Hawthorne Connection Helps UCLA Rout USC : With Thomas Injured, Marsh Surprises in Sprints as Bruins Romp, 104-59
Freshman sprinter Mike Marsh of UCLA may have finally gotten out from under the shadow of teammate Henry Thomas.
Marsh stole the spotlight in Saturday’s USC-UCLA track meet at the Coliseum, winning the 200-meter dash with a time of 20.94 seconds and setting a personal record in the 100 (10.34) while finishing second behind USC’s Luis (Pancho) Morales (10.31).
UCLA ran away with the meet as expected, winning 12 of the 19 events to beat USC, 104-59, for the eighth consecutive season. It was the Bruins’ second most decisive victory in the series. The Bruins’ biggest win was by a 107-47 score over the Trojans in 1981.
It was also UCLA’s 20th consecutive dual meet victory dating back to 1984. The Bruins are 9-0 this season under second-year Coach Bob Larsen.
It was the first loss of the season for USC (6-1).
“UCLA is a tremendous team,” USC Coach Ernie Bullard said. “They are definitely the best dual meet team in the country. They don’t give you any breathing room. And Marsh really hurt us.
“We just need more people. A year ago, we had 17 people that could help. We’ve got to get another six or seven people. I don’t think we did badly today.”
It was the first time the USC-UCLA meet had been held at the Coliseum since 1974, and it drew a crowd of 5,919. Although the men’s portion of the meet was a blowout, the women’s meet went down to the final event, with the Trojans winning the 1,600-meter relay to edge the Bruins, 69-67.
Marsh was overshadowed by Thomas when they were attending Hawthorne High School last season. Marsh won the 200 meters at the 1985 State prep track meet to help Hawthorne gain its third straight State championship.
But Thomas was the star of the team and one of the best prep sprinters in the country. Thomas won the 100 and 200 as a junior at the 1984 State meet, but he missed the 1985 State meet because of a midseason appendectomy.
Both Thomas and Marsh signed with UCLA. And Thomas got off to a fast start this season before injuring his right foot. With Thomas on the sidelines, Marsh has come into his own.
“Mike has been coming along well,” said John Smith, the former world record-holder in the 440-yard dash who coaches the UCLA sprinters. “But when he runs he’s usually had a lot of people around to push him, like Henry. But today he took over and did what he was supposed to do.”
Thomas, who is still recovering from the injury, is being brought back slowly. He competed in only one event, running a leg for UCLA’s 1,600-meter relay team, which won with a time of 3:08.36. USC was disqualified in the event.
UCLA’s Mark Junkermann, a junior distance runner, was the only double winner among the men. Junkermann led a UCLA sweep in the 1,500, winning in 3:49.55. Jon Butler finished second (3:51.04) and Jim Gaffield was third (3:53.75).
Junkermann came back to lead the Bruins to another sweep in the 5,000 meters. Junkermann (14:27.94) blew by teammate Joe Nitti (14:28.94) in the stretch to win.
It was the first time Junkermann had run the 5,000 this season.
“I ran a slow time in the 1,500, and it made the 5,000 a little easier for me,” Junkermann said. “I was only running the 5,000 to qualify for the Pac-10 meet. I slowed down, but with 200 meters to go I could hear my coach yelling that I had to finish in 30 seconds to qualify.”
Sophomore hurdler Kevin Young also had a big day for the Bruins, setting three personal bests. Young won the 400-meter intermediate hurdles with a time of 50.21, beating out Michael Graham of USC (51.84). Young’s victory in the 400 hurdles clinched the meet for the Bruins with three events remaining.
Young finished second in the 110-meter high hurdles (14.11) behind USC freshman Robert Reading (13.96). Young was disqualified in the event because an official said that his trailing leg did not break the plane of one of the hurdles. However, he was later reinstated after a protest.
“The official who disqualified me said that my trail leg was faulty,” Young said. “But I hit the hurdle with my leg and I have a bruise to prove it. I was upset. I hadn’t practiced the high hurdles for two weeks because I had been working with John Smith in the quarter mile.”
Young also finished second in the long jump with a wind-aided leap of 25-4 1/2 behind teammate Mike Powell.
USC’s outstanding sprint corps, led by Morales, had been expected to dominate the meet.
Morales, who ran for Puerto Rico in the 1984 Olympics, anchored the Trojans’ winning 400-meter relay team. UCLA dropped the baton during the last pass between between Powell and anchorman Danny Everett and didn’t finish the race. Morales also looked good in winning the 100. But he was held out of the 200 because of shin splints.
“To be honest with you, I knew before the meet that I wasn’t going to run the 200,” Morales said. “I’ve been having problems with my left shin. I haven’t been training on the track for the last two months. I’ve been doing drills, riding a bike and swimming instead.”
UCLA’s Jim Banich won the shotput with a season-best of 63-7 to lead the Bruins to a sweep of the event. Banich also finished second in the discus behind USC’s Bernd Kneissler . . . The Pacific 10 championships will be held at the Coliseum May 23-24, and UCLA and Washington State should be favored . . . Athletes complained that an unpredictable swirling wind made it hard to compete at the Coliseum Saturday . . . The 800 featured one of the best finishes. USC’s Joey Bunch won with a time of 1:47.93, but teammate Eric Schermerhorn brought the crowd to its feet when he turned it on in the stretch and passed UCLA’s John Phillips to finish second . . . UCLA freshman Danny Everett had a big day for the Bruins, winning the 400 (45.57) and anchoring the 1,600 relay.