The Preps / Pat Cannon : Ili, Rish and Blutreich Really Put on a Show Last Weekend
Excellence appeared in all shapes and sizes last weekend during the State track meet in Sacramento’s Hughes Stadium.
Saturday afternoon, junior Lii Ili of La Puente Nogales started the parade, throwing a personal best of 162 feet 2 inches to win the girls’ discus competition. Her performance gave the school its first individual state champion. Her brother, Junior Ili, now a football player at Colorado, finished sixth in the State in the shotput in 1981.
Junior, a 273-pound guard, was at the meet Saturday and, after Lii’s winning throw, he picked up his sister and gave her a bear hug.
“I’m so happy,” said Lii, who had already wrapped up first place with an earlier throw of 153-11. “It felt so good when I let it go. I didn’t know how far, but I knew it was pretty good. It was nice to do it when my family could watch.”
Excellence part II: One athlete, who felt better than good was Chip Rish of Huntington Beach Marina, who ran a brilliant 45.7 to defend his title in the 400 meters, edging Danny Everett of Fairfax.
“I just told myself I wasn’t going to lose,” Rish said. “I wanted it badly. You have to dig deep inside. I dug and there was enough there.”
Before his performance Saturday night, Rish was angry about not having been invited to this weekend’s Golden West meet in Sacramento, an event that features some of the best athletes in the United States. After the 400, a man approached Rish and engaged him in conversation.
“That was Golden West,” he told a reporter later. “I got the invitation.”
Excellence part III: Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley’s Brian Blutreich, the double-winner in the shotput and discus, is a quality athlete. So are Lompoc Cabrillo’s George Porter and Millbrae Mills Leslie Maxie, who run hurdles so effortlessly they seem to be gliding along on a cloud.
Hawthorne Coach Kye Courtney, who won his third straight boys’ title Saturday, admits to a distaste for the 400-meter relay.
“It’s a horrible race,” he said. “Everything that can go wrong, usually does. Even the kids that run it are flaky. It’s the race that does it. It makes me wacko just watching it.”
Attention USC: Roman Gomez, Belmont’s outstanding distance runner who breezed to state titles in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races, would like to stay in Los Angeles, but UCLA, his first choice, has already passed out its scholarships.
Gomez, 18, may be the distance threat the Trojans have lacked since 1963, when USC had Julio Marin, the NCAA six-mile champion. The last great distance runner USC had was in 1938-39, when Lou Zamperini, a member of the 1936 U.S. Olympic team, won back-to-back NCAA mile titles.
Punk twins: Latrese Johnson of Clovis, the national record-holder in the high jump at 6-2 3/4, just nicked the bar on her third attempt at 6-3. Johnson, a senior, was flamboyant in shocking pink sweat pants, pink sweat top and pink sun glasses. After her victory, she was spotted in the stands with a pink Teddy bear.
“Pink is my favorite color,” said the talented senior who will be going to USC in the fall. “It makes me feel good.”
In the boys’ meet, Atwater’s Tim Moore, a 6-5, 290-pound athlete who is penciled in at Nebraska next year, drew stares in the shotput pit with cream-colored streaks through his reddish-brown hair. A Northern California reporter said it was a tribute to Nebraska’s school colors--Scarlet and Cream--but it looked more like a tribute to Cyndi Lauper. Moore’s size, however, discouraged questions.
“Are you going to be the one to tell him it doesn’t look good?” asked one meet official. “I’m just going to smile and say it looks wonderful.”
The City 4-A and 3-A girls’ softball playoffs will move into the semifinals Wednesday with all four games scheduled to be played at South Gate Park, 4900 Southern Ave., at 2:30 p.m.
In the 4-A, undefeated and top-seeded El Camino Real will play Van Nuys, and Banning, led by Lisa (No-Hit) Bautista, will challenge Kennedy. Bautista has pitched 17 no-hitters this season and has a streak of seven straight, which ties her national record.
In the 3-A, South Gate will play Westchester, and Roosevelt will play Venice. The winners will play for the title Wednesday, June 12.
Valley schools have won 12 straight City 4-A baseball titles. But a change may be in the wind since three Marine League schools--Banning, Narbonne and San Pedro--have all advanced to today’s quarterfinals.
Did you know that three players in the NBA championship series are from Southern Section schools. The Lakers’ Michael Cooper played for Pasadena, his teammate Byron Scott played at Inglewood Morningside, and the Celtics’ Dennis Johnson played for Compton Dominguez. The Lakers would have a third, but Santa Barbara’s Jamaal Wilkes is out for the season. . . . Coach Richard Kampmann of University High in Irvine is retiring after 35 years in cross-country and track. A dinner will be held in his honor at the airport Marriott June 14. Those interested in attending should contact Andy Sherrill or Craig Watanabe at (213) 568-0030. . . . After his team lost to Huntington Beach Ocean View in the Southern Section quarterfinals, softball Coach Dennis Ford of Newhall Hart announced his resignation. He is the father of Hart’s senior pitcher Samantha Ford, who is heading for UCLA on a scholarship. . . . A team of California all-stars will take on Oregon’s best prep basketball players July 1 in Eugene, Ore. Tom Blackwood of Orinda Miramonte will coach the team. Some of the standouts include Santa Ana Mater Dei’s Mike Mitchell, Long Beach St. Anthony’s Van Anderson and Crenshaw’s Paul Weakley. . . . Andy Bakjian, not John Childress, coached Jefferson’s last City track titlist in 1964. . . . The semifinals of the City tennis playoffs will be held today at the Universal City Racquet Centre. In the 4-A division, Palisades will play Taft at 1 p.m., and El Camino Real will play North Hollywood at 3. In the 3-A bracket, Eagle Rock will play Bell at 1, and San Pedro will play Marshall at 3. The finals are Friday.