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City Track and Field Championships : Bridgewater Qualifies for Olympic Trials in 200

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Times Staff Writer

Brian Bridgewater of Washington High School ran the fastest 200 meters ever in a City meet, clocking 20.53 seconds Friday night in the City track and field preliminaries at Birmingham High.

His time makes him the seventh-best performer ever in the country and No. 1 this year, not to mention a qualifier for the Olympic trials in July in Indianapolis.

The only City runner to do better is Quincy Watts of Woodland Hills Taft, who ran 20.50 in the altitude of Provo, Utah, last summer.

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Watts, who won his 200 heat in 20.67 Friday night, and Bridgewater will meet next Thursday for the City title, also at Birmingham, and, probably, at the state meet in two weeks at Cerritos College.

The soft-spoken Bridgewater also qualified in the 100 (a wind-aided 10.28) and as a member of the 400 (41.37) and 1,600 (3:17.86) relay teams.

In the 200 last season, he failed to make the state meet because he false-started.

Rest assured, Bridgewater said, he’s not going to lose because of himself this time.

“No more,” he insisted. “All I want to do is place among the top four and advance to the state meet.”

What transpired under ideal weather conditions on the tartan track at Birmingham was only the latest chapter in the emergence of Bridgewater, a relative unknown as a sophomore who, even after his success as a junior, planned to enlist in the Marines.

“Nobody had even heard about the kid two years ago and now he has qualified for the Olympic trials,” said Hilliard Sumner, Bridgewater’s coach with the summertime West Valley Eagles. “That speaks for itself. He is a success story.”

Dorsey suffered the biggest loss of the day, but it didn’t happen on the track. Ron Copeland, the Dons’ outstanding hurdler-sprinter, was diagnosed as having what Coach Ralph Tilley described as a “fatigue fracture” just above the right ankle that will sideline him the rest of the season.

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The USC-bound Copeland has the No. 1 time in the state in the 110-meter high hurdles. In the 300 intermediate hurdles, his time rank No 4 in the state and No. 1 in the City.

Now, thoughts of City and state titles, personally and for the team, are gone.

“It’s a big blow because he was such a big team guy,” Tilley said. “He was at least 20 points automatically, maybe 30. . . . We hope to finish in the top three (in the City) anyway.”

Copeland also is a member of Dorsey’s 1,600 relay team. If the team makes it to the state meet in two weeks at Cerritos College, Copeland’s place will probably be taken by his younger brother, Kevin, now a member of Dorsey’s B team.

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