at Saugus Speedway have been either postponed or canceled because of the violence that has followed the not guilty verdicts rendered in the Rodney G. King beating trial.

The Northridge Open track and field meet and the Southern California junior college preliminaries, originally scheduled for today, have been postponed.

Cal State Northridge and Grand Canyon University have changed the format of their weekend baseball series at Brazell Stadium in Phoenix.

At Cal Lutheran, the school has stopped team travel for sporting events scheduled for this weekend.

Ray Wilkings, promoter at Saugus Speedway, said the decision to cancel the weekend program was made in compliance with the nighttime curfew imposed throughout Los Angeles by city officials.

"Even though we're not in the area affected by the curfew, we wanted to keep in line with what the Dodgers and Clippers were doing," Wilkings said. "We draw people from the affected area. (Racing at night) would go against everything the police are trying to do."

In addition, Wilkings said, several of the 18 off-duty Los Angeles police officers who regularly provide security for the track have been called to service elsewhere because of the rioting.

Scheduled for this evening were Saugus' Sportsman, Street Stock, Hobby Stock and Mini Stock divisions. Wilkings said it is unlikely that the program will be rescheduled.

The Northridge and Grand Canyon baseball teams originally were scheduled to play Friday and today at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. However, the Matadors' flight out of L.A. International Airport early Friday was among those canceled because of smoke from fires and the potential for danger because of rioting.

Northridge and Grand Canyon now are scheduled to play a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m. today followed by a single game Sunday.

The Northridge Open track meet has been moved to Monday at 2 p.m. CSUN administrators ordered the closure of the campus until Monday.

The junior college preliminaries at Santa Barbara City College have been postponed until Wednesday.

"There seemed to be some questions about whether some of the schools would be able to get their athletes up to Santa Barbara with school closed," Moorpark College Coach Doni Green said. "And the San Diego schools were concerned about whether they could pass through L.A. safely."

Northridge Coach Don Strametz expressed frustration over having to postpone the Northridge Open but understands the reasoning behind the decision.

"I feel really bad for (the athletes)," Strametz said. "Because I felt like a lot of them were primed to do some really good things Saturday. But what's happening is serious. . . . It's better to be safe than sorry. We just couldn't take the chance that things might get out of hand out here."

At the high school level, the Valley Pac-8 Conference track prelims, scheduled at Birmingham High on Thursday, have been postponed until Tuesday. L.A. Unified School District schools were closed Friday and most athletic events scheduled for Thursday and Friday were postponed.

The Cal Lutheran baseball team's three-game series with Whittier, originally scheduled for Friday and today, has been postponed until Friday and next Saturday.

The Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Assn. track championships, originally scheduled for today at Caltech, have been postponed until next Saturday at 11 a.m.

The Cal Lutheran softball team's doubleheader against Redlands, originally scheduled for Friday, has been postponed until 2 p.m. Monday at Cal Lutheran. The Regals' doubleheader against Pomona-Pitzer, originally scheduled for today, was postponed until Friday at Pomona at noon.

The SCIAC men's and women's tennis championships, originally scheduled for Friday and today, have been postponed until next weekend. The men will compete at Claremont-Mudd and the women will compete at Redlands.

Vince Kowalick and staff writers Mike Hiserman, John Ortega and Wendy Witherspoon contributed to this story.

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