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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Taft Doubles Up, Snaps Birmingham Win Streak at 82

Track and field: Three Toreadors each win two events as Braves are dealt first dual-meet loss in 11 years.

April 18, 1998|JOHN ORTEGA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WOODLAND HILLS — It's over.

After 11 years and 82 consecutive victories, Birmingham High's dual-meet winning streak in boys' track and field came to an end in a Northwest Valley Conference meet Friday at Taft.

Taft defeated Birmingham, 71-56, in a meet that wasn't as close as the score.

The Toreadors (4-0 overall and in conference), led by double winners Larry Jones, Chris Morgan and David Friedman, won the first 10 events in the boys' meet to take a commanding 61-25 lead with five events remaining.

"You have to give them their due," Birmingham Coach Scott King said. "They were the better team in every sense of the word."

Birmingham (4-1, 4-1) was stunned Wednesday when sophomore Julian Lambert, the anchor runner on the Braves' highly regarded 400-meter relay team, checked out of school in order to transfer to Westlake. Things got worse Friday.

Taft won the 440-yard relay in 43.3 to start the meet and Birmingham failed to finish when sophomore Jelani Nyann, a recent transfer from Valencia who was replacing Lambert, tripped and fell after getting the baton for the anchor leg.

Taft followed with victories by Friedman in the mile, Morgan in the 110-meter high hurdles and Kalfani Fields in the shotput to take a 20-12 lead.

The victories by Friedman, who timed 4:42.3 in the mile, and Morgan, a freshman who clocked a personal best of 15.0 in the highs, were huge for Taft because Birmingham appeared to have a chance at finishing 1-2 in each event and outscoring the Toreadors by a combined 16-2.

Instead, Taft outscored Birmingham, 10-8.

"The highs broke our back," King said.

So did the the 220-yard dash that came seven events later. Jones finished first in 22.4, followed by teammates Sedric Hurns in 22.6 and Blaine Bussey in 22.7.

Demetrus Patterson of Birmingham, the runner-up in the 100 and 200 meters in last year's City Section championships, finished fourth in 22.8 after a second-place finish to Hurns in the 100 earlier in the meet.

"We thought we had a chance to sweep the 220," said Jones, who also won the 440 in 50.7. "But the 100 boosted our confidence even more."

Taft had plenty of reason to be confident at that point because Morgan had won the long jump with a career best of 21-2 and Lawrence Jones, Larry's twin, had placed first in the 880 in 2:05.5 after moving up from the 440.

"We just wanted to keep them guessing," Lawrence Jones said. "We wanted them to ask, 'What is the other twin going to do.' "

The girls' meet was similar to the boys' in that Taft (4-0, 4-0) jumped out to a big early lead before settling for a 68-58 win.

Frances Santin of Taft won the 100-meter high hurdles in 15.4, the 330-yard lows in 46.3, the high jump with a personal best of 5-1 and ran the first leg on the Toreadors' victorious 440-yard relay team that clocked a season best of 48.1.

Birmingham (4-1, 4-1) had upset Taft last year, but Santin said she and her teammates were confident Friday.

"We knew we were going to win," she said. "And things came out pretty much as we expected."

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