With career-bests of 5 feet 10 inches in the high jump, 14.95 seconds in the 100-meter high hurdles, 17-9 in the long jump and 34-11 in the shotput, Liz Giltner of Chaminade High has the potential to be a national-class heptathlete.
The recently crowned state champion in the girls' high jump will be the first to admit, however, that she still has much to learn about the mental part of the two-day, seven-event endeavor.
Specifically, Giltner must learn to put a poor effort in an event behind her before moving on to the next one. An inability to do that proved costly Saturday when she finished ninth in the USA Track & Field junior championships in Ohio.
Giltner, senior-to-be, was in fifth place with 2,962 points after the first day of the heptathlon. But after opening the second day with a sub-par effort of 16-8 in the long jump, she fell apart in the javelin, where her 79-1 3/4 effort was well short of her career best of 114-10.
"Instead of relaxing I was getting all tensed up and it affected my throwing," she said. "I couldn't keep my form. I kept dropping my shoulder and as a result, the javelin was nose-diving way before it should have."
Giltner finished with a solid 2:44.14 clocking in the 800, usually her weakest event, but her 4,435-point total was well off her career-best of 4,799 set last summer.
The 5-10 Giltner was never in the hunt for a top-two finish after a 31-10 3/4 effort in the shotput, the third of four events on the first day. Muscle spasms in her right hip didn't help matters, but she refused to use that as an excuse.
"I was definitely in good physical shape," she said. "It was a matter of being able to let go of one event and move on to the next. I wasn't able to and that hurt me. You have to be able to do that in the heptathlon and I didn't. . . . But it was good learning experience. It should help me in the future."
There was no stunning performance from Kadrina Coffee of Palmdale High in the junior championships this year as she timed 55.50 in her heat of the 400 and failed to advance to the final.
Coffee, who will be a junior, ran 53.96 to place second in the 1995 meet after entering the competition with a career-best of 55.20.
"I just didn't get out as fast as I needed to," Coffee said. "I needed to get out in the first 200 to run fast and I didn't do that."
Kim Mortensen, who set a national high school record of 9 minutes 48.59 seconds in the 3,200 meters for Thousand Oaks High in the Southern Section Masters Meet in May, was named Gatorade girls' national high school track and field athlete of the year Wednesday.
The UCLA-bound Mortensen is the second Thousand Oaks athlete to win the award.
Marion Jones, who won a record nine individual state titles, won the award in 1992 and '93. Jones also won it in 1991 as a sophomore at Rio Mesa High before transferring to Thousand Oaks.
Mortensen, the 1995 national cross-country champion, was undefeated outdoors.
Westlake High ended its search for a baseball coach by promoting interim Coach Chuck Berrington.
Berrington, 31, assumed control of the Warriors in April after first-year Coach Dave Wilder was fired for misstating his employment history.
Berrington, a 1983 graduate of St. Bonaventure High and former player for Moorpark and Oxnard colleges, will remain a walk-on.
"I feel great," Berrington said. "I've told most of the kids and they're overjoyed. I think we're going to move ahead in the right direction."
Contributing: Vince Kowalick.
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Independence Day 5K Run
* When: Today. Kids' 1-kilometer fun run, 8:30 a.m.; 5K walk, 8:45; 5K run, 9.
* Where: All three events start and finish at Newhall Memorial Park, 24923 N. Newhall Ave., Newhall. The courses for the 5K run and walk are different.
* Cost: For the 5K run, $15 with T-shirt, $10 without. For the 5K walk, $6 with T-shirt. Kids' fun run is free. Registration starts at 7 a.m.
* 1995 5K run winners: Men: Mark LaPlant, 15:03; Women: Tracy Rose, 17:39.