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PREP EXTRA / A weekly look at the high school sports
scene in the Southland | CITY SECTION TRACK

Taft Boys Are in Driver's Seat for Title

May 25, 2000|JOHN ORTEGA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

If there is strength in numbers, then the Woodland Hills Taft boys' team is expected to win its first title since 1987 when the City Section track and field championships are held today at Van Nuys Birmingham High.

Taft won one heat after another at the preliminaries last week and advanced 15 individuals and its 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 title last year, but neither the Dons nor Reseda Cleveland nor any of the other top teams appear capable of contending with the Toreadors today.

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

Taft, which won City titles during Olympic gold medalist Quincy Watts' sophomore and junior years in the late '80s, appears capable of scoring 85-90 points with a solid performance and the Toreadors could become the first team since a 1952 Jefferson squad to score 100 if they have a great meet.

Williams, Morgan and junior Daniel Clements are expected to lead 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 career-best 21.13. He anchored the Toreador 1,600 relay team to the second-fastest qualifying time of 3:22.27.

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.

Senior Rhuben Williams of Eagle Rock, defending state champion in the shotput, is favored to win his third consecutive title in that event and senior Shane Hackett of Verdugo Hills is tabbed to win the pole vault for the second consecutive year.

In the girls' meet, Taft is favored to win its third consecutive title with West Valley League rivals Birmingham and Cleveland the Toreadors' biggest challengers.

Taft, which edged Birmingham, 82-78, last year, has title contenders in the 100, 200, 400, 100 high hurdles, 300 lows, high jump, long jump and triple jump.

Senior Deneeka Torrey of Taft is favored to repeat her titles in the hurdle races with junior teammate Schquay Brignac looking for her third consecutive win in the high jump.

Taft senior Erin Reed is favored to win her first title in the 400, and Cleveland senior Jessica Cosby will try to become the first athlete to win four consecutive titles in one event when she competes in the shotput.

Valerie Flores of San Pedro is the defending champion in the 1,600 and the two-time defending champion in the 3,200.

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