PREP NOTES WITH A TWIST

Move over Marion Jones and Angela Williams, here comes Allyson Felix as the latest great California girl sprinter as she broke the national 200-meter dash record last week. The senior from L.A. Baptist High eclipsed the mark set in 1992 by Jones and shows the world she may be the one to beat in the 2004 Olympics.

Allyson Felix isn't a stranger to Marion Jones anymore.

The L.A. Baptist High senior ran 22.51 seconds in the 200 meters to break Jones' national high school record at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays on Saturday. Felix's mark dipped under the previous standard of 22.58 run by Jones as a Thousand Oaks High junior in the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials.

At last year Mt. SAC Relays, Felix was only among a throng of hundreds of high school athletes to receive an autograph from the 2000 triple Olympic gold medalist. Jones, who annually competes at Mt. SAC, is out for the season because of pregnancy.

"I think a lot of people look forward to seeing her," Felix said. "It's a tradition. I admire the way she carries herself and her talent. Just to be where she was at is an honor."

Felix, who will attend USC in the fall, could be among Jones' greatest challengers in the 200 in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. On Saturday, Felix handily defeated a field that included defending NCAA 200 champion Natasha Mayers of USC (23.00), 1999 world champion Inger Miller (23.04) and two-time world indoor silver medallist Angela Williams, fifth in 23.81.

Felix's mark, aided by a 1.3 meter-per-second wind, was the fastest of the season by an American and dropped more than three tenths off her career best of 22.83 run in last year's state preliminaries that had ranked No. 3 all-time.

"The conditions were great and I was hopeful something would come out of it with somebody pushing me along," said Felix, a semifinalist in the 200 in the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England last month. "I definitely look forward to the competition. Today, the record was on the back of my mind."

Felix's mark was among two national records set in the 45th annual meet, along with Long Beach Wilson in the girls 1,600 sprint medley relay.

There was little doubt that Wilson had broken the national record in the 1,600-meter sprint medley relay when seniors Vincetta Mendola, Tiffany Wright, MacKenzie Hill and Ashley Freeman combined to run 3 minutes, 53.28 seconds in the 200-200-400-800 relay to eclipse the mark of 3:54.39 set by Philadelphia William Penn in the 1997 National Scholastic Championships.

Whether Wilson's mark would make it into the record books, how ever, was up in the air when officials disqualified the Bruins because senior Tiffany Wright had worn a necklace with a cross in honor of Good Friday.

National federation rules prohibit athletes from wearing jewelry during competition with a provision for religious beliefs on the condition that it must not be visible. Wright, who said she annually wears a cross on Good Friday, claimed that she had her necklace underneath her jersey but that it came out during the race.

Officials upheld a protest by Wilson coach Terry Kennedy. Nearly five hours after the race had concluded, the record, though, was reinstated after the officials ruling was overturned by a unanimous vote of the Mt. SAC Relays Games Committee.

"I really wasn't sweating it. In our minds, we had the record," Freeman said. "Regardless if we had jewelry or not, the clock doesn't lie, regardless if we had jewelry on or not. I am not happier than I was before because my time didn't change."

Games committee member Brian Yokoyama said the panel made an exception because officials did not notice Wright's necklace during the event. Yokoyama also said the necklace did not provide a competitive advantage and did not warrant nullifying a national record.

The final ruling lifted a burden off of Wright. She had been a last-minute replacement for sophomore Tiana Hood, who did not attend the meet for personal reasons.

"I know the rule books but I didn't think it would be a problem for religious reasons," Wright said. "The necklace is a tradition. I wasn't thinking. I was disappointed for letting my team and my coach down. I am just happy that we got the record back."

Wilson had been pointing for an opportunity to take aim at the national record throughout the season. On Friday, the record became reality with Mendola and Wright opening with legs of 24.8 and 25.5, respectively. Hill ran 53.9 for her 400 leg and Freeman anchored with a 2:09.2 800 leg as Wilson won its heat by nearly 25 seconds over Rio Mesa (4:18.22).

Wilson's performance broke its school and Long Beach area record of 3:55.96 set in 2001 that ranks eighth on the all-time high school charts.

"A rule is a rule but if it weren't Good Friday, I wouldn't have fought it," Kennedy said. "We knew that if the girls ran close to their capabilities that we had a chance to achieve the record. All we had to do is run a smooth clean race. We didn't have to be pushed."

It was an emotional week for Wilson. Two days earlier, the team received a visit from coach Jim Arquilla, who is confined to a wheelchair, stricken with terminal malignant melanoma. The cancer, which was diagnosed last July, has spread to his lungs and liver.

Among his greatest wishes was to watch Wednesday's Poly- Wilson meet and the Moore League finals next month. Arquilla said he rested all day the previous day in hopes of finding the strength to make it to the meet.

