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Once Again, Poly Is Team to Beat

May 23, 2003|From Staff Reports

Long Beach Poly will be favored to win its third consecutive boys' and girls' Division I titles when the Southern Section divisional track and field championships are held Saturday at Cerritos College in Norwalk.

Field events begin at 10:30 a.m. and running events start at 1 p.m.

The Poly boys' team, led by junior sprinter Derrick Jones, will attempt to win its fifth title in six years and its 10th overall.

The Poly girls, paced by junior sprinter Shalonda Solomon, also are shooting for their 10th title overall along with their eighth in 12 years.

The girls' team from Riverside North and the boys' squad from Gardena Serra also could extend impressive title runs.

North, the defending state champion, is favored to win the Division II girls' title. A victory would give the Huskies six section titles at the Division I or II level in nine years.

Serra is trying to win its second consecutive Division IV boys' title and its eighth section title at the Division III or IV level in the last 10 years.

In individual events, Allyson Felix of North Hills L.A. Baptist is favored to win the girls' 100 and 200 for the fourth consecutive year at the Division IV level.

Felix ran the fastest time in the world this year in the women's 200 when she clocked a world junior record of 22.11 seconds in the Banamex Grand Prix meet in Mexico City on May 3.

Brandon Myles of Carson and the Woodland Hills Taft 400-meter relay team moved to second on the yearly state lists in their respective events in the City Section track and field preliminaries at Lake Balboa Birmingham on Thursday.

Myles, a senior, led qualifying in the boys' 400 with 47.88-second clocking that was the first sub-48 effort of his career.

The Taft 400 relay team of seniors Steve Smith and Paul Pratt, junior Jariel Bytheway and sophomore Elijah Wells clocked 41.44 to trim two-tenths of a second from their previous best.

Senior DeSean Cunningham of San Diego University City is the state leader in the 400 with a time of 47.58 and Long Beach Poly tops the 400 relay at 41.40.

In team competition, defending boys' champion Birmingham established itself as the favorite in Thursday's City Championships as did the Gardena girls.

-- John Ortega

Jason Mossembekker of Camarillo had to survive a super tiebreaker to win his third-round match over an injured and ailing Nathan Stadler of Redondo, but managed to advance to the round of 16 next week in the Southern Section individual tournament.

The third-seeded Mossembekker, who will play at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the fall, rallied for a 5-7, 6-0, 10-8 victory at Cate School in Carpinteria, one of four sectional sites Thursday. The other seeded players at Cate -- No. 1 Eric McKean of Brentwood, No. 2 Gary Sacks of Calabasas and No. 4 Stefan Hardy of Santa Maria Righetti -- also advanced.

Stadler, who was wearing a brace on his left ankle, which he sprained in practice Monday, became ill and vomited on the court during his first-round match, but recovered to pick up two victories. After splitting sets with Mossembekker, Stadler fell behind, 8-4, in the tiebreaker, but was able to cut the deficit to 8-6 and 9-8 before losing.

"I kind of forgot about it out there," Stadler said of his injury and illness. "I'm happy with this, considering ... but it's disappointing, too, to come so close. This would've been a good win."

The round of 16 and quarterfinals will be played Friday at SeaCliff Tennis Club in Huntington Beach. The semifinal and finals are May 31 at SeaCliff.

-- Lauren Peterson

Jim Smiley, who coached boys' basketball at Crescenta Valley from 1998-2001, has been rehired as the Falcons' coach, replacing Adam Jacobsen, who resigned earlier this month to take an assistant coaching job at an unnamed Division I university.

Smiley, 36, played at Crescenta Valley from 1981-85 and coached lower-level teams for eight years before taking over for John Goffredo in 1998. Smiley's teams compiled a 77-34 record and reached the playoffs in each of his four seasons.

Smiley resigned the position in 2001 to spend more time with his family and work on his master's degree, but he remained a teacher at Crescenta Valley.

Julius McChristian has been promoted from assistant to head coach for the Rialto Eisenhower football program.

McChristian replaces Eisenhower alumni Glenn Thompkins, who was placed on unpaid administrative leave after being charged with having sex with a female student.

Eric Sondheimer, The Times' high school columnist, has been chosen to receive the California Coaches Assn.'s 2003 Ed Strelow Media Award for distinguished contribution to athletics and the coaching profession.

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