It was regarded as a recruiting coup when sprinter Henry Thomas of Hawthorne High School enrolled at UCLA, and he is expected to go on to great accomplishments.
But Thomas is temporarily inactive with a foot injury and another UCLA freshman, Danny Everett, has emerged as the star of the team.
Everett, from Fairfax High, was heavily recruited, but the track program at his school wasn't as renowned as Hawthorne's.
Even so, Everett is attracting attention lately and earning the admiration of John Smith, a former world-class quarter-miler, who is UCLA's sprint coach.
Last Saturday, in a non-scoring meet in Dallas, Everett was timed in a personal best of 20.66 seconds for 200 meters and made up 15 yards on an anchor leg of the 1,600-meter relay, bringing his team home a winner with a blazing leg of 44.6. On April 5, in a dual meet with California, he had a personal best time of 45.59 in the 400, on a wet track, yet.
"In workouts, I can bring most of the guys to their knees," Smith said Monday at a track luncheon. "But, with Danny, I can hardly get him out of breath. Instinctively, he is one of the purest quarter-milers I've ever seen."
Smith should know. The former Bruin athlete is still the world record-holder at 44.5 seconds for 440 yards, a mark that he established in 1971.
"We call Danny Mr. Wonderful," Smith said. "He brings a (hair) brush to practice because he likes to look good. He didn't have an extensive training program in high school and basically warmed up in street shoes.
"I don't know what (time) he can run. But whatever it takes, he'll do it. You could throw him into the best races in the world and he would hang in there."
UCLA's unbeaten men's team will play host to Texas Christian and Houston in a double-dual meet Saturday at Drake Stadium.
TCU is loaded with quality sprinters, and UCLA Coach Bob Larsen says that the Horned Frogs have three 100-meter men who have run faster than Thomas, who has a best time of 10.25.
TCU has already been timed in 38.97 for the 400-meter relay and 3:03.27 for the 1,600-meter relay.
"They could run with most countries in the world," Smith said.
But Smith is so confident of Everett that he said UCLA will win the 1,600 relay if the freshman is within 10 yards of the leader on the anchor leg.
Thomas is bothered by a sore little toe on his right foot. Smith doesn't want to rush his young sprinter into action too soon, mindful of Achilles' tendon injuries that jeopardized his career. It's unlikely that Thomas will compete until the UCLA-USC dual meet May 3 at the Coliseum.
There was a time when Larry Myricks was recognized as the world's best long jumper. That was before Carl Lewis came along.
Myricks, who is also an accomplished sprinter, was pushed into the background by Lewis' assaults on Bob Beamon's world record of 29 feet 2 1/2 inches. Jumps in the 28-foot range became routine for Lewis, who won three individual gold medals in the 1984 Olympics besides anchoring the 400-meter relay team to another gold.
But Myricks, now 30, is still a quality competitor, and he'll compete against Lewis in the long jump in the Puma-Mt. San Antonio Relays April 27.
"What I find interesting is that I very seldom see my name in the paper unless it is the veteran, or old-timer, or old faithful. I turned 30 a month ago and they're making me feel 30," Myricks said without a trace of bitterness.
Myricks said he plans to compete through the 1988 Olympics, trying for the medal that has eluded him. He failed to qualify for the long jump final in the 1984 Olympics.
Lewis' season was restricted last year year when he injured his leg in the UCLA-Pepsi Invitational. Asked if Lewis looks like the athlete he was in 1984, Myricks said:
"At this point in time he doesn't look like the same athlete to me. But I'm sure he'll be up to par before the season is out. He may not come out in a ball of flame, but he'll probably go out in one."
John Brenner recorded an impressive weight double with a 69-foot 9 1/2-inch effort in the shotput and 218-7 in the discus in a meet Saturday in Salinas. Brenner concentrated on the shotput while he was at UCLA but plans to compete in both events in some meets this season, among them the UCLA-Pepsi Invitational May 17. "Last year I thought bigger was best and I weighed 310 pounds," Brenner said. "Now I'm down to 290 or 295 and I feel a lot better." . . . USC's men's team will compete in the Jenner Invitational Saturday at San Jose. USC's women's team will play host to Brigham Young, Nevada Las Vegas, UC Santa Barbara, Cal Lutheran and club athletes in a twilight meet starting at 5 p.m. Friday at Cromwell Field. . . . The first annual Trojan 10-kilometer run will be held Sunday starting at 8 a.m. in Playa del Rey. For registration information call (213) 748-5481. . . . Prime Ticket, a cable network, will televise the UCLA-Pepsi meet on a delayed basis starting at 7:30 p.m. The Puma-Mt. San Antonio Relays and USC-UCLA dual meet and, possibly, the Pacific 10 meet May 21-24 at the Coliseum, are other delayed telecasts on the Prime Ticket schedule.