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STATE TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS : Parrish Flies With Greatest of Ease


NORWALK — What if Marina's Tony Parrish didn't have a stress fracture in his left foot? What if he hadn't turned his head in midair to see how far he had jumped? What if the wind hadn't been gusting? What if he jumped more than once during the State meet triple jump preliminaries Friday night at Cerritos College?

Maybe Parrish thrives on adversity. Or maybe he simply loves jumping at Cerritos. In the end, the circumstances surrounding Parrish's only jump Friday weren't as startling as the distance he covered, a wind-aided 51 feet.

It would have been the second-best jump in Orange County history and the third-best in the nation this year if not for a trailing wind of 2.1 meters-per-second, over the allowable 2.0.

Instead, it simply gave Parrish the top qualifying jump going into today's final.

"I feel I can go farther," said Parrish, last year's State meet champion. "Even today, I feel I could go farther."

Better to save something for today, Parrish figured, and he headed home quickly to ice his injured foot.

"I like jumping here," he said before leaving. "I like the pit. I get out there and just turn on the adrenaline."

Parrish knew he had a big jump and that might have hurt him when he landed in the pit.

"I looked over in the air and saw myself passing 49 (feet) and I got a little excited and probably ended the jump a little sooner than I should have," he said of sneaking a peak at the distance board that sits beside the pit to aid spectators.

With one noteworthy exception, all of the top county athletes advanced to today's finals, although no one performed as spectacularly as Parrish.

Christie Engesser of Ocean View won her heat of the girls' 800 meters in 2 minutes 14.92 seconds. Engesser faces a tough challenge from Miesha Marzell of Oakland Bishop O'Dowd and Sherron Rhetta of Long Beach Poly today.

Marzell defeated Engesser in the State meet last year and Rhetta defeated Engesser in the Masters meet last week.

"This is my last time out here and I just want to have a good race," said Engesser, a senior who will run at Oregon next season.

Foothill lowered the county boys' 1,600-meter relay record for the second consecutive week, dropping from 3:15.09 last week to 3:14.99. The Knights had the third-best qualifying time, however.

Bakersfield, which defeated Foothill, ran 3:14.48 and North Salinas, with a 45.3 anchor leg by Calvin Harrison, lowered its season-best to 3:14.73.

Chad Peare of Trabuco Hills qualified in the discus (170-10) and shotput (56-3).

Gary Van Sluis of El Modena qualified in the pole vault, clearing a personal-best 15-4.

High jumpers Tina Bowman, Misty May and Kala Ross qualified as did Gina Heads in the discus and shotput, keeping Newport Harbor's faint hopes alive for the girls' team title.

Katella's Kevin Carlson, who cleared 7-0 to win the Division II high jump championship two weeks ago, failed three times at 6-6 and did not advance.

Meet Notes

The county will be well-represented in the boys' and girls' 3,200 meters, the only events without qualifying heats. Jaime Martinez of Orange, Shawn Frack of Esperanza and Mike Love of Katella will run in the boys' race. Kim Nelson of Canyon, the Masters meet champion in 10:48.13, Kelly Campbell of Corona del Mar and Elyse Homberger of Edison will be chasing Milena Glusac of Fallbrook, the national leader at 10:26.72, in the girls' race.

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