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BOYS' TRACK ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Fletcher States Case

Alemany Sprinter Slips Past Rival Fargas One More Time

June 25, 1998|JOHN ORTEGA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MISSION HILLS — Miguel Fletcher of Alemany High and Justin Fargas of Notre Dame.

It was hard to mention one without the other when talking about the top 100-meter sprinters in the region the last two years.

So it should come as no surprise that when it was time to choose The Times' regional boys' track and field athlete of the year, Fletcher edged Fargas to earn the honor for the second time in three years.

The USC-bound Fletcher and the Michigan-bound Fargas, who are headed to those schools on football scholarships, split six meetings before the final of the state championships at Cerritos College on June 6. But when Fletcher finished second and Fargas placed third behind Long Beach Poly junior Darrell Rideaux in the 100 meters, the series and the athlete of the year selection went to Fletcher.

A second-place finish behind Long Beach Poly junior Kareem Kelly in the 200 only strengthened Fletcher's case.

"Placing second in the 100 again and improving my finish in the 200 were both important to me," Fletcher said of the state championships. "I feel good about those things."

The state championships ended a superb rivalry between Fletcher and Fargas.

They split eight races as juniors, but Fargas won the last four, capped by his victory in the state championships in Sacramento.

They took turns beating each other this year as Fletcher defeated Fargas the first, third, fifth and seventh time they raced and Fargas took the second, fourth and sixth meetings.

The Southern Section Division III final at Cerritos was the pinnacle of their rivalry, with Fletcher winning in 10.36 seconds and Fargas second in 10.37.

The times moved them to second and third on the all-time region list behind the 10.30 that Quincy Watts of Taft ran at Brigham Young University and its 4,500 feet of sprint-friendly altitude in 1987.

Fletcher ranks second on the all-time region list in the 200 with his 20.94 clocking that won the Arcadia Invitational in April.

"Arcadia is probably the meet I'll remember most," Fletcher said. "Because I won the 100 for the third time [in a row] and no one had ever done that.

"And I also [broke 21 seconds] for the first time there."

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