There are no guarantees in track and field, and that became perfectly clear on a wet Thursday afternoon at Birmingham High during the Valley Mission League finals.
Deonte Perry of Canoga Park was one of the favorites to win a City Section championship in the 100 meters. His prelim time of 10.79 was so much better than his next closest pursuer that he probably could have won jogging out of the blocks on Thursday.
Unfortunately for Perry, he did the one thing that left him with no chance to win at all. He false started, resulting in his disqualification. He calmly left the starting area and wandered alone near the football scoreboard, trying to make sense of what he did.
"The cadence was extremely long," he said.
His only hope now is making next week's City Section 100 prelims as an alternate. With Perry unable to run, teammate Lowell Ford won in 11.66. Perry came back to win the 200 in 22.06.
The fact the Valley Mission League was able to complete its meet was an accomplishment itself. The Western, Marine and Coliseum leagues had to cancel their finals and reschedule them for Monday because of the wet weather.
Lots of athletes didn't know what to do with rain during the steady drizzle for the first hour of the meet.
Some huddled in blankets under umbrellas in the bleachers. Others wore hoodies, made hats out of towels and acted a little uncomfortable.
"We're not made for this," a Reseda athlete complained to his coach.
But not everyone was feeling uncertain. Several football players participating in track were having no trouble adjusting to the wet weather. They're used to getting dirty.
"It felt good," said Sylmar's Andrew Simpson, a receiver who helped the Spartans' 400-meter relay team win in 45.00 and finished second in the 100.
The meet's director, Scott King, said running on a wet all-weather track is no problem but some athletes don't have the confidence.
"The traction is better when it's wet than dry," King said. "They run like they're going to slip."