"I don't have a lot of time," said Arquilla, 52. "It's day-by-day. I don't know if I'll make it another two weeks. I said, 'God, please don't let me be sick today. Just let me feel really good because I really want to come and watch.' I am having the best time I've had in weeks. I haven't been this high in I don't know how long."

When Arquilla arrived, he was wheeled by athletes to the finish line to watch the meet with his wife, Maggie, by his side.

Wilson athletes wore shirts bearing Arquilla's picture that read "Our Hero." Underneath Arquilla's picture, the words read: "Courage... i.e. coach Jim Arquilla."

"It's really touching for the wonderful and beautiful things people have done for me," Arquilla said. "I am just overwhelmed."

Wednesday's meet was the first time Arquilla had seen the Wilson track team compete in three weeks. He didn't get to watch much of Wednesday's meet, as the 1969 Poly graduate was greeted by Poly and Wilson athletes, who asked him to autograph their shirts, and supporters and coaches from both sides. —KIRBY LEE

State Track Leaders

(CIF state track meet events only; w=wind-aided; fully electronic marks only; wind-aided marks listed when superior to best known legal mark; indoor meets not included; through April 19 using various sources on dyestatcal.com)

Boys
100 -- Derrick Jones (Poly, Long Beach) 10.44*
200 -- Lionel Larry (Dominguez, Compton) 21.10
400 -- DeSean Cunningham (University City, San Diego) 47.58*
800 -- Duane Solomon (Cabrillo, Lompoc) 1:51.19*
1600 -- Phillip Reid (Rio Mesa, Oxnard) 4:09.44*
3200 -- Manuel Ruiz (Monroe, Sepulveda) 8:55.80*
110 HH -- Kevin Craddock (Logan, Union City) 14.13w; Thomas Mack (Bakersfield) 14.18
300 IH -- Craig Woods (Dominguez, Compton) 37.50*
400 Relay -- Poly (Long Beach) 41.40*
1600 Relay -- Poly (Long Beach) 3:14.60
HJ -- Zach Ryan (Garces, Bakersfield) 7-0
PV -- Anthony Wilcher (Chino) 15-6; Billy Matthies (Rancho Bernardo, San Diego) 15-6; Donny Appanaitis (Loyola, Los Angeles)
15-6 LJ -- Demetrius Westbrooks (Morse, San Diego) 24-6
TJ -- Angelo Jeffrey (Logan, Union City) 48-9 1/2
SP -- John Caulfield (La Salle, Pasadena) 62-6
DT -- Nik Kay (Los Gatos) 189-7

Girls
100 -- Allyson Felix (L.A. Baptist, North Hills) 11.29, 11.24w.
200 -- Allyson Felix (L.A. Baptist, North Hills) 22.51*
100 -- Allyson Felix (L.A. Baptist, North Hills) 52.26
800 -- Kelly McCann (La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad) 2:10.45*
1600 -- Amanda Thornberry (Valley Christian, San Jose) 4:49.93*
3200 -- Claire Ruthmeier (San Pasqual Academy, Escondido) 10:27.70*
100 LH -- Ashlee Brown (J.W. North, Riverside) 13.86
300 LH -- MacKenzie Hill (Wilson, Long Beach) 42.67
400 Relay -- Poly (Long Beach) 45.01*
1600 Relay -- Wilson (Long Beach) 3:40.41
PV -- Kira Costa (San Joaquin Memorial, Fresno) 13-1 3/4
HJ -- Sharon Day (Costa Mesa) 6-2
LJ -- Gayle Hunter (J.W. North, Riverside) 20-8 3/4w, 19-10 3/4*; Renee Williams (Skyline, Oakland) 19-10 3/4
TJ -- Brittany Daniels (Merrill West, Tracy) 42-7w, 42-0*
SP -- Jessica Pressley (Laguna Creek, Elk Grove) 49-10 1/4*
DT -- Billie Jo Grant (Arroyo Grande) 183-6
*All-time national record.

ALL-TIME STATE
PROGRESSIVE RECORD

Girls 220-Yard/200-Meter Dash
220 Yards, Hand-Timing:
24.3 -- Shirley Wilson, Compton, 1963 (Jr.)
200 Meters, Hand-Timing:
23.4 -- Kathy Hammond, Sacramento Mira Loma, 1969 (altitude-aided)
23.4 -- Jackie Thompson, San Diego Lincoln, 1972 (Jr.) 220 Yards, Hand-Timing:
23.3 -- Mable Fergerson, Pomona Ganesha, 1973
200 Meters, Automatic-Timing:
23.08 -- Jackie Thompson, San Diego Lincoln, 1973
22.87 -- Marion Jones, Oxnard Rio Mesa, 1991 (Soph.)
22.76 -- Marion Jones, Oxnard Rio Mesa, 1991 (Soph.)
22.67 -- Marion Jones, Thousand Oaks, 1992
22.58 -- Marion Jones, Thousand Oaks, 1992 (Jr.)
22.51 -- Allyson Felix, North Hills L.A. Baptist, 2003


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