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1997 GIRLS' TRACK AND FIELD / PREVIEW

Axton's Performances in Discus Are Worth Discussing

March 12, 1997|MICHAEL ITAGAKI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

FOUNTAIN VALLEY — Los Amigos senior Carrie Axton doesn't like to lose.

She has combined a tireless work ethic with her natural talent to develop into one of the top discus throwers in the state.

She doesn't mind spending hours and hours refining her technique in the remote corner of the school's athletic field, trying to gain any edge she can on her competition.

"I have no social life," Axton said with a laugh.

Her teammates see the results on the field.

"Carrie high jumps for us too," said Los Amigos Coach Steve Bolton, who works with the team's shot and discus throwers. "To give you an example of how competitive she is, at our last league meet last season, she decided she wanted to win our team MVP award.

"Now that's done on strictly how many points you earn for the team in meets. So in our last league meet, she ran the 100 hurdles--something she's never done in a meet--wins the race to help her earn the MVP award.

"That shows you what kind of athlete she is."

Axton made an impact immediately as a freshman. She was the school's first freshman to break the 100-foot mark, throwing 110 feet 6.

And she made waves with junior Luanei Esera and senior Spring Trammell, who held all the school's class-level records in the discus.

"Here we are, we have two good discus throwers already with Esera and Trammell," Bolton said, "and Carrie comes in and says to Spring, 'I'm gonna break your records.'

"All this from a little freshman."

And Axton was little. She still doesn't boast a hulking physique--she's only 5 feet 9--but she produces big results.

After setting the school's freshman record, she increased her personal best to 134-10 1/2 as a sophomore. Then she won the Masters meet last year with a school-record 150 feet.

"Coming in with Spring and Luanei around, it helped me a lot," Axton said. "When Coach Bolton wasn't working with us, both of them could help me with my technique and show me what I was doing wrong."

That tutoring helped Axton become the best discus thrower in school history.

"I think she can get to 160 and maybe by the time CIF and state roll around, maybe push it to 165 if the conditions are ideal," Bolton said.

The county and state records are held by Fullerton's Natalie Kaaiawahia, who tossed the discus 174-9 in 1983.

Although those records might be out of reach, Axton wants to defend her section and Masters titles, then challenge the defending state champion, Chaniqua Ross from Laguna Creek High in Elk Grove. The pair became closerfriends this summer at a throwing clinic at UCLA.

Bolton uses clinics as tools to expose his athletes to the teachings of local gurus, including UCLA's Art Venegas, Huntington Beach's Tony Ciarelli and Esperanza's Bill Pendleton.

Whatever Bolton is doing works. On the freshman-sophomore, JV and varsity levels for the boys' and girls' teams, Los Amigos has won every available league title expect two in the last five seasons.

"I'm not this great throw coach or anything," Bolton said. "I take them to the clinics because those guys know so much more about it than I do. It takes an athlete with the motivation to accomplish those things."

Axton's not lacking in motivation.

She played volleyball for four years and earned second-team all-league honors last season. Bolton has always encouraged her non-track sporting interests, but they still made him cringe.

"After she set her PR as a freshman, that same night she went out and severely sprained her ankle in a rec league volleyball match," Bolton said.

"As a sophomore, she wins the county championships on the frosh-soph level, then she goes to this fire-fighting competition and bangs her knee on a fire hydrant."

The resulting leg injury hampered Axton and she missed qualifying for the Masters meet by two inches that season.

And last season?

"Coach put me in a bubble," Axton said.

That didn't work completely. Axton threw 150 to win the Masters meet, but still wasn't 100% at the state meet, battling the flu and nerves.

Still, college coaches are taking notice of Axton's performances.

"It would be big deal if she can go to college on a scholarship and get an education," Bolton said. "She would be first in her family to get a college education. Now that would be something."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Girls' Track and Field at a Glance

Top sprinters and hurdlers: Angela Allen, El Modena, Jr.; Ashley Bethel, Mission Viejo, Jr.; Sarah Bonilla, Brea Olinda, Jr.; Kim Buccola, Mater Dei, Sr.; Christina Ciampa, San Clemente, So; Jackie Dix, Woodbridge, Jr.; Ebony Dozier, Western, Sr.; Noel Dula, Marina, Fr.; Adrianna Gallardo, Saddleback, Sr.; Sara McBee, Brea Olinda, Jr.; Alex McCarten, San Clemente, Sr.; Sunny Nicholas, Sunny Hills, Jr.; Maika Nelson, Brea Olinda, Jr.; Erin Sauchelli, Sunny Hills, Jr.; Mila Schulenburg, Irvine, So.; Lisa Stegmann, Dana Hills, Sr.; Amanda Shanklin, Santa Margarita, Jr.; Taylor Stokes, University, Sr.; Joey Tilocco, Orange Lutheran, Jr.; Alejandra Torres, Woodbridge, Sr.; Katie Zimmon, Edison, Jr.

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