Felix Sets National Record; Poly Wins for Coach

Allyson Felix took care of the state's best high school sprinters in the CIF State track and field championships at Cerritos College on Saturday. Next up is the world.

In her final high school race, Los Angeles Baptist High senior ran a national federation record of 22.52 seconds to 200 take down Marion Jones' state championship record of 22.71 as well as the 2000 triple Olympic gold medalist's national federation record of 22.67.

Felix also won the 100 for the third year in a row in a career-best 11.29 to move into third on the all-time state list. Felix joined Jones, winner of four state 100 titles from 1990-93, as the only athletes to win the event for three consecutive years.

Felix's next competition will be the USA Track & Field Championships at Stanford on June 19- 22 where a top three finish in the 200 will land her a berth in the IAAF World Championships in Paris in August.

"I am excited for the future and I am ready," Felix said. "It is definitely a little sad to have this part of my life over but the future is bright. It turned out really good."

Felix ran a World Junior record of 22.11 in the Banamex Grand Prix on May 3 in Mexico City for the top time in the world this year. She also ran 22.51 in the Mt. San Antonio College Relays in April to break Jones national high school record of 22.58 that she ran in the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials.

However, the marks were run in open competition and did not qualify as National Federation records,which must be run in high school competition.

The victories brought Felix's total to five state titles in her career. This year's 200 title had particular significance for the USC-bound Felix.

"Definitely, the record was on my mind," Felix said. "I was thinking about it coming in. That was what I was definitely going after. I definitely didn't want to walk away without this one."

After the record was announced, Felix took a victory lap waving to the crowd of 11,627 on the Cerritos College track that she had run in the Southern Section championships since her freshman year in her first season of organized track.

"It was a lot more personable than in Mexico City," Felix said. "It definitely meant a whole lot to come out here to start my freshman year. To finish it off here and have the support of all the people here, my family and friends, was really special."

The Long Beach Poly's team victory for a record seventh title was sentimental for coach Don Norford. His wife Carol of 37 years died of a heart attack on April 2 but the team dedicated the season in her memory and rallied around the legendary coach.

"I couldn't have asked for a better year with the boys and girls to go through the deaths in our family," Norford said. ``That was a critical time and they didn't miss a beat. I didn't know if our kids or I could come out of the grieving part and come through the rest of the season.'Œ

The Jackrabbits title was the second in three years. They also won in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001. Berkeley, which has won five titles, is the only other school to win more than three girls title.

Long Beach Poly, boosted by victories in the 400 and 1,600 relays, totaled 62 points to turn back defending champion Riverside North, which was second with 46. Poly's crosstown and Moore League rival Wilson was third with 42.

The boys team competition turned into a battle of attrition with La Mesa Helix hanging on for a 23 to 19 victory over Compton Dominguez. Long Beach Poly was third with 18. It was the lowest winning score since 1982.

The Poly girls opened the meet in the 400 relay with sophomore Shana Solomon and juniors Jasmine Lee, Chanda Picott and Shalonda Solomon combining to run 45.04 to win by more than a second over Wilson (46.10).

The Jackrabbits' ended it in the 1,600 relay with senior Shantae McKinney, Lee, junior Shana Woods and Shalonda Solomon clocking 3:35.78 for the third-fastest time in high school history.

Only Poly, which set a national record 3:35.55 in the Penn Relays in April, and Wilson, which ran 3:35.72 in the 2001 state meet, have run faster.

The victories gave Poly the distinction as the first school in girls state meet history to win both relays two years in a row.

Poly needed it all it could muster in the 1,600 relay to hold off runner-up Wilson, which finished in 3:37.01 for the No. 5 time ever. Shalonda Solmon turned in a 51.7 anchor to overcome a 25-meter deficit to Wilson's Dianna Gooden. The performance brought back memories of Solomon's 51.6 anchor during Poly's national record in the Penn Relays for the fastest split in the meet's 109-year history.

"At the 150-meter mark, I thought I had a long way to go," Solomon said. "At the 200 mark, I told myself I had to go get her."

Sandwiched between the relays Lee, who won the 400 in 53.17 to become the first Poly girl to win an individual running event. Lee, a state finalist in the 100 and 200 last year who moved up to the 400 this season, was hobbled for much her sophomore year with a hip problems associated with a growth spurt.

