SIMI VALLEY — Annmarie Turpin looked like she'd run through brambles and thorns to reach the finish line. Her thigh was cut and her shin was bruised from previous skirmishes with hurdles and high-jump bars.
But no such obstacles kept the Simi Valley High senior from posting a Marmonte League record time of 57.38 in the 400 meters Friday in the league finals at Royal High.
The victory was one of four for Turpin, who also won the 300 intermediate hurdles in 45.51, the long jump in 17 feet 5 inches and the high jump in 5-6.
Turpin's showing in the high jump was a serious disappointment considering she jumped 5-10 in the league preliminaries, but she bounced back an hour later in the 400.
"When I left the high jump I was so upset I was worried that I'd even be able to run the 400," Turpin said. "I wanted so bad to go out with a league record."
The Thousand Oaks girls' team led Royal by three points before the last race, the 1,600 relay, and held on, 124-123, by finishing second to the Highlanders.
"This time, finishing second gave us first, so I'm happy," said Lancer anchor runner Amanda Armstrong.
Because Royal had defeated Thousand Oaks in a dual meet, the teams share the overall league title.
The Newbury Park boys' team, unbeaten in league dual meets, dominated the league meet to an even greater degree, racking up 144 points and scoring in every event. Second-place Simi Valley had 96 points.
"We had a good day," Newbury Park Coach Mike Stewart said. "The kids really wanted to get it done."
So did Oliver Jackson. The Royal junior missed his personal best in the long jump by a quarter-inch, leaping a league-meet record 24-4, but won the event along with the 110 high hurdles in 15.48 and the 300 intermediate hurdles in 38.62.
Although his team was never close to Newbury Park, Kevin Kane of Thousand Oaks, the runaway winner in the 800 meters in 1:58.0, felt a sense of team pride.
"We train together and form a strong bond," Kane said. "Even though track is an individual sport, there is a strong team feeling at a meet like this.'
Another refreshing attitude was exhibited by Turpin. Many track and field athletes view the league finals as nothing more than a steppingstone to Southern Section preliminaries.
"I understand that thinking but that's not my mentality," Turpin said. "I wanted to go out in this league like a champion. It was important to me."
The intense Turpin signed with UC Irvine recently, enabling her to wind down her high school career without getting too wound up.
"I was always able to put my college choice in the back of my head while competing," she said. "Now the back of my head is empty, and that's nice."