Another Richards About to Make His Mark

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The time has come for Tom Richards to make his mark, just as it did for three older brothers before him. This is the family, after all, in which track greatness seems to come with the name.

The Rev. Bob Richards was a champion decathlete who went on to become an Olympic gold medalist in the pole vault in 1952 and 1956.

His first two sons were also vaulters, but Brandon, the third, was the best. In 1982, while attending San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara, he went 18 feet 2 inches outdoors, a national record that still stands. He now is training in hopes of making the 1988 U.S. Olympic team.


Tom Richards doesn’t figure to make his mark in the pole vault, although he has the fourth-best height in the state this season, 16-2 1/2. He will make it in the pole vault, and the hurdles, and the high jump, and the sprints, and the discus, and . . . He will make it in the decathlon.

A senior at San Marcos, Richards has the top high school point total in the country this season in the 10-event, 2-day competition, and No. 8 all-time. Should he make the jump from 6,970 to break the 12-year-old national mark of 7,359, he and Brandon will, as far as anyone can recall, be the first brother tandem to hold records.

“It’d mean a lot,” Tom Richards said. “I look at the record book and think, shoot, my brother’s name is down there. I can practically see my name down there sometimes. It looks so good.”

Richards, pegged by his father as an outstanding decathlete of the future four years ago, competed in 11 events for San Marcos this season. Now, he is able to “concentrate” on four, a full load for most people.

He qualified in all four--the pole vault, high jump, 110-meter high hurdles and 300-meter intermediate hurdles--for the Southern Section 4-A meet, to be held Saturday at Cerritos College.

With the best mark in the Southern Section in the high hurdles, a wind-aided 14.45, and competitive marks in the two other events to go with definite potential in the vault, he could be juggling several events for another couple of weeks.


All the while, he will continue his workouts in the other decathlon events.

Is he crazy? No, just a decathlete.

“The decathlon is a big deal,” Richards said. “Once I did one, I was hooked.”

Janet Evans of Placentia El Dorado, who holds three world swimming records, added a pair of national high school bests to her credentials last Saturday at the Southern Section meet in Long Beach.

Just a junior, Evans set records in the 500-yard freestyle, 4 minutes 37.30 seconds, and the 200-yard individual medley, 2:00.72. Her world records are in the 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyles.

Evans has shredded more records than Fawn Hall in the past couple of years, but Saturday was not just another day for her. After competing, she went into the locker room at the Belmont Plaza and got dressed for Valencia’s prom.

Adam Keefe continues to impress, even off the basketball court. The 6-foot 9-inch Stanford-bound center, who established himself as one of the top basketball players in the state at Irvine Woodbridge, has done the same in volleyball.

Stanford volleyball Coach Fred Sturm recently called Keefe and Michael Smith, the former Hacienda Heights Los Altos star now at Brigham Young University, potentially the two best American players he has seen in 10 years. Charlie Brande of Newport Beach Corona del Mar, considered one of the most knowledgeable coaches around, concurred.

“There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that there’s no one more valuable in the CIF than Adam Keefe,” Brande said. “If by chance he doesn’t make it in the NBA, I’d say there’ll definitely be a spot for him on the national volleyball team.”


The Southern Section volleyball playoffs moves into the quarterfinal round tonight.

The City team gymnastics finals will be held tonight at University High in West Los Angeles, competition beginning at 7.

Also today: First round of the team competition in Southern Section boys’ tennis, all five divisions; quarterfinals of Southern Section team badminton, both divisions; first round of the City softball playoffs, both divisions.

Prep Notes

When Inger Miller of Pasadena Muir ran the 200-meter dash in 24.1 May 6, it broke the Pacific League record set in 1978 by Alice Brown, who went on to compete in the 1984 Olympics. Miller, the daughter of former Olympian Lennox Miller, is a sophomore. . . . Pius X of Downey beat Bishop Montgomery of Torrance in baseball last Tuesday, snapping an 88-game Angelus League losing streak.

King of the Hill: Mark Hill has been named basketball coach at Anaheim Esperanza. The girls’ basketball coach at the school is Marc Hill. The two Hills are not related. . . . Russell White of Encino Crespi, who finished second in the state in the triple jump last season, has dropped the event because of a bruised left heel. He did, however, qualify for the Southern Section 2-A finals in the 100 and 200.

Travis Cooksey’s bid to defend his Southern Section 4-A title in the 800 came to a sudden halt last Saturday, when he was tripped and sent sprawling into the infield at Gahr High in Cerritos just after the mid-point of the race. The Oxnard Rio Mesa star, leading at the time, got up, but failed to qualify for the final. . . . Dave Carson, football coach at Burbank High, was named head coach at Hart, replacing Rick Scott, who resigned to take the football coaching job at Buena High in Ventura.