FELIX SAYS ADIOS TO HER OWN NATIONAL 200 RECORD

Happy Cinco de Mayo, Allyson Felix. The California track standout can now be placed on the same level as Alan Webb as a prep phenomenon in her sport after setting world junior record last weekend in Mexico City.

The problem with track phenoms like Allyson Felix from L.A. Baptist High of North Hills, Calif., is that you don't get much time to analyze each record-breaking performance. As soon as you're still collecting information about one of them, here's comes another.

The latest for Felix came on Saturday at the Banamex Grand Prix meet in Mexico City. Felix had shown what she could do against world-class competition just two weeks previously at the Mt. SAC Relays when she won the open division of the women's 200 in 22.51 seconds and broke the national high school record of 22.58 set in 1992 by Marion Jones (Thousand Oaks, Calif.).

This time, with another world-class field against her and a reported crowd of 50,000 in attendance, Felix smashed her own national prep record with a 22.11 clocking in the 200. She again beat a strong field -- Latasha Jenkins of the USA was second (22.31) with 2001 world championship bronze medalist Kelli White of the USA in third (22.33) -- and even though she benefitted from Mexico City's high altitude Felix is now starting to make a case she should be considered the nation's best girls sprinter ever.

Felix's 22.11 time also is the No. 1 outdoor time in the world so far this year and ranks her No. 9 on the all-time American list.

Already this school year, Felix has broken a national indoor prep record in the 200, competed in the world indoor championships in England and made history at the fabled Arcadia Invitational.

In her first outdoor meet of the season at the Pasadena Games on March 29, Felix clocked 52.26 in the 400 (which is still the fastest girls prep time in the nation this year). Less than 90 minutes later, she went out in the 200 and won in 23.21 seconds.

At Arcadia, Felix was a double-winner in the 100 and 200 for the third straight year, acccomplishing a feat that had previously only been done by Jones. Her time in the 100 was 11.20 wind-aided and 22.97 in the 200.

At the Mt. SAC Relay two weeks ago, Felix competed in the open division of the 200 (in which she broke the national record) and was in the high school girls 100 (she won in 11.24 seconds, also wind-aided).

Two interesting footnootes to Felix's season so far are that: (1) she isn't even leading California in the 100 thus far because all of her top marks have been wind-aided; and (2) she doesn't yet own the national interscholastic record in the 200 because both of her recent record runs have come in competition against, well, basically, professionals. Let's just hope Allyson doesn't accept any jerseys from a sporting goods store that might make her ineligible for all of the California state and section meets over the next month.

Felix's outings in recent weeks also brings to mind the major coverage in the track and field world that surrounded Virginia's Alan Webb two years ago when he was chasing the four-minute mile as a prep from South Lakes of Reston, Virginia. Webb only attended Michigan for one year as a collegian before turning pro.

Felix's coaches have hinted they may try to win an unprecedented 100-200-400 triple at this year's California state meet. That kind of attempt, though, might be too risky for someone who's now got a legitimate chance of winning a gold medal in the 200 in August at the world championships in Paris. All she needs is an 11.11 in the 100 (which would break Angela Williams' state and national record) and Felix would probably go down as the top girls sprinter ever. Winning the 400 at the state meet would just be icing on the cake.

Marion Jones, by the way, is still the greatest girls track athlete in California history no matter how fast Felix goes -- unless Allyson starts long jumping or playing All-America level basketball anytime soon.

MORE TRACK UPDATES

•There were no new state leaders this week on the boys side, but in addition to Allyson Felix in the 200 there were three other new state leading marks for girls. In the 800 at the Reedley Invitational on Friday, Ashley Freeman from Long Beach Wilson had little competition but still put up a 2:09.84 time. That tops the previous state best of 2:10.45 by Kelly McCann from La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad. Then in the 100 at the Sacramento Meet of Champions the next day, Jennifer Nash from Merrill West of Tracy battled cold and wet conditions at Hughes Stadium for a winning time of 11.80 seconds. That's better than the legal 11.83 by Ashlee Brown from J.W. North of Riverside, although Felix has wind-aided marks much faster. Also in Sacramento, Oakland Skyline's Renee Williams put together marks in the long jump of 20-6 1/2 wind-aided and 20-5 3/4 legal. Gayle Hunter, also of J.W. North, still has a windy mark of 20-6 3/4, but Williams' improved from her best previous legal mark of 20-1 1/2.

•La Mesa Helix sprinter Reggie Bush appears to be getting better and better after an early-season injury put him out of action for more than a month. Bush anchored Helix to a 41.75 time at the Orange Glen Invitational last weekend and took the 100 in the meet record time of 10.6 seconds. Another highlight of the boys only meet was double winner Jared Bray of Mission Bay in the shot put and discus. Bray's two winning marks were 59-3 and 181-3.

•Also at the Sacramento Meet of Champions, Rasheed Nunnally from Sheldon of Sacramento established himself as a junior to watch nationally and throughout the state with a 24-2 winning leap in the long jump. Nunnally beat a strong field that included three others who went past the 23-5 mark. Jessica Pressley from Laguna Creek Elk Grove (47-5 3/4 in the shot) and Kira Costa from Fresno San Joaquin Memorial (12-9 in the pole vault) were other state leaders who came to the event and won.


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