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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Wells Doubles Up, Doubles Her Points

Big Sky track and field: Freshman wins 400- and 200-meter races, spearheading Cal State Northridge women's 28-point victory. Men rally to finish surprising second.

May 23, 1999|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NORTHRIDGE — Annetta Wells' legs were so wobbly she looked like a foal taking its first steps.

The Cal State Northridge freshman had just won the 400 meters at the Big Sky Conference championships with a furious kick that edged Christy Otte of Montana State and produced a school record of 53.65 seconds.

Two trainers kept her from collapsing and helped her walk until her leg cramps subsided.

"This isn't even my race," Wells said while gasping for air. "I was only in it because my coaches thought I could get us a few points."

She gave more than anticipated. And about an hour later, Wells blew away the competition in the 200 meters--her race, indeed--with a time of 23.87.

The double victory helped Northridge win the women's championship with 163 points, 28 points better than second-place Northern Arizona.

In the men's competition, Northridge finished a surprising second with 132 points--20 behind first-place Weber State--despite fielding a depleted squad of 16 athletes.

The Matadors celebrated like champions after concluding the meet with a victory in the men's 1,600 meter relay. Jermaine Hunsaker chased down Dustin Diaz of Cal State Sacramento in the last 50 meters to give Northridge its second relay victory of the day in a time of 3:12.52. The Matadors also won the 400 relay for the third year in a row in 40.19.

"The way we came through in the sprints and the relays shows this is a team sport," Hunsaker said. "We have a small team but we knew that if we got together we would do all we can."

The Matadors had two individual champions--Clinte Motley in the triple jump at 51-0 3/4 and Jim Phillips, from Canyon High and College of the Canyons, in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles in a career best 51.96.

Northridge racked up 23 points in the 100 meters by grabbing second through fifth places and got stellar nonwinning efforts in several other events.

Senior Clinton Lane finished second in the 400 meters in a career best 46.80, Anthony Colson was second in the triple jump in a career best 50-9 1/4 and Shannon Garnett was third in the shotput at 54-8.

"I couldn't be prouder of both our teams," Coach Don Strametz of Northridge said. "The camaraderie is phenomenal."

The Matador women became the first Big Sky team since 1996 to win the outdoor and indoor championships in the same year.

Brandi Prieto won the triple jump in 41-3 3/4 to add to her heptathlon victory and second-place finish in the long jump earlier in the four-day meet. The Matador junior also finished fourth in the 100-meter hurdles.

Senior Micki Rogers of Northridge won the 100 meter hurdles in 13.5 seconds, but she was melancholy while accepting the congratulations of teammates.

"That was the last hurdle race of my career and it is starting to hit me," she said.

"All those years of training in high school and college, and it's over."

For Wells, the accomplishments are just beginning. She sat out under Prop. 48 last year, training with only the encouragement of teammates to keep her going.

"There were people who told me to quit, that sitting out a year would end my career," she said. "Today made it all worthwhile. Now I can see a bright future, for me and the rest of this team."

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