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County : HIGH SCHOOLS

Coach: Fargas Not Told of Conference

January 22, 1998

Joe McNab, the boys' track and field coach at Notre Dame High, wants to set the record straight about Justin Fargas' nonappearance at Monday's press conference previewing the high school portion of the L.A. Invitational at the Sports Arena on Feb. 7.

McNab wants to make it clear that Fargas, the defending state champion in the 100 meters, was never scheduled to appear at the function, as meet directors Al and Don Franken had advertised.

"One of [the Frankens] mentioned the press conference to my wife on the phone, but they never talked to me," McNab said. "Nothing was ever finalized. . . . I don't want people to get the idea that we think we're better than everyone else. We're not like that."

Stronger than ever: Miguel Fletcher of Alemany, runner-up to Fargas in the 100 in the state championships last year, is in superb preseason shape, as evidenced by his 47.9-second clocking in the 400 meters in an all-comers meet at Cal State Northridge on Saturday.

The time was a personal best for Fletcher and gave him confidence that he'll improve his bests of 10.47 in the 100 and 21.06 in the 200 during the upcoming season.

"My goal is to [break 10.30] in the 100 and 21 in the 200," said the USC-bound Fletcher. "I think I'll be able to do that because I'm stronger this year and I'm going to work more on my start. I didn't [begin working on my start] until March last year. . . . I had a good finish and a good middle part of the race, but my start didn't come around until the end of the season. It shouldn't be that way this year."

*

Looking ahead: High school track fans should mark March 14 on their calendars.

That's the date of the Northridge-Alemany Relays at Cal State Northridge where Fargas and Fletcher are supposed to race each other in the 100 for the first time during the season.

Fletcher finished first and Fargas was third in the relays last year, but Fargas has won the last four races between the two, including the state championships in which he clocked a wind-aided 10.52 to Fletcher's 10.60.

BASKETBALL

Unexpected loss: The on-again, off-again athletic career of Poly's Steve Smith is off again.

Smith overcame academic ineligibility to provide a lift to the Parrot football team, rushing for 631 yards in less than half a season.

Smith expected to be a key member of the basketball team as well. He started the season as the Parrots' first player off the bench. But Smith and two other players are academically ineligible, missing a tournament in December and the Valley Pac-8 Conference season. The Parrots, expected to challenge for the Mid-Valley League title, are 7-9, 1-1 in conference play.

"It's been tough adjusting," Poly Coach Jay Werner said. "We were counting on those guys. Now we're learning to play without them."

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