Veney’s Rap Sessions Serve to Motivate Northridge Track Team

Tony Veney, assistant track and field coach at Cal State Northridge, will never be mistaken for L. L. Cool J., but his rap songs seem to have an effect on his athletes.

Before meets, he gathers team members around him to rock a little before they roll:

“What you hear is not a test, we’re the Matadors coming at you;


When you run up against this team, the competition runs like a statue;

There won’t be a struggle, there won’t be a battle, it’s like separating a baby from his rattle;

We’re going to give the crowd one hell of a show, as we give these teams the old heave-ho;

What you hear you can’t deny, we’re the Matadors and we’re about to fly.”

“It’s a great way to bring the team together,” Coach Don Strametz said of the rap sessions. “The sport of track and field is so individual that when you do have a scoring meet, it’s nice to have the whole team together pulling for each other.”

Veney learned to rap in the early 1970s while attending UCLA, where he made the All-Pac 8 track team three times. He was the Bruin record-holder for 800 meters and his Centennial High records in the 800-, 1,500-, 3,000 meters, mile, and two-mile still stand.

He has coached the Northridge sprinters on a part-time basis for six years. Next season, he will have a full-time job at CSUN.

Veney is known as an innovator for his training and motivational methods. For instance, when Chris Fisher, a hurdler, was rehabilitating after a foot injury early this season, Veney made him train underwater.

“He figured out some funky workout in the pool that was just as hard as working out on the track,” Fisher said. “He’s the kind of coach you hate during practice, but you thank him after the meets.”

Veney said he is aware athletes run for different reasons. “They run for themselves,” he said. “I want them to know what they need to improve on, because once they get on that track it’s all them.”

Minimum wage: Pitcher Debbie Dickmann was better than perfect and Cal State Northridge still lost to Lock Haven State (Pa.), 1-0, last week in the NCAA Division II final four.

Dickmann did not allow a baserunner and pitched to one less than what is considered the minimum number of batters in an 11-inning game.

According to international softball tiebreaker rules, when the score is tied after nine innings, each subsequent inning begins with a runner on second base. In the 10th, the first Lock Haven hitter sacrificed the runner to third. The second batter hit a ground ball to CSUN first baseman Pam Smith, who tagged the batter out, then tagged the runner who got caught between third and home plate for a double play. As a result, Dickmann faced two batters and got three outs.

Lock Haven won the game in the 11th when the runner was moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on a squeeze bunt.

Dickmann, a two-time All-American, finished the season with a record of 23-3, an earned-run average of 0.28 and 152 strikeouts in 201 innings.

She was selected to the all-national tournament team, along with teammates Beth Onestinghel, Lisa Martin and Lisa Erickson.

Add softball: Malia Ouzts, the player of the year in the Western State Conference for the past two seasons, was one of five Moorpark College softball players named to the all-state team.

First baseman Laura Detweiler, shortstop Julie Myers and outfielder Jamie McDaniel were named to the first team. Ouzts, a sophomore catcher, was selected as a utility player on the second team along with freshman pitcher De Dow.

Out of sync: Wayne Tyni’s final-round 76 at the NCAA Division II men’s golf championships at Osage Beach, Mo., was the best score the Northridge junior from Van Nuys carded during the tournament.

Tyni, who placed fifth last year, said he was not able to find his swing.

“You know how sometimes you wake up in the morning and feel like, ‘God, this is going to be a good day?’ ” said Tyni, who finished in a five-way tie for 71st. “Well, I had four days straight that I just didn’t wake up on the right side of the bed. I just didn’t feel right.”

Progress report: Joey Kirk and Thor Lee, who helped Northridge to the Division II championship game in soccer, have taken a major step toward making the U. S. national team.

Kirk and Lee played for a Southern California all-star team that won an eight-team tournament at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, Colo., last week. Because of their performance, they were selected to a regional all-star team that will face squads from the East, South and North regions at a tournament in Florida this summer. Based on play during that tournament, 15 players will be selected for the national team.

Lee, a stopper, played for the West in the Olympic Festival last summer. Kirk, a forward, was on the national team that competed in the Pan American Games.

Record rack: Susan Bluhm, who set a Cal Lutheran record for 400 meters last week, was one of five Regals to qualify for the NAIA track and field championships today at Azusa Pacific.

Bluhm was fourth in the 400 in 58.42 seconds at the NAIA District 3 meet at Santa Barbara City College on Saturday. Amy Rico set a school record for 200 meters (25.99) and finished fifth.

Lori Zackula was second in the 3,000 in 10:52.13 and Vicki Gurney placed second in the discus (123-8 feet) to qualify for nationals. J’ne Furrow also qualified by placing fourth in the high jump (5-2).

Postseason honors: Glendale College center fielder Greg Vaughns and designated-hitter John Sutton were selected to the All-Western State Conference second team. Sutton batted .404 and had 12 doubles and 25 runs batted in; Vaughns hit .369 and knocked in 15 runs. Both were on the Southern Division first team.

Pitcher Brad Stone and infielder Steve Paknik were All-Southern Division second-team selections and Tom Ball, Bill Berry and Charlie Williams received honorable mention. Paknik batted .342, Stone (5-4) had a 4.05 earned-run average and Berry had a 4.38 ERA.

Add honors: UCLA’s Mike Magnante, from Burroughs High, and Arizona’s Frank Halcovich, from Granada Hills, were named to the Pacific 10 Conference All-Southern Division baseball team. Magnante, a senior left-hander, was 14-4 and struck out 101 in 137 innings. Halcovich hit .361 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs.

Short stay: Cal Lutheran had the misfortune of playing top-seeded West Florida in the second round of the NAIA tournament and was eliminated, 5-1, Thursday in Oklahoma City.

DeeAndra Pilkington had Cal Lutheran’s only extra-base hit, a triple in the fifth. She scored on Jill Anderson’s single.

Cal Lutheran lost to Minnesota-Duluth, 6-2, in the first round. Rosa Jimenez walked four and struck out three before Pilkington relieved her in the fifth.

The Regals (34-16), the ninth-seeded team, were making their first appearance in a national tournament.

Doug Ferber and staff writers Mike Hiserman, Gary Klein, Ralph Nichols and Lauren Peterson contributed to this notebook.