Pasadena Games Pick Up Speed as Major Southland Track Meet

Once regarded as one of the premier prep invitational track meets in Southern California, the Pasadena Games have been overshadowed by other meets in recent years.

But with the help of meet organizers Paul Bodenshot, Mark Evans and Carlos Clayton, the annual event is starting to look like a major meet again.

The 43rd Pasadena Games are at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Occidental College in Eagle Rock and it will feature many of the top performers in the state, including the state champion Hawthorne boys team and girls state title contenders Muir and Hawthorne.

The meet has been held at Pasadena City College in recent years, but Bodenshot said interest in the meet has skyrocketed since it was moved to Occidental’s all-weather Olympic training track for this season.


“The meet has really escalated into a quality meet like the Arcadia (Invitational) Meet,” Bodenshot said. “As soon as Hawthorne committed, things just started to escalate.”

Heading the list of prep stars is Hawthorne High sprinter Henry Thomas, who led his school to the state CIF title with victories in the 100- and 200-meter dashes last year.

Other top competitors in the boys division are state mile and two-mile champion Roman Gomez of Belmont, state high-jump champion Ken Burke of Westlake and 50-foot-plus triple jumpers Terrance Strong and David Sanders of Bakersfield.

Bodenshot said the best boys’ event may be the 800 meters, which has 12 sub-two-minute performers entered, including state leader Shawn Langer (1:51 top time) of Bakersfield.


The meet, which will have athletes from Calexico to Bakersfield competing, also will feature strong boys and girls relay teams from Muir and Hawthorne.

One of the top girls events may be the 1600 meters, which will match freshman standout Tracy Williams of Mountain View (El Monte) against state finalist Laura Cattivera of Mira Costa.

Other top distance runners entered in the meet are Kim Ojeda of Eagle Rock, Nicole Nugent of Torrey Pines and Lisa Williams, Tracy’s older sister.

After finishing second in a strong field of women’s softball teams at the Cal State Fullerton Pony Invitational last week, Cal Poly Pomona resumes Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. play with a double-header against Nevada-Las Vegas at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Pomona.

Pomona’s Broncos, who also host Michigan in a non-conference double-header at 1:30 p.m. today, is 24-7 overall and 1-1 in its first season in the PCAA. Nevada-Las Vegas is 9-16 overall and 2-4 in conference play.

The Broncos finished with a 5-2 mark in the Pony Invitational, losing both games to first-place Fullerton. Pomona lost the championship game, 1-0.

Pomona, which finished seventh in the NCAA Division I World Series in 1984, has been led by the pitching of sophomore sensation Rhonda Wheatley. The former All-CIF performer at Workman High in La Puente has a 21-5 record and 0.22 earned-run average with 150 strikeouts.

Offensively, the Broncos are led by first baseman Kandi Burke, who has a .327 batting average and 17 RBIs, catcher Donna McElrea (.319, 15 RBIs) and right fielder Alison Stowell (.316).


Marshall Fundamental High center Cherie Nelson, the leading scorer in CIF Southern Section girls’ basketball this season, has been named to the Parade Magazine All-America team.

Nelson, a 6-3 senior who averaged 34 points, 29 rebounds and 9 blocked shots to lead Marshall Fundamental of Pasadena to the Alpha League title, was named to the third team on the 40-player squad. The only other California player named to the team was Terri Mann (6-1) of Point Loma High in San Diego.

A four-time All-CIF selection, Nelson is being recruited by many NCAA Division I colleges including Long Beach State, USC, Louisiana State, Arizona State and Nevada-Las Vegas.

Cal State Los Angeles guard Sam Veal, who led the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. in scoring this season, has been named to the third team of the National Assn. of Basketball Coaches NCAA Division II All-America squad.

Veal, a 6-1 junior from West Covina, averaged 22 points and 4.1 assists to lead the Golden Eagles to a third-place finish in the CCAA and an 18-10 overall mark, their best record in 15 years.

It is the second straight year that Veal has gained All-America honors. He was named to the national junior college All-America team as a sophomore at Fullerton College, where he averaged 22.4 points and 5.6 assists a game.