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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | TRACK AND FIELD

Amoo Making a Fast Comeback

April 06, 2001|JOHN ORTEGA

There's nothing like a season-ending injury during your junior year to motivate a senior campaign.

Just ask Seth Amoo of Highland High.

A strained right quadriceps muscle prevented Amoo from competing in the Golden League championships last year, but his 21.32 clocking in the boys' 200 meters is the fastest in the state this year and ranks ninth on the all-time region list.

Amoo, a lithe 5-foot-9 and 135 pounds, also ranks fourth in the state this year in the 100 with a 10.83 clocking and has spanned a wind-aided 23-3 1/4 in the long jump.

"I'm just pushing myself to the limit much more often in workouts than I did last year," Amoo said. "I've got a better group of guys to train with this year and that has also helped."

Also contributing to Amoo's success are increased weight workouts. He started the season in better shape than last year and has avoided injury by no longer stopping abruptly after crossing the finish line.

The weight training has focused on strengthening Amoo's legs and preventing injuries.

Running hills in the fall while training with the Highland cross-country team got him in the best preseason shape of his life.

"It's his senior year and he just has a more determined attitude about training," said Marty Prince, boys' coach at Highland. "He started training last summer and he usually doesn't start training until the fall. . . . I think he's decided that he wants to finish his high school career with a bang."

Amoo, who will leave today for a recruiting trip to Arizona State, ran a school-record 21.57 in the 200 to place fifth in the Southern Section Division I final as a sophomore. But he strained his quadriceps muscle during the Willie Williams Invitational in Tucson, Ariz., last year and the injury worsened as the season progressed.

"He had a habit of putting on the brakes right after he finished a race and we think that's how he got hurt," Prince said. 'Instead of gradually slowing down after a race, he would stop real fast."

Amoo concurred.

"I saw myself on [videotape] and I'd come to a complete stop about five or 10 yards after the finish," he said.

Amoo is taking 30-40 yards to decelerate this season. That's helped him stay injury-free and he's confident he can break 21 seconds in the 200 and 24 feet in the long jump.

"I know I would have [advanced to the state championships] last year if I wasn't injured," Amoo said. "So that's a big goal this year."

*

Chris Morgan of Taft, defending state champion in the boys' 110 high hurdles, committed to USC on a football scholarship several months ago but might attend another school on a track scholarship.

Morgan, a wide receiver-defensive back, committed to USC when Paul Hackett was the coach. But he says USC's interest in him has cooled since Hackett was fired and replaced by Pete Carroll.

USC wants him to raise a math grade that is part of the core-curriculum requirements mandated by Proposition 48.

Morgan, who says he qualifies academically for an NCAA Division I school, was put off by USC's request. In addition, he says he's "tired" of playing football.

"I'd like to see how well I could do in track if I trained for the sport all year," he said. "I've never done that."

Morgan has taken track recruiting trips to Washington State and Iowa State, and plans to visit either Florida, South Carolina or Texas Christian.

*

Senior Robert Kubler of Crespi has run career bests of 4:02.08 in the 1,500, 4:19.25 in the 1,600 and 9:18.87 in the 3,200 this season, but he figures he could have run faster had he not set the pace for most of those races.

Kubler's 1,500 best came in the Northridge-Alemany Relays at Cal State Northridge on March 17, when he led the field through the first 1,300 meters before finishing second to Daniel Clements of Taft.

His bests in the 1,600 and 3,200 came Saturday in the Pasadena Games at Pasadena City College.

Kubler led after 1,200 meters of the 1,600 before finishing second to sophomore Phillip Reid of Rio Mesa.

He led after 2,200 meters of the 3,200 before finishing third to seniors Mark Nevers of Oak Park and Nick Zoetewey of Canyon.

"It would be nice if someone else would push the pace," Kubler said. "But if they won't, I will. . . . I want to get some good times in. I can't go up to some college coach [whom I'm trying to get a scholarship from] and say, 'I ran 4:20 at Northridge.' I have to have some good times."

*

Tom Kubler of Viewpoint, Robert's fraternal twin, has yet to race this season because of a tendon injury in his right leg. He isn't sure when he can race again.

Kubler won his second consecutive Southern Section Division V cross-country title in November and placed second in the state championships a week later, but most of his training has been confined to pool workouts since late in February.

"Every morning, I hope it's gone," he said of the injury. "But it's still there."

*

Tenderness in Chadd Smith's left knee has prevented the Camarillo senior from high jumping for four weeks.

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