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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | Track & Field

Anderson Learning to Go the Distance

May 25, 2000|JOHN ORTEGA

Brian Anderson of Burroughs High learned his lessons well.

If you go out too quickly in the first lap of the 800 or 1,600 meters, you're going to pay dearly at the end of the race.

Anderson, a senior headed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, placed second in the 800 and 1,600 in the Division II races of the Southern Section championships at Cerritos College on Saturday after fading badly in two previous races.

The first meltdown came in the 1999 section championships when Anderson finished sixth in the 1,600 in 4:24.31 after following leader Josh Spiker of Ventura through splits of 58.8 for 400 meters and 2:02.8 for 800.

The second occurred in the Northridge-Alemany Relays at Cal State Northridge on March 18, when Anderson ran a scorching opening lap of 52.6 before finishing eighth in 2:00.51.

"I learned that running tired is not fun," the soft-spoken Anderson said.

Spiker clocked 2:03.8 for the first 800 of the 1,600 on Saturday, but Anderson was four seconds behind him on his way to a school-record 4:15.21 clocking.

In the 800, Anderson led the field through the 400 in 54.5, fell back to third at 600 meters before finishing second behind Alonso Smith of Tustin in 1:53.99, the second-fastest time of his career.

"The lesson was learned last year," assistant John Peebles of Burroughs said of the 1999 section final. "But [going out under control] is a subject that we go over two or three times a week. . . . I said to him the other day, 'If you go out in 64 or 65 [for the first lap of the 1,600], you will get at least second.' He executed it perfectly."

Anderson's time bettered the school record of 4:16.24 set by Javier Primera in 1987 and contributed to his decision to run only the 800 in the Southern Section Masters Meet at Cerritos College on Friday night.

"The fact that I broke the school record made [the decision] easier," Anderson said. "I probably would have run the 1,600 if I hadn't."

The top five finishers in each event in the Masters Meet will advance to the state championships at Cerritos on June 2-3.

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With four boys in the region running under 1:54 in the 800 this season and seven under 1:57, the area has its fastest group of half-milers since 1993.

Mike Wenz of Canyon ran a region-leading 1:53.82 that year, followed by Isaac Turner of Burbank at 1:53.86, Paul De La Cerda of Hart at 1:54.29, Ryan Wilson of Agoura at 1:54.6, Jason Baker of Nordhoff at 1:55.89 and Charles Mansfield of Canyon at 1:55.97.

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Add Carolyn Brown of Burroughs to the long list of soccer players who have developed into quality middle- or long-distance runners in their first season of high school track or cross-country.

Brown, a freshman, trained with the Burroughs cross-country team last summer, but didn't run for the Indians last fall, playing varsity soccer instead.

She came out for track, however, and pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the section championships by winning the Division II 800 in a career-best 2:17.20.

Brown ran a modest 2:42.5 in her opening 800 of the season, but Peebles figured she had a bright future in the event.

"In the summer workouts, I saw that she had some ability," Peebles said. "And she was pretty quick on the soccer field. But the one thing you could definitely see was how competitive she was."

That was evident in the last 300 meters of the Division II final when Brown moved into third place down the backstretch and out-kicked Michelle Ziser and Lyndsey Shumaker of Sultana in the homestretch to cut 2 1/2 seconds off her previous best, set in the preliminaries.

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Spiker's brilliance over the last two years has made it hard for other Ventura runners to get noticed, but the Cougars have one of the most improved performers in the region--senior Paige Osborn, who will run in the girls' 3,200 in the Masters Meet.

Osborn began the season with a career best of 12:38 but ran 11:03.9 to finish third in the Division II race of the section championships.

That followed an 11:12.70 clocking to place second in the Ventura County championships on April 28 and a 11:33.50 effort for seventh in the open portion of the FloJo Memorial Arcadia Invitational on April 8.

"She's not real fast," assistant Bill Tokar of Ventura said of Osborn's 400 speed. "But she's just so tough that she's running all-out for the last 1,600 meters of the race."

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Senior Rae Stumbough of Nordhoff is another runner who has been on a career-best tear in recent weeks.

Stumbough, who will run in the girls' 1,600 in the Masters Meet, ran 5:02.74 to finish second in the Division IV final after clocking 5:04.63 in the preliminaries on May 13 and 5:07.19 for second in the Ventura County championships.

She is seeded seventh in the Masters Meet, but the Nos. 4-, 5- and 6-seeded runners ran 5:02.21, 5:02.63 and 5:02.74 in the section final.

"I'm going to be practicing a lot of this," Stumbough said as she demonstrated a sprinter's lean at the finish line.

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