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Morningside High Is a Repeat Defender : Track: The Monarch boys and girls defend their Southern Section Division III titles.


Morningside High sprinter Edward Turner had just completed a brilliant individual effort by anchoring the Monarchs to victory in the 1,600-meter relay at the Southern Section Divisional final Saturday at Cerritos College.

It was the fourth win of the day for Turner in the Division III final--the most by an athlete in any division. He also won the 100 and 200-meter dashes and the long jump.

But Turner seemed more excited that Morningside had won its second consecutive Division III title.

"The team championship means (more) because it shows our team unity and that we've been willing to work hard for each other," Turner said.

The Morningside girls added to the celebration by easily winning their fourth consecutive Division III title behind sprinters Tai-Ne Gibson and LaShawn Stringer and hurdler Nicole Thomas.

The Monarch girls finished with 82 points--42 ahead of runner-up Torrance--and the boys finished with 58 points to outdistance second-place Los Angeles Loyola by 15 points.

Turner's most impressive win was in the 200, where his time of 21.20 seconds was the top time in all divisions. He won the 100 in 10.61 and the long jump with a leap of 23-feet-5. The 1,600 relay team won in 3:18.23.

His younger brother, Mike, also contributed to the victory by placing second in the triple jump with a leap of 47-11 3/4.

The Morningside girls were led by Gibson, who won the 100 in 12.14 and the 200 in 24.64.

"It's great to win because this is the fourth straight year that we've done it and it keeps up our hopes of winning a state title," Gibson said.

Thomas, a freshman, won the 300 hurdles in 44.32 and was second in the 100 hurdles in 14.99. Stringer led a one-two-three Monarch sweep in the 400 with a division-record time of 54.88.

The Monarchs also had little difficulty in winning the 400 relay in 47.22 and the 1,600 relay in a division-record 3:47.64.

Torrance, which finished second in girls' Division III, was led by high jumper Kim Blankinship, who won her specialty with a leap of 5-7. It was the top mark in any division.

The Tartars' Anetra Washington placed second in the 200 in 12.38 and second in the long jump with a leap of 17-10 3/4. But she failed to qualify for Friday's Southern Section Masters Meet in either event.

Two other South Bay girls who won titles in Division III were Nikki Lawson of Mira Costa, whose 38-2 effort won the triple jump, and St. Bernard's Kamara Mayberry, who won the 800 in 2:15.49.

In boys' Division III, St. Bernard finished fourth with 28 points. The Vikings won the 400 relay in 42.84 and Joe Criner finished second in the 100 and 200.

Marcus Ferrara of South Torrance won his second consecutive Division III title in the 800 with a time of 1:56.04 and Bishop Montgomery's Martin Haynes cleared 6-6 to win the high jump.

Ferrara's also qualified for the Masters Meet, a feat that eluded him last season. But he was suffering from nausea after the race and wasn't in a mood to celebrate.

"The guy at the finish told me I made the Masters Meet, but that wasn't what I wanted to hear," he said. "I know I've felt a lot better, but I got the medal and that's what counts."

The only South Bay winners outside of Division III were Leandrew Childs of Inglewood in the Division I long jump and Ricky Boyer of Serra in the Division IV 100 and 200. Childs had the top overall leap of 24-8 3/4, but Boyer did not qualify for the Masters Meet in either event.

Marquise Jones of Hawthorne qualified in two events, finishing second in the Division I 110 hurdles and fourth in the 300 hurdles. Brandon Crockett of Inglewood advanced by placing second in the Division I 100 and third in the 200 and Peninsula's Dan Minami finished second in the Division I 3,200 to advance to the Masters Meet.

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