Prep Review : Norris Is Slowed by Chicken Pox : Sprinter Hopes to Fully Recover Before the Section Finals

Nobody will ever know the true results of Darron Norris’ early season training program.

The San Diego Section sprint champion from El Camino High School, despite being among the county leaders this season, had not equaled the early season marks he compiled as a junior during this, his senior season.

Norris attributed the slower times to a training program set up by El Camino Coach Dayle Mazzarella, which had Norris doing a lot of distance running, which left him tired during most of the dual and invitational meets. Norris was confident throughout the season, however, that the distance training would help him achieve a tremendous peak at the state meet.

“I’ll be ready by CIF,” Norris said after barely avoiding an upset in the 100-meters at the Poway Titan Trackfest early this season. “You’ll see.”


But things changed two weeks ago, when Norris contracted the chicken pox the day after an impressive performance at the Orange Glen Invitational. Norris won the 100 in a county-best 10.61.

He had said before the race that he was well rested and was expecting to run well. He was true to his word and appeared ready to defend his sprint title.

However, the illness put his schedule on hold.

Norris was waived through the Avocado League preliminaries and made his return Saturday in the league finals. Norris, who had lost 15 pounds because of his sickness, won the 100 in 10.8 and finished second in the 200 in 22.7.


“I felt light,” Norris said. “It doesn’t bother me finishing second. It happened and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Norris is still confident about his chances at the San Diego Section finals, which begin with the preliminaries Saturday at San Diego State.

“I still have faith in myself and Mazz,” Norris said. “I have a whole week to get ready.”

Said Mazzarella: “In the end, the illness really shouldn’t affect him.”

Add El Camino: As if Norris’ illness wasn’t enough, El Camino sprinter Billy Isles suffered a hamstring pull while running the third leg of the 400-meter relay on Saturday.

“It was horrible,” Norris said. “First me and now Billy. The hamstring was bugging him all year. And he warmed up real well before the race.”

Despite pulling the muscle midway through his leg of the race, he still managed to hobble to the anchorman, Norris. El Camino finished second in 44.0 to qualify for the Section meet.

“We would’ve run 41.0,” Norris said.


The injury prevented Isles from qualifying for any of the individual events. He has bests this season of 10.9 in the 100, 22.2 in the 200 and 50.3 in the 400. Should Isles be healthy by Saturday, he will run the 400 and 1,600 relays at the preliminaries.

Walton returns: Bill Walton, Los Angeles Clipper center, will return to Helix High on May 23 to lead the Highlanders’ alumni team against a team of San Diego Chargers in a basketball game to benefit Helix boys’ and girls’ basketball programs.

State rankings: According to the latest prep baseball rankings by Cal-Hi Sports, Patrick Henry (19-1), the top-ranked team in San Diego, is ranked No. 4 in the 4-A Division in the state. Mission Bay (20-4), the No. 5 team in the county, is ranked No. 5 in the 3-A Division in the state. San Pasqual (18-4) is ranked No. 4 in the 2-A division.

Add baseball: Christian High (8-1, 13-7) clinched the City Central League baseball title when it beat Saint Augustine, 12-3, on Friday.

It was it first time a team other than Hoover has won the Central League title since the league was formed four years ago. Hoover (6-3, 12-9) is in second place.