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TRACK AND FIELD / STATE PREP CHAMPIONSHIPS : Harrison Moves North Salinas Closer to Title


Calvin Harrison of North Salinas High made up for lost time Friday during the first day of the State Track and Field Championships at Cerritos College.

Harrison, 19, who sat out last season because of a move, was the talk of the meet after he won qualifying races in the 200- and 400-meter runs. He also anchored the team's 400 and 1,600 relays, which finished second and first in their respective heats.

As a result, North Salinas is a favorite in the boys' team race, along with Merced, Pasadena Muir and Inglewood Morningside.

Today's finals begin at 3 p.m. with field events and at 4 for running events.

It will be a busy day for Harrison, a senior who could end up with four first-place finishes. Although he has performed well all season, most of the crowd of 8,000 at Cerritos College had never heard of him before.

Harrison started running track as a freshman at North Salinas, about 30 miles southeast of Monterey. Things picked up his sophomore year when he qualified for the state meet in the 200.

But a promising career was put on hold last year when the Harrison family moved to Orlando. Unhappy in his new environment, Calvin did not go out for track at his new school. Instead, he tried to figure out how to get back to California.

"Track wasn't that big of a deal down there," he said. "I wanted the exposure that good athletes get on the West Coast. I wanted back at my old school."

Harrison and his identical twin, Alvin, left their parents, two brothers and two sisters in Orlando and returned to Salinas to live with a friend. Alvin also runs track and the two resumed training last October.

Both have had success. Alvin runs on the relays and barely missed the finals in the 100 and 200. Calvin had the fastest qualifying time in the 200 with a 20.86 seconds. His 400 time of 45.83 is the fastest in the nation this season and barely missed the state record of 45.7 set by Chip Rish of Huntington Beach Marina in 1985.

Many observers wondered why Calvin went all out in the 400 instead of pacing himself for the finals.

"It is not in me to go out and just try to qualify," he said. "I can't run a 45 one day and a 47 the next. I have to run consistent and keep trying to reach new goals."

Proving his point, he ran a 45.3 split on the 1,600 relay to lead North Salinas to victory later in the evening.

Because of the move to Orlando, Calvin found himself behind in academic credits this year. He will not graduate on time and will attend summer school. He has a busy track summer as well, and will attend Hartnell Junior College in Salinas in the fall.

"I am just glad I was able to resume my track career and have some success," he said. "I never dreamed I'd have these kind of times. This is the first time in my life I've been focused."

In the girls' team race, Long Beach Poly put itself in position to defend its title.

Sophomore sprinters Andrea Anderson and Aninah Haddad each won their heats in the 100 and 200 and also helped Poly to victory in the 400 relay. Freshman Sherron Rhetta had the second fastest qualifying time in the 800.

Senior Marion Jones of Thousand Oaks qualified in the 100, 200 and long jump. The six-time state champion won the 100 in 11.28, the 200 in 23.12 and the long jump in 20 feet 9 1/2 inches. Neither time nor the jump were her best performances of the season, however.

Junior Suzy Powell of Downey set a state record in the discus of 176-7, breaking the mark of 172-11 set by Leslie Deniz of Gridley in 1980.

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