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Taft Sets Stage to Win Title by a Landslide


VAN NUYS — If there is strength in numbers, then the Taft High boys' team is going to roll to its third title--and first since 1987--when the City Section track and field championships are held at Birmingham next week.

That became apparent in the City preliminaries Thursday at Birmingham when Toreador athletes won one heat after another and advanced 15 individuals and the 1,600-meter relay team to the finals.

"We're going to win for sure," said junior Chris Morgan, who qualified in four events. "I've known since I was in the ninth grade that we were going to win City when I was a junior."

Dorsey edged Taft, 78-70, to win its fourth consecutive City title last year, but neither the Dons nor Cleveland nor any of the other top teams appear capable of contending with the Toreadors next week.

"If everybody does what they're supposed to do, we should win easily," senior Fred Williams of Taft said.

Williams, Morgan and junior Daniel Clements led the Taft charge.

Williams, who didn't run last year, led qualifying in the 100 with a 10.84 clocking and in the 200 with a 21.13 effort that cut a tenth of a second off his previous best and moved him to fourth on the all-time region list. He anchored the Toreador 1,600 relay team to the top qualifying time of 3:22.27.

"I was trying to break [21 seconds]," Williams said of the 200, "I thought I did at first because when I finished, I heard everyone say, 'Wow.' "

Morgan, state leader in the 110 high hurdles at 13.94, cruised to heat-winning times of 14.74 in that event, 40.75 in the 300 intermediates and 11.11 in the 100. He was the top qualifier in the long jump at 22-8 3/4.

Clements won his heat of the 1,600 in 4:30.85 and had the fastest qualifying time in the 3,200 with a career-best 9:48.52.

Junior Jason Lovell of Cleveland qualified in the 200 and 400 and on both relays for the Cavaliers, who had 10 individual qualifiers.

Lovell, state leader in the 400 at 47.43, ran 48.60 to win his heat and had a career-best 21.51 to win his heat of the 200.

He ran on teams that ran heat-winning times of 42.41 in the 400 relay and 3:23.72 in the 1,600 relay.

In the girls' meet, two-time defending champion Taft and Birmingham appear headed for another title showdown with Carson and Westchester in the hunt.

Taft, which edged Birmingham, 82-78, last year, had 13 individual qualifiers and its 1,600 relay team while Birmingham had 14 individual qualifiers and both relays.

Senior Deneeka Torrey of Taft had the fastest qualifying times in the 100 high hurdles (14.67) and 300 lows (career-best 42.79), won her heat in the 100 in 12.59 and ran a 55.9 third leg on a 1,600 relay team that won its heat in 4:00.03.

Her 42.79 clocking in the 300 lows bettered her previous best by nearly a second and tied for fifth on the all-time region list.

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