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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | MT. SAC RELAYS PREVIEW

Rain Doesn't Make Field at Mt. SAC Grow Much

Track and field: Several of top performers from area will skip event despite postponement at Arcadia.

April 18, 1998|JOHN ORTEGA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WALNUT — Don't expect all of the region's top high school track and field athletes to compete in the Mt. San Antonio College Relays today.

A good turnout may have been anticipated after the Arcadia Invitational at Arcadia High was postponed until April 25 because of rain last Saturday, but that won't be the case.

Many of the region's leading performers--Miguel Fletcher of Alemany, Matt Lea of Camarillo, Bridget Pearson of Hoover, Frances Santin of Taft, Lauren Fleshman of Canyon and Schquay Brignac of Cleveland--will compete at Mt. SAC.

But others, including Dusty Herman and Elaine Canchola of Nordhoff, will run in the Russell Cup at Carpinteria High, and Demetrus Patterson, Tiffany Burgess and Ika Eliashvili of Birmingham will take the day off.

Justin Fargas and Rod Arzu of Notre Dame will run on Mt. SAC's newly resurfaced track, but only in the boys' 400 relay.

"I just don't want them to run too many races," Notre Dame Coach Joe McNab said of Fargas, defending state 100 champion, and Arzu, one of the region's top 400 runners.

Birmingham Coach Scott King is keeping his athletes out of Mt. SAC because Birmingham competed against Taft on Friday and has a meet against El Camino Real on April 24, a day before the Arcadia Invitational.

"It was just too much to ask of them," King said about competing in four meets in nine days. "We had to take a break somewhere."

The region still will be well represented.

Fletcher, state runner-up in the 100 last year, will try to win his second consecutive Mt. SAC title in that event and his third in a row in the 200.

Lea will try to remain unbeaten in the 400 against a field that is expected to include defending City Section champion Larry Jones and Blaine Bussey, both of Taft.

Pearson is defending state champion in the girls' pole vault, but a nagging lower-back injury might make it difficult for her to win her second consecutive Mt. SAC title.

Santin will be shooting for her first Mt. SAC title in the girls' 300 low hurdles and her first sub-43 clocking in the event. She also will probably run on two of the Toreador squads entered in the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays.

Fleshman ran in four events totaling 6,000 meters in Canyon's Foothill League victory over Hart on Thursday, but she'll limit her races to the 800 and the Cowboys' 6,400 relay today.

"The 800 is just kind of an experimental race," said Fleshman, whose specialty is the 3,200. "I'm not super serious about it, but I do want to run well."

Brignac, a freshman, cleared a season best of 5 feet 9 inches in the high jump on April 3 and could top that mark today while competing at Mt. SAC's superb high-jump facility.

The high school portion of today's meet will start at 8 a.m. and end at approximately 7:20 p.m. It will be followed by the international distance carnival at 7:30.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Track and Field

* What: Mt. San Antonio College Relays

* Where: Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut

* When: Today, 8 a.m. Sunday, 9 a.m.

* Tickets: $8 today. $12 Sunday

* Fast facts: Athletes from more than 200 high schools are expected to compete in the meet today, and five Olympic or world champions are entered in the international day of champions portion Sunday

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