One does not need a program to keep track of the members of the Patrick Henry High School boys’ 400-meter relay team. They have their names on the backs of their shirts.
That may seem trivial, but the Patriots have to run faster, or throw or jump farther than marks established by head coach Elmer Runge to earn the right to wear their surnames on their backs.
Seniors Pat Gregory and Mike Conway, who were on the relay team last year, and juniors Mike Baker and Charles Hampton aren’t content with people knowing who they are at all times. They’re looking to improve on their last year’s finishes when they were second in the San Diego Section meet and 18th in the state meet.
Their early-season times are improved.
The team ran a electronically timed 42.38 (the best in the section and the fourth-best time in the state this year) at the Pasadena Games during the last weekend in March. At this time last year, the team’s best time was 43.3.
“We ran that (43.3) at our first meet this year,” said Gregory, who has run on the team for three years. “We’re so far ahead of last year, but we’ve got a long ways to go. We’ve got much faster runners but our handoffs are . . . really bad.”
Evidence of the team’s improvement came Thursday in Patrick Henry’s 79-57 victory over Morse. Gregory, who normally starts, did not run because of tightness in his right hamstring. But even without Gregory, the team of Charles Harris, Conway, Baker and Hampton ran a 43.2 in the 440-yard relay to beat City Eastern League rival Morse (44.2), which beat the Patriots in the section meet last year.
One reason for the improvement may be Hampton, who transferred from La Jolla. He has run a 10.8 in the 100 meters, and Conway said he could get even lower than that on an all-weather track. Another may be Runge’s rigid workouts.
Though his leg is still stiff, Gregory said he plans to run Saturday when the team will get a chance to compete against some of the best in the state at the Arcadia Invitational.
“We’re hoping to go sub-42,” he said. “We want a 41 so bad, it’s pitiful. I think we could run 41.6 Saturday.”
Junior Young already has his name on the back of his shirt, but if he didn’t, he would have earned it Thursday with his leap of 44-feet 3 1/2-inches in the triple jump. The mark is the second best in San Diego County this year.
Morse’s Paul Cato beat Conway by a second to win the 440. Cato’s time ws 50.3.
The Tigers’ Yolanda Fitch ran a 12.2 in the 100 meters, the second-best time in the county. Fitch also anchored the 440 relay team that ran a fast 49.7.
The Henry girls won, 67-60.
In other dual meets:
Mount Miguel 72, Grossmont 64--The heavily favored Matadors had to win the final event, the mile relay to beat the Foothillers in the Grossmont League meet. Paul Wright of Grossmont jumped 21-feet 8-inches to beat Ron Young, who went 21-6. Wright, who had never before competed in long jump, went 21-10 in tennis shoes in practice on Wednesday. Wright also won the 880 (2:04.0).
GIRLS Mount Miguel 76, Grossmont 46--Jackie Anderson of Mount Miguel set a county best in the 330 low hurdles with a time of 46.6. Anderson also won the long jump with a leap of 17-9.
The Foothillers’ Robin Longwell set a school record in the shotput with a throw of 39-8 1/2. Teammate Lafrania West won the 220 with a time of 22.6.
Darcy Arreola won two events, clocking 12:46.6 in the two-mile and 2:28.4 in the 880. Coach Lynn Cole said Arreola was saving herself for the Arcadia Invitational Saturday.