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Orange County Player of the Week : Anaheim’s Fritz Is Faster With Each Year of Work

He has lots of natural ability, but that’s not the only reason Mike Fritz of Anaheim High School has become one of the best track and field athletes in Orange County.

His work ethic has been as important to his success as the speed and strength he was born with.

Each day, you can find the Colonist senior still running after regular practice has ended. Fritz even has asked his friend, speedy Rancho Santiago College running back Jymm Adams, to race him every afternoon in the hope of improving his times in the 400 and 200 meters.

Steve Fowler, Anaheim’s veteran track coach, said: “Each year, he has improved by two seconds in each event, and he’s done it through hard work.”

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Last week, the hard work paid off for Fritz, The Times’ Player of the Week. He won the 400 in 49.2 seconds and the 200 in 22.0 in the CIF Southern Section 2-A preliminary meet in Bradford Stadium to advance to Saturday’s 2-A finals at Cerritos College. Anaheim’s mile relay team, anchored by Fritz, also won in the prelims and will compete at Cerritos.

In 1985, Fritz unexpectedly won the 400 and 200 at the 2-A preliminaries. This year, however, everyone was expecting Fritz to win.

And that made him uncomfortable.

“As soon as I got to the stadium, I heard everyone say, ‘Fritz is going to win, Fritz is going to win,’ ” he said. “That’s a lot of pressure. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sneak up on anyone this year.”

Fritz, who was undefeated in the 400 and 200 in the Orange League this spring, turned in his best performance of the season last month at the Pasadena Games. He won the 400 in 48.3, the second-best time in the state this year.

Fritz’s speed was an asset in football, too. He was an all-Orange League defensive back for the Colonists in 1985 and ’86. In a game against Savanna in 1984, he intercepted four passes.

But Fritz clearly prefers track to football, or any other team sport, for that matter.

“I like track because it’s an individual sport,” he said. “In football, it seemed half the guys wanted to play, and half didn’t. I never did like that.

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“You can make a mistake in a football game, and, a lot of the time, nobody will notice. But when you run track, everyone is looking at you. You can’t make mistakes. I like that.”

Fritz said he is thinking about attending Cal Poly Pomona and is looking forward to college.

“I really want to start competing against better guys,” he said. “It will be a challenge, but it will be good for me.”

Mike Fritz

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Anaheim High School

Height, Weight, Class: 6-0, 160, Sr.

This Season: Last week, he won the 400 and 200 meters and anchored Anaheim’s victorious mile relay team at the CIF Southern Section 2-A preliminary meet. He was undefeated in the 200 and 400 in Orange League competition and last month ran a 48.3 in the 400 at the Pasadena Games, the second-best time in the event in the state this year.


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