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Freshman Sanford Is Already Up to Speed at Woodbridge

March 28, 2000|DAN ARRITT

Michelle Sanford's name has yet to appear in the annual Orange County high school record book, but an indication of her potential can be found on the list of all-time 100-meter performers.

That category is led by 1997 Woodbridge graduate Jackie Dix, who ran 11.99 seconds at the Southern Section preliminaries her senior year, breaking the 15-year-old mark of 12.01 set by Saddleback's Estelle White. Five spots behind White is another recent Woodbridge star, Meryl Stone, who ran 12.15 during her junior year in 1998.

But neither came close to breaking the 13-second barrier as a freshman, as Woodbridge's Sanford has done. Instead, they carved away at their times by training year-round and making subtle modifications to their running form.

Sanford has come out of the blocks nearly a second faster than Dix and Stone, covering the 100 in a personal-best 12.3 earlier this month. Sanford's impressive start has Woodbridge Coach George Varvas gushing about her potential.

"She's the most talented freshman we've had at this school," said Varvas, who has coached the Warriors for 19 years. "What's really amazing is she just finished playing basketball three weeks ago and is really just starting out."

In addition to Dix, who runs for Cal Poly Pomona, and Stone, who runs for Stanford, Varvas has coached two others who rank among the top sprinters in the county.

Meisha Wilson-Duval was undefeated in the county in the 200 and 400 during her senior year in 1995, then starred at Purdue. The same year, Erin Stovall led the county in the 100 as a sophomore before transferring out of state.

Stovall, who just finished her junior basketball season at Virginia, is tied for 10th on the all-time 100-meter list (12.24) and Wilson-Duval is tied for 18th (12.34).

"I think Michelle is just scratching the surface of her potential right now," Varvas said. "It's hard to say what she'll end up doing. I'd say let's just watch and see."

Speed isn't even Sanford's favorite weapon.

Sanford won the triple jump at the Junior Olympics in Omaha, Neb., last August (38-6 1/4) and finished second in the long jump (18-2). At the USTAF nationals in Chicago last summer, Sanford placed second in the long jump, third in the triple jump and fifth in the 100.

Sanford improved her personal best and county-leading outdoor mark in the long jump when she went 18-2 1/2 in a Sea View League meet against Laguna Hills on Thursday. The mark was also a track record at Woodbridge.

At the Pasadena Games Saturday night, Sanford won the triple jump with a leap of 37-2 1/2, finished second in the long jump (17-9 1/4) and sixth in the 100 meters (12.65). The long jump and 100 were both won by Oxnard Rio Mesa's Porchea Carroll, who finished fourth in the 100 and eighth in the long jump at the state championships last year.

"I couldn't wait to come out after basketball ended," Sanford said. "I wanted to put up some good marks early."


The state-leading marks produced by Esperanza's Travis Pendleton in the discus (191-7) and Tustin's Alonso Smith in the 800 meters (1:55.42) at the Surf City Invitational at Huntington Beach High Saturday weren't the only top efforts by Orange County athletes over the weekend.

Newport Harbor senior Trevor Jones ran a flawless race to win the 300 hurdles at the Pasadena Games in a state-leading 37.41. The mark eclipsed his personal best of 37.64 set while finishing seventh in state in the event last season.

San Clemente senior Garrett Milner won the 1,600 in a county-leading 4:17.1 at the Meet of Champions Distance Festival at Azusa Pacific Saturday, edging Chino Don Lugo's Nick Branen (4:17.1).

Amber Steen of Newport Harbor improved her county-leading marks in the 1,600 (4:48.8) and 3,200 (10:54.4) at the same meet, finishing second in both races to Glendale Hoover's Anita Siraki.


Cypress senior Clarence Moore continues to lead the state in the triple jump with a mark of 47-5 set in a three-way meet at Santa Margarita three weeks ago, but it could be a couple of more weeks before he can improve on it.

Moore is suffering from a strained abdominal muscle, Cypress Coach John Eyman said, and probably won't jump until the Arcadia Invitational April 8.

Mater Dei senior Junior Palacios, the Orange County champion in the long jump two years ago, may not return this season after undergoing shoulder surgery following the Monarchs' football season, Mater Dei track Coach Rick Martinez said.

Palacios, who sat out last track season with a groin injury, will decide early next month if his shoulder is healed enough to return to the track team. Palacios, an all-county running back/defensive back for the Monarchs last season, is headed to Pittsburgh on a football scholarship.


The ninth annual Trabuco Hills Invitational will feature 70 teams and approximately 1,200 athletes Saturday.

Mission Viejo junior Dana Bethel, second in the state in the 100 hurdles and long jump, is scheduled to make her first weekend appearance in Orange County. Bethel is entered in both events, as well as the 300 hurdles.

Bethel won't be tested in the 100 hurdles, but can expect a challenge from Sanford in the long jump and from El Modena's Sara Jane McIntyre in the 300 hurdles.

Other top matchups include San Clemente's Marquita Taylor and Santa Ana Valley's Crystal Davis in the 100 meters, both sporting the top times in the county this season, trying to top Long Beach Wilson's Lashinda Demus, the defending state champion in the girls' 300 hurdles.

Esperanza is also expected to bring its powerful throwing corps, and Corona del Mar teammates Liz Morse and Jenny Cummins are among the entries in the 400.


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