Hart High will take aim at one of the nation's oldest high school records when the Indians compete today in the 6,400-meter relay in the Mt. San Antonio College Relays in Walnut.
Seniors Paul De La Cerda and Keith Grossman, junior Gavin Klinger and sophomore Brett Strahan form a Hart quartet that must average 4 minutes 15.1 seconds per 1,600 to break the converted national record of 17:00.6 set by South Eugene (Ore.) High in 1976.
The 17:00.6 mark is converted from a four-mile time of 17:06.6.
Strahan (personal best of 4:13.90 in the 1,600), De La Cerda (4:15.57), Klinger (4:16.7) and Grossman (4:22.4) will have to slice about eight seconds off their combined total time to get the national record.
The state and Southern Section record is 17:07.2 (converted) set by Lompoc in 1973.
"It won't be easy, but I think we can get (the national record)," Hart distance coach Gene Blankenship said.
Canyon, Hart's Santa Clarita Valley rival, will be favored in the boys' distance medley relay after running a national season-best of 10:16.07 at the Arcadia Invitational last weekend, and the Cowboys will be among the favorites in the 3,200 relay.
Junior Mike Wenz (personal best of 1:53.82 in the 800) and senior Charles Mansfield (1:55.97) are expected to run legs in both relays.
Camarillo junior Jeremy Fischer, who has a personal best of 7 feet 1 inch in the high jump, will try to redeem himself after finishing third at 6-8 in the Arcadia Invitational.
"I let the pressure get to me," he said. "But I think I learned from it. I just have to relax and not worry about the other guys."
Nordhoff senior Karen Bockel, an exchange student from Germany who finished third in the 1,600 at Arcadia, rates as one of the favorites in the Mt. SAC 1,500.
Marion Jones of Thousand Oaks, winner of the girls' 100, 200 and long jump at Arcadia, said Thursday that she might compete today, but she wasn't sure in which events.
Thousand Oaks Coach Art Green could not be reached for comment.
Several of the region's top distance runners, including Ryan Wilson and Amy Skieresz of Agoura, and Margarito Casillas of Hoover, will skip the meet.
Agoura Coach Bill Duley decided his team would not compete at Mt. SAC because the Chargers had dual meets Tuesday and Thursday.
Casillas is recovering from a cold that had hampered him at Arcadia. He finished ninth there in the boys' 3,200 meters with a time of 9:14.8.
The first event will start at 8 a.m.