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STATE HIGH SCHOOL TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS : Watts and Taft Off to Fast Starts

The waiting is just about over for Quincy Watts. Ever since the Taft High sophomore lost twice to defending state 100-meter champion Ronald McCree of Madera at the Arcadia Invitational in April he has been looking forward to a rematch.

Tonight, he will get his chance.

In Friday’s preliminaries, Watts had the fastest clockings of the day in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes in the state championships at Cerritos College on Friday. He also ran a brilliant anchor leg in the 400-meter relay, bringing Taft from fourth to first in the final 100 meters.

He ran 10.61 in the 100 meters and 21.18 in the 200. In both races his starts were mediocre. However, when he shifted into overdrive, the race for first was over.

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Tonight won’t be so easy. McCree also won his heats in 10.98 and 21.25, setting up a showdown in both events, a showdown that Watts relishes.

“I’m ready to go,” he said. “I felt great today. I feel like I’m capable of running much faster. We’ll find out tomorrow.”

Although the Taft 400-meter relay team of Sean Roberts, Monty Gilbreath, Curtis Hein and Watts appeared to be tentative in their baton passing, they still won their heat in 41.64, the fifth fastest time of the day. Johnson High of Sacramento had the fastest time of the day with a 41.32 clocking.

“We did what we had to do,” Taft Coach Tom Stevenson said. “Quincy looked great and the relay team qualified so we’re in the running. I really feel that Johnson High is the team to beat. They had the fastest time in the 400 relay and Curtis Rodgers has qualified in the 100, 200 and the long jump.

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“I just want our kids to compete well tomorrow. If we happen to win, great, if not, it won’t be the end of the world.”

Rodney Bradshaw of Saugus, Westlake’s Desiree Joubert and Kelley Peacock of Van Nuys qualified in two events. Bradshaw had the fastest time of the day in the 110-meter high hurdles, winning his heat in 14.02, which tied his personal best. In the 300 intermediates, he won his heat in 37.92, the third fastest time of the day.

Tonight, Bradshaw, a senior, will renew his rivalry with Terry Johnson of Katella, who has run 13.97 in the highs this year and 37.26 in the intermediates. Bill Gaines of Independence High in San Jose, who has a 36.90 best, is the favorite in the intermediates.

Joubert, a sophomore, won her heats in the 800 and 1,600 meters. She ran 2:11.89 in the 800 and a personal best of 4:55.37 in the 1,600. In the 1,600, she wasted valuable energy going for the win, sprinting the final 150 meters when it was obvious that she had a qualifying spot wrapped up.

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Peacock, a senior, won her heat in the 100-meter low hurdles in 14.14, the second fastest time of the day and also qualified second in the long jump, leaping a wind-18-10 1/2.

Peacock’s only disappointment came in the 300-meter low hurdles, where she faded in the final straight, finishing fifth in her heat in 45.06. She ran a personal best of 42.79 in winning the City tile last week.

Simi Valley teammates Mike Carnes and Jim Zimmer also qualified for tonight’s finals. Carnes celebrated his 18th birthday with a 22-11 1/2 effort in the long jump while Zimmer ran 4:12.75 in the 1,600 meters.

Other Valley-area athletes who qualified for tonight’s final were Stacia Pollock (5-6) of Westlake in the high jump, Angela Burnham of Rio Mesa in the 100 meters (11.97), Gary Wellman of Westlake in the 100 (10.88), Jerry Gilmore of Poly in the long jump (22-11), Jennifer Whelchel of Agoura in the shot put (41-0), Sharon Manship of Thousand Oaks in the 300-meter low hurdles (44.14), and city champion Kierstin Church of Granada Hills in the 100 (12.44). Chris Fisher of Notre Dame in the intermediates hurdles (38.12) and Heather Scobie of Saugus in the 1,600 final (4:54.53).

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Today’s meet begins with the field events at 5 p.m. and the running events begin at 6 p.m.


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