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High school track stars turn on the burners

Eric Sondheimer
Contact ReporterVarsity Times Insider
Michael Norman of Vista Murrieta wins the 400 and 200 at Southern Section championships

It's hard to imagine two faster, more talented teenage track athletes in America than juniors Michael Norman of Vista Murrieta and T.J. Brock of West Hills Chaminade. Their speed came through on a breezy, sometimes overcast Saturday afternoon at Cerritos College.

Given the green light by their coaches to hold nothing back at the Southern Section track and field championships, each provided thrilling moments.

Norman won the Division 1 400 meters in 45.99, the second time this year he has broken 46 seconds.

"It's a pretty good feeling to know I can hit 45 more than once," Norman said.

Then, in the 200, he ran a wind-aided 20.39, the fastest ever by a high school athlete from California

His coach at Vista Murrieta, Coley Candaele, said Norman is only scratching the surface of his potential.

"When he does workouts, it's, 'Wow,'" Candaele said. "The ease he runs at 80, 90% is so fun. I look at my watch, 'My gosh.' It's humbling for my other kids. Right now, he has all the tools to be a superstar."

Norman said "everything counts" in trying to be the best.

"You need the right amount of sleep and what you eat is important," he said. "You make sure you're staying hydrated and always practice hard every day."

Vista Murrieta won the Division 1 boys' championship.

Brock won the Division 3 100 in a wind-aided 10.20, the second-fastest time in state history behind the 10.17 by Olympic gold medalist Quincy Watts when he was running for Woodland Hills Taft. It's the second time this season Brock has run 10.20. He came back to win the 200 in 20.78.

"It's a real exciting feeling," Brock said. "You can't ask for anything better than that. You practice hard and train hard for stuff like this."

Brock's coach is his mother, Kanika. She said before the race, "The coach in me is confident. The mother in me is nervous as I can be."

Brock and Norman will meet in the 200 at the Masters Meet on Friday at Cerritos College.

"It will be fun to watch," Kanika said.

More speed came from the girls' ranks, where sophomore Lauren Rain Williams of Westlake Village Oaks Christian took the Division 4 200 in 22.68, fifth-fastest performer ever under all conditions. She put herself in the same company with prep greats Marion Jones and Allyson Felix.

Junior Zaria Francis of Oxnard Rio Mesa won the Division 2 100 in a wind-aided 11.24, fastest time in the state.

Vista Murrieta's 400 relay team of Norman, Antonio Mitchell, Cole Dubots and Jordan Testerman set a school record with a time of 40.53, second-best in the nation.

Junior Isaac Cortes of Great Oak set a Division 1 record in the 1,600 with a time of 4:06.48. Matt Katnik of Bellflower St. John Bosco set a Division 3 record in the shotput at 71 feet 11 1/2 inches.

There was twin power in the Division 4 pole vault, where identical twins Gareth and Barrett Weiss of Flintridge Prep each cleared 15-6, with Gareth winning because of fewer misses. Both are headed to Stanford to compete in gymnastics.

Junior Courtney Corrin of Studio City Harvard-Westlake continued her domination in the Division 3 long jump, breaking her divisional record set in 2013 with a mark of 20-11, tops in the nation this season. Then she won the 300 hurdles in 42.81.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

Twitter: LATSondheimer

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