Just when it looked as if the success from last year's state meet was causing problems this season for middle distance runners Kira Jorgensen and Kristina Hand, the two decided to do something about it.
Jorgensen, a junior from Rancho Buena Vista High School, won the 1,600 meters and finished second in the 3,200 meters at state as a sophomore. But Jorgensen didn't win once in either event at an invitational meet this season.
Hand, a senior from Fallbrook, surprised everyone by finishing second at state in the 800 meters as a junior. But her 1988 times were not close to the top in the state.
So what did the two about-to-be-has-beens do? They started to fire each other up over the phone.
Jorgensen and Hand said they weren't sure if that was the cause of their turnarounds Friday night in the North County track and field championships, but something got them going.
Jorgensen set Avocado League records in the 1,600 (4 minutes 58.3 seconds) and the 3,200 (10:36.0) in winning both races at Poway High. Her time in the 3,200 was nearly five seconds better than her previous season best (10:41.25).
Hand had been sick with a cold and finished sixth in the Palomar League preliminaries. But she set a league record with a county-best 2:12.0, three seconds better than her previous season best (2:15.2).
"Kristina and I have had the same sort of seasons," Jorgensen said. "It's tough to come back after being undefeated and defend those title. We roomed together at state last year, so we were already friends. I think that helped because we knew what it felt like for the other one."
Said Hand: "She knows how I feel. She called me up and asked me how it was going after Arcadia. She gives me confidence."
Hand and Jorgensen may have been glad they were running the way they were capable of running and improved their chances to place high at the state meet on June 4 at Cerritos College, but Mt. Carmel's David Burton was just glad to be running.
Burton had posted a county-leading 14.6 in the 110-meter high hurdles early in the season, but he sustained a "second-degree" pull in his left hamstring in early April. He did not run again until he won the Palomar preliminary race on Wednesday in 14.7.
Friday, Burton ran a county-leading 14.4 to win the high hurdles, despite hitting the fifth hurdle. He also won the 300-meter intermediate hurdles (39.3) and placed third in the high jump (6 foot 4 inches).
"I didn't believe I was going to make it back," said Burton, who pulled his right hamstring in this meet a year ago. "I ran a 200 in practice two weeks ago and I felt a sharp pain. I knew I was in trouble when the colleges that were interested in me (UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge) stopped calling."
In the 300-meter hurdles, Burton trailed Paco Camarena of Torrey Pines for most of the race. Burton caught Camarena on the final hurdle and outleaned him at the tape.
Jorgensen didn't have to worry about leaning in either of her races. She won the 1,600 by about 100 yards and lapped everyone but Michelle Keim of San Pasqual in the 3,200.
She looked light on her feet and appeared to have plenty left for the final kick in each. That was something she lacked in previous big races this season.
"I felt really comfortable," Jorgensen said. "I had a real negative attitude for a while. This is a step toward regaining the confidence I had last year. It was one of my goals to set league records at the start of the season. The 3,200 was my best race of the year."
The top three finishers in each event qualified for the San Diego Section preliminaries on May 21 at Balboa Stadium.
Several other league records were set Friday:
--Freshman Karyn Armstrong of Torrey Pines cleared 5-6 and surprised Christy Kurras of Poway in the high jump. Kurras, who also cleared 5-6 but lost on misses, had set the record of 5-4 as a sophomore.
--Three more records were set by Orange Glen athletes. Glen Reyes, who won the long jump (23-3) and the 200 (22.0), set a league record in the 100 meters with a time of 10.7. Laura Hughes threw the shotput 43-0, her best this season by 8 inches. Junior Lenny McGill leaped 48-8 on his first attempt to win the triple jump.
--Fallbrook's Jorge Rodrigues had never run the 800 faster than 1:57 before the meet, but he trimmed two seconds off that time to win in 1:55.
--Teammate Brent Noon set a league record in the discus (172-6), but he took only one attempt in the shot put (57-6 1/2). He set the league record in the preliminaries (59-3).
"The toe-board was three inches and it is supposed to be four," Fallbrook Coach Tim Oder said. "For someone who spins as hard as Brent, that is pretty dangerous. I told him to take one throw and qualify so he wouldn't get hurt."