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Prep Notebook : Another Kind of Jump Shot

Simi Valley High track Coach Don Green expected one of his athletes to win an individual championship at the State finals this year.

Green’s expectations became reality when Lawrence Nelson won the long jump championship Saturday in Sacramento.

“It was the first individual state championship in the school’s history,” Green said.

The Pioneers almost had No. 2 that same evening.

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Mark Robinson, a basketball player who just started high jumping this year, finished second to Mark Webster of Cupertino Homestead.

“And he was just one miss away from being the state champion,” Green said of Robinson.

Webster and Robinson cleared 6-9, but Webster won because he had fewer misses.

Green nevertheless praised Robinson.

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“He is just a really good competitor,” Green said. “For being a very inexperienced high jumper, it is unbelievable.”

The 6-5 senior reached new heights for Simi in basketball. He set school records for dunks in a game (five) and in a season (30). Robinson also averaged 24.4 points, earning All-Marmonte League and The Times’ All-Valley team honors.

Jamie Kogut, an assistant track coach at Simi, saw Robinson’s five-dunk display in a league game against Newbury Park. He asked Robinson to go out for track.

“The first time he ever jumped he did 6-2 in basketball shoes,” Green said. “In the early meets, he did 6-2, 6-4. Then, he got a pair of jumping shoes and did 6-8 in a dual meet against Westlake.”

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That high jump broke the school record by 2 inches. Robinson finished fourth in the Southern Section 4-A championships, and Simi Valley was runnerup to Hawthorne for the team title.

The Pioneers’ second place in the 4-A was their best. Until last year, a Simi athlete never reached the State finals. This year, four placed.

Along with Nelson and Robinson, Simi scored with Jim Zimmer (third in the 1,600) and Ed Gagnon (sixth in the pole vault).

The Pioneers totaled 25 points, behind only Hawthorne (29) and Bakersfield (26 1/2).

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A third-place finish in the state was better than Green imagined.

“This year,” he said, “has just been fantastic.”

Add track: Several Valley athletes placed at the State finals. Kennedy’s Michael Pringle was third in the long jump and Van Nuys’ Kelly Peacock finished fourth in the 100-meter low hurdles.

Oak Park’s John Knight had a mark of 59-9 to place third in the shotput. Daron Stonerock of Saugus finished third in the 3,200, and Westlake’s Gary Wellman was seventh in the 100-meter dash.

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Keith Bryant, who won the City shotput championship the week before, finished 21st in qualifying heats on Friday and did not reach the finals. His best toss was 51-9 1/2.

It ain’t over ‘til the ump says so.

Camarillo’s Brad Billups was at the plate in the top of the seventh inning, a runner on first, two men out, and the Scorpions trailing Fountain Valley, 3-2, Friday in the Southern Section 4-A championship at Anaheim Stadium.

On a 2-2 count, Billups took a half-swing at a pitch from Fountain Valley’s Don Snowden.

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The Barons in the dugout and on the field rushed toward the mound to start the celebration. Fountain Valley fans descended from the stands.

There was only one problem.

Home plate umpire Dale Williams did not make a call. Instead, he asked first base umpire Frank Rodgers if Billups had committed himself.

After a few tantalizing moments, Rodgers ruled that Billups had not swung.

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The game went on.

Billups walked on the next pitch and Camarillo was still alive, the tying run at second.

But Bob Sharpnack replaced Snowden and got Angel Barroso to ground out at first, giving Fountain Valley the title.

Add Camarillo: The Scorpions entered the championship game with a fielding percentage of .919, excellent for a high school team.

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But Camarillo made four errors, two by shortstop Scott Cline. His last error in the bottom of the sixth allowed the winning run to score.

Final add Camarillo: Barroso, the starting right fielder, was thrilled that the championship game was held at Anaheim Stadium.

“It’s been a lifelong dream to play on a major league field,” he said before the game. “I would always watch games on TV and say ‘Gosh, I want to play there.’ “I’ll be in Reggie’s turf.”

Reggie, of course, is the Angels’ Reggie Jackson, who has been known to have a few problems in the field over the years.

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Barroso, however, was a perfect Angel on Friday, fielding three fly balls.

Mike Maio, baseball coach at El Camino Real, perhaps summed up the situation involving his team best when he said:

“The powers that be did nothing but mess things up for all the coaches and all the teams. People ask me how I feel. How can I feel anything else but despair? I did what was right when we broke the rules . . . and now this mess.”

For those who missed the saga last week, it went like this:

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Three weeks ago, El Camino Real was forced to forfeit five league victories for using a player who had participated in an outside league. The forfeits kept El Camino out of the playoffs and put Canoga Park in.

The City’s Interscholastic Athletic Committee on Tuesday denied a request by El Camino parents, voting 11 to 8 to uphold the forfeits. But that decision was overturned by Sid Thompson, an associate school district superintendent, on Wednesday.

On Wednesday night, El Camino officials decided not to participate in the playoffs.

On Thursday morning, El Camino officials decided to participate in the playoffs, knocking Canoga Park out.

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Friday afternoon, El Camino, after having not practiced in a week, lost to Granada Hills, 9-4, in the first round of the playoffs.

A “mess” may have been too generous a term to describe the way the matter was handled.

And what about the Canoga Park players, who until about 30 hours before game time had thought they were going to play?

“This is just such a letdown,” senior third baseman John Flinn said upon hearing that Canoga Park was out. “We practiced all last week, and El Camino hasn’t been practicing. Now, all of a sudden, they’re in the playoffs.”

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Notes

Mike McCurdy, who helped turn the Westlake baseball program around, was named the Marmonte League’s Coach of the Year. The Warriors were 11-13 this year, McCurdy’s first at Westlake, after going 2-22 last year. . . . Chatsworth volleyball player David Michalski was named the West Valley League’s most valuable player. . . . Tim Hunt from Polytechnic High finished the season with eight triples, the most for any Valley player in the City. The junior outfielder had a .480 average for the Parrots this year. . . . After Banning’s Lisa Bautista threw a no-hitter against Chatsworth last week, several Chancellor players were unimpressed. Said Chatsworth Coach Gary Shair: “The kids aren’t impressed. They say, ‘Give me another shot at her.’ I’m impressed. She’s the best we’ve seen.”


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