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NOTEBOOK

Qualifiers Become Standard Practice in Southern Section

April 28, 1999|JOHN ORTEGA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A one-year pilot program designed to make qualifying for the Southern Section preliminaries more fair will be used next week when finals are contested in 60 leagues throughout the section.

In previous years, athletes had to place among the top three finishers in their events in the league finals to qualify for the preliminaries.

The only way a fourth-place finisher could advance was if one of the top three finishers could not compete in that particular event in the preliminaries.

Fourth-, fifth- or even eighth-place finishers can qualify for the preliminaries this year if they meet a performance standard in the league finals.

The section's track and field advisory committee established the standards in the divisions by averaging the ninth-best qualifying performance in the preliminaries in the last three years.

Therefore, any girl who runs 11:48.78 or faster in the 3,200 meters in the Marmonte League finals on May 7 will qualify for the Division II preliminaries at Mt. San Antonio College on May 15.

As will any boy who leaps 21-5 or farther in the long jump.

"I think it's a good idea," boys' Coach Mike Stewart of Newbury Park said of the new set-up. "I've been calling for this for years. It was just a shame when you couldn't get out of your league meet and you were good."

Kay Nekota was a prime example of the the old system's harshness.

Nekota, now at UC Irvine, ran a career-best 5:00.98 in the 1,600 for Agoura in the 1992 Marmonte finals, but failed to advance to the 3-A Division preliminaries because she finished fourth.

*

When Glendale defeated Muir, 70-57, in a Pacific League boys' meet last week, it snapped a streak of 169 consecutive dual-meet victories for the Mustangs.

The Mustangs, who shared or won consecutive state titles from 1994-1996, had not lost a dual meet since 1979, when they were defeated by cross-town rival Pasadena.

*

Lauren Fleshman of Canyon will be shooting for a time in the 4:20-4:25 range when she runs in the women's 1,500 meters in the Steve Scott Invitational at UC Irvine on Sunday.

A time of 4:20.0 would move Fleshman to 11th on the all-time national list and a 4:24.0 clocking would rank 30th.

But Coach Dave DeLong of Canyon isn't fazed. He says Fleshman has run some superb workouts recently.

"She ran four [800-meter repeats] between 2:23 and 2:19 last week," DeLong said. "That indicates to me that she's ready to run in the low to mid-4:40 range in the 1,600."

For comparison, a 1,500 time of 4:23.0 converts to a 1,600 clocking of 4:42.4.

*

The girls' pole vault could be a gold mine for Birmingham when the Patriots host the City Section championships on May 27.

Sophomore Melissa Astete and junior Nickie Kohlieber, first and fourth in the City championships last year, are capable of finishing 1-2 this year.

The Patriots appear to have a third potential top-six finisher, freshman Michelle Rivera, who cleared a career best of 9 feet to place third in a dual meet against Chatsworth on Friday and equaled that mark in placing fifth in the San Fernando Valley Invitational at Birmingham on Saturday.

Astete has cleared a school-record 10-6 this season and Kohlieber has a best of 10 feet.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Speed Thrills

When Porchea Carroll of Rio Mesa High ran 11.70 to win the girls' 100 meters in the Mt. San Antonio College Relays on April 17, she moved into a tie for fourth on the all-time region list.

The following is a list of the top performers in the 100 meters.

*--*

Time Individual School Year 11.14 *Marion Jones Thousand Oaks '92 11.28 *Angela Burnham Rio Mesa '88 11.61 Sherri Howard Kennedy '80 11.70 Denean Howard Kennedy '82 11.70 **Porchea Carroll Rio Mesa '99 11.5 Madette Smith Quartz Hill '87 11.80 Simone Cain Hueneme '88 11.93 Nia Jackson L. A. Lutheran '84 11.95 Eboni Grayson Taft '98 11.96 ***Michelle Perry Quartz Hill '94

*--*

Times in hundredths are fully automatic. To convert hand times to fully automatic times add .24 to hand times. *--junior. **--sophomore. ***--freshman. All other are seniors.

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