"It was pressure but I tried my best not to think about it," Lee said. "It really hasn't sunk in. It will later tonight. Last year was crazy with us losing and I was hurt. We told ourselves we're going to come back and win."

Solomon and Lee added second and fifth-place finishes in the 200 to give Poly a 52-44 lead and needing only to finish fifth or better to clinch the title in the 1,600 relay. The Jackrabbits also received third-place finishes from McKinney in the 800 (2:11.34) and Woods in the long jump (19-5 1/4).

"You have to be 99 percent ready and everybody has to do their part," Norford said.

"There is no room for error and today the girls put it all together. The meet was decided in the 200, the way we had it planned."

Things didn't go as planned for Riverside North. Ashlee Brown won the 100 hurdles in 13.58 to lead a 1-3-5 North finish. The Penn State recruit, however, finished seventh in t he 300 low hurdles, an event that she was the two-time defending state champion.

Long Beach Wilson seniors Ashley Freeman and MacKenzie Hill became the school's 10th and 11th individual champions. Freeman won the 800 in 2:08.86 and Hill turned in a career-best 41.32 for the nation's No. 2 mark this season to win the 300 hurdles. Freeman and Hill also ran on the Bruins' runner-up 400 and 1,600 relays.

"We would have needed a perfect situation to win," Wilson coach Terry Kennedy said. "It's not too far-fetched for us to score 10 or 12 more points and to have been right there."

There was a feeling of relief for the Stanford-bound Freeman to end her career after winning her first state individual title in four state finals appearances. She was a state finalist in the 800 as a freshman and a sophomore, finishing third in the 2001 state meet, and third in the 400 last year.

"It makes up for the past three years," Freeman said. "I just knew it was my year. There was nothing holding me back."

In the boys' team title competition, Helix failed to score in the 1,600 relay but held on after Dominguez finished fourth despite a sizzling anchor by junior Lionel Larry, winner of the 200 in 20.97.

A runner-up finish by the Dons would have forged a tie for the title. Dominguez entered the meet as the team favorite but it's hopes began to dwindle after Craig Woods, the state leader in the 300 intermediates, failed to qualify for the final.

Helix got off to a good start when senior Derrell Hutsona sailed a wind-aided 25- 5 3/4 to win the long jump for the longest mark in the state meet under any conditions since 1989.

The Highlanders had to scrap for the rest of their points. Hutsona also fin ished fifth in the 100 in 10.75. Deun White finished fifth in the 400 (48.32) and posted a season-best in the 200 to finish third (21.36). Bryon Barmer finished fourth in the 300 intermediates (38.27).

Kira Costa of San Joaquin Memorial, who set an indoor national record in the girls pole vault in the L.A. Invitational in February, scaled a nation-leading 13-5. Renee Williams of Oakland Skyline went a wind-aided 20-8 1/4 for the nation's No. 2 mark under any conditions. Brittany Daniels of Merrill West went 42-4 3/4 to move into second on the yearly list in the triple jump.

Alicia Follmar of Saratoga in the 1,600 (4:51.47); Claire Rethmeier of San Pasqual in the 3,200 (10:27.32); Sharon Day of Costa Mesa in the high jump (5-10), Jessica Pressley of Lagana Creek in the shot put (50-5) and Billie Jo Grant of Arroyo Grande in the discus (174-4) were other girls winners.

Cole Herron of Sanger defending his boys high jump title at 6-10. Duane Solomon of Cabrillo in the 800 (1:49.79) and Philip Reid of Oxnard Rio Mesa in the 1,600 (4:08.49) avenged runner-up finishes in 2002 to win titles.

Chris Henry of Stockton and David Gettis of Dorsey were surprise winners in the 100 and 200. Henry won the 100 in 10.56 out of lane 1. Gettis, a sophomore, dropped more than a second in the 400 over the last two weeks to win in 47.41 after running 47.19 in the preliminaries.

Carson and Long Beach Poly won titles in the 400 and 1,600 relays in 41.53 and 3:14.35, respectively. Freshman Ryan Schuler of Granite Bay in the pole vault (16-0), Rudy Burgess of Desert in the triple jump (50-4 1/4), Jared Bray of Mission Bay in the shot put (63-3 1/4) and Nik Kay of Los Gatos (203-3) were other boys winners.